Monday, November 30, 2009

A Ribbon Wreath

One of the first things you learn when working on a Web site, is your goal is to KEEP people on your site. You do NOT want to provide a link to another site and have them leave you! That being said, I am going to break that rule to show you something really cool. But you have to promise to come back. Promise? Pinky-swear? Okay, then ... check out this Ribbon Wreath Card. I'll wait ... ... ... ... ... ... Okay, you back? Good, let us continue.

So you just KNOW I had to try it, right? Like, I have ribbon, and plenty of it! Here is my first shot:

I had a little trouble with the tying of the ends, but I'll work on that. I also had trouble poking brads through the wreath, because the weave is so tight, so I opted for stick-ons instead, Not bad, but it needs some layering like in the one I CASEd.

Since the video tutorial link in that off-site post is from May Arts and she used two-sided ribbon, I decided to try some SU double-sided ribbon from my embarrassingly large stash. Here is what I made:

This is the woven length ...

... and the back ...

... and tied. This is really easy to make, and I plan to keep trying until I get it right! These could make ornaments as well as card adornments. I think they are pretty fat to mail, but if you are giving a card to someone, have at it!

Let me know if any of you try it, and show me how you did!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Knowing When to Stop (Not)

I am of the confused generation. Never heard of it? That's the generation between the Depression-era people (my parents) and the high-tech people (my kids). On the one hand, I was raised to save, reuse, economize. On the other hand, they don't make things to last like they used to, so every 2 years you toss your phone for a new one.

I would see my own confusion all the time at the grocery store (when I used to go to the grocery store). I would compare the price per ounce on two products and get the one that was a penny less per ounce, but I would buy a $14 steak for no other reason than I wanted it. See, I am a bag of mixed signals. (Did I just call myself a bag?)

Where am I going with all this? The past three days I have been faced with a growing pile of Basic Grey Figgy Pudding paper cuttings. Not scraps, because this paper is precious to me. No, I have 3 or 4 packs (6x6) of the stuff, and I save all the cuttings for later. Why? Because I just know I'll be able to use them somehow, and it is so wasteful to toss them. But I do not even blink to throw away the same size piece of white or Kraft.

So today I took those packs of paper and emptied them of all cuttings, then I put the packs away. I DID! I was left with two main piles of scraps cuttings: thin strips, about 3/4" wide, and 2"-wide strips. I took the 3/4" strips and laid them side-by-each to make new background paper, then I cut them out with a Nestie and used them to make these:

Niiiice, huh? I am very proud of these. Not only did I use the strips of paper, when they were all assembled, there was a big empty in the top left corner, and I thought to use my snowflake punch to fill it! It is punched from shimmer white and has a faux gem from Mike's in the center. I immediately posted these for sale in my etsy store.

Next, I took a break from those paper pieces and used this one instead to make a gift card holder:

I don't know about you, but even though my favorite color is green, I tend to get a little weary of it this time of year, so I embraced the cool blue of Winter and used the snowmen to make this one. I actually made two of them.

This is the inside. Again with the scraps clippings: I had two small squares left and instead of tossing them, I punched out the photo corners and used them to dress up the white panel.

This card would also work for those who celebrate the Winter Solstice and not Chanukkah or Christmas. It would ALSO work for someone with a Winter birthday!

Okay, back to the clippings. Since these are 6x6 papers, when I made that card above, I trimmed off a bunch of 3/4" x 2" pieces. Yep - you guessed it - I made some 2" x 5.25" strips with them! I wanted to use this punch to shape the edges:

... but it failed me, or else it was never meant to punch through multiple layers of card stock. What to do ... what to do ... I used my Nesties, of course!

Notice the placement. I selected a die that was too long so the card stock fit completely inside of it (see the handsome right-side arrows pointing out the gaps between the ends of the card stock and the die). Then I laid the cutting edge right up against the edge of the card stock (see left-side arrow for that). And I got a perfect cut!

Isn't she a beauty?! I proceeded to cut the other two pieces the same way, and I ended up with three 2" pieces with nice scalloped edges on one side.

But wait! I would not need a full 2" to use as a border, so ...

... I cut one in half with the same die! Look how it turned out:

Sweet! I had two more to cut, so I did a double-barrel!

Wham, bam, done! I now had 6 edges, so I could make 6 cards. Nice! After much futzing and playing, this is what came out:

The new 1" scalloped pieces are along the bottom, and a plain strip of paper is pieced along the top. I've found the SU Cranberry and Artichoke papers work nicely with the BG Figgy Pudding. I also posted these in my etsy shop.

I still have a pretty sizable pile of 2" strips of these papers. Only time will tell if I get out of this rut or not. I have a few more weeks to decide what to do. For now, I think I'll take at least a break from them for a while. So I have not stopped, just paused. :-)

And to show you I've made other things the past few days, both of these papers have been sitting in my To Do pile and I have refused to put them away. Since the side heaps are growing in there, I used them last night.

This card says it all. YOU ARE OLD! That is some double-sided paper and I used both sides of it! I paired it with SU Cranberry and So Saffron.

And then there is this one:

I have had this paper and card stock cut for about 2 months, now, and I HAD to use it or go stark-raving mad. I really liked it with just the Not Quite Navy fancy tag cut-out, but since this was all about accessorizing, I felt I needed to accessorize the card. Those buttons were a royal pain in the patootie, they were! I ended up sewing them on! And I tied that yellow ribbon at least 12 times, and this is the best I could do. I am sorry. My customers think I do perfect bows all the time. Let this be a lesson to you all that I do NOT.

In closing this evening, I would like to say that sweet tea is the most disgusting thing ever invented. I asked for iced tea at a drive-through earlier today, and they gave me sweet tea. Blech! I have had it for over 4 hours now, and every time I take a sip, I gag. Throw it out, you say? Why, that would be wasteful (there it is again). Plus, I'd need to get up off the couch to toss it and/or get something else, so I keep taking sips of it and gagging.

Don't forget to shop handmade on Cyber Monday! See my etsy store for details!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crook Goes to Baltimore

Crook. That's me. It is short for "Crooked" and way easier to type. What part of "lazy" have you not figured out yet? :-)

Today my plans were simple: Stamp, go to Baltimore, stamp, stamp, do some laundry, and stamp. I actually accomplished most of that, but since my camera battery is dying, I'll mostly talk about the "go to Baltimore" part. It was on the way TO Baltimore that my camera battery was abused when I accidentally turned it on as I tossed it into my purse. (This is one reason why I do not carry a purse...) It was on for an hour before I noticed when I grabbed it to take a photo. Grrrrr.

So why did I go to Baltimore, a city I generally go around? One of my Tweeple, @Patriciamonkey (HA! I spelled that 'minkey' and thought of Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther, but I digress), is in town to see family AND to participate in an art show at the American Visionary Art Museum, so I had to go meet her. I had never been to that museum before, and it is a little quirky. Interesting, but not like going to the Guggenheim or the MOMA.

I parked down the street, and this is the side of the building I approached, which turned out to be where the art show was happenin':

And yes, the sky was that blue today. This is right across from the harbor - those condos on the right are ON the water. Very pretty.

The actual museum is huge, but I never saw it. Here is what I missed:

I got my first glimpse of what was to come when I happened upon this creation near the door:

Those unsuspecting people I caught on digits (not film any more) give you a perspective for the size of the thing.

And this was a few feet away:

Here is a glimpse of Patti's work:

She had those little bird signs all over the place! Very cute!

Here is one of her ornaments:

I came very close to buying several of them, and I do not even celebrate Christmas! They would have been gifts for others, but I resisted the urge. Instead, I bought stuff for MYSELF. I'll take some photos once I replace my camera's batteries. (These were taken with my phone.)

So check out her blog and her etsy shop. If she has anything left after today's show (and since sales were non-stop while I was there, I suspect she has very little left!) she will probably add it to her etsy store for Cyber Monday.

The best comment of the day... as I was walking around, trying to stay out of the way of all of Patti's customers, I found the booth two stops down was a jeweler that was also at my Farmers Market on occasion. She, too, was swamped, but I spoke with her DH, and he said the show was "trippy". Yep! That about sums it up! Some pretty nice stuff, excellent for gifts, especially for the person who has everything!

As I tore myself away and left the building, I saw more art. This is what I call the "spitting fountain". You've seen those fountains where the little kids are, um, er, peeing? Not here! This is a family show! These people are spitting! HA, not really. But spewing water from one's mouth is prefered, if you ask me.

And I looked up to see this - sky art! (And a glimpse of the building I never really saw.)

Here, let me zoom in a little closer:

It was moving! Okay, the parts were moving.

And to show you I have actually STAMPED something in the past three days, here is one of my Festivus cards:

It had to be made, and if you recognize the paper, it is some scraps of retired DSP. Yes, I am working The Heap again. The swirly things above and below "Festivus" are another digital SU image from the set I got. I opted to not maintain the ratio and just stretched it to make it long enough for the word. Easy, peasy.

I did manage to make a few Birthday cards today, and I'll show you those plus anything else I manage to generate after I dig out some new batteries.

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: Don't forget to check out the Mimosa Club Cyber Monday dealio! Check out my etsy store for the details!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Random Friday

The past two days have been a mish-mash of events, so I thought it might be time for a Random Friday. Lots of little things, none of which is blog-worthy alone, but maybe as a compilation, I can get away with it. ;-)

1. I am gearing up for my first Cyber Monday. The Mimosa Club (my Tweeple) are having a special "free with purchase" deal, and whether or not *I* sell anything, I need to have a freebie to give away. It's marketing, but I need to MAKE it. I made some very fun gift card holders, then decided I wanted to sell those instead, and made some other ones to give away.

I just love this A Muse card pack:

I stamped a snowflake and sentiment (both SU) in Encore Champagne ink and embossed them with clear EP. I wanted something simple yet classy and needed to not overwhelm with all those dots! The ribbon is from my stash, and I used it all! I made 5 of these.

Here is the inside:

I sacrificed two of the note cards and cut them up for the pockets. If you do this, make sure to cut the piece a bit short of the width of the card, so when the card closes, it closed flat. If you bump the pocket flush with the crease/fold, it will not lay flat and the inside will show because the top does not reach all the way over any more. (Ask me how I know...)

I added the faux credit card so it was (a) not so plain on the inside, and (b) to demonstrate how this thing works. FYI - It is 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 - I measured my Amex card.

Then we have one of these:

... which just uses a different ribbon, because I ran out of the sheer one.

I uploaded this and a bunch of stuff to my etsy store in the hopes that *I* might have a sale on Monday. Crossing my fingers!

2. I did some major damage shopping online yesterday between stamping spurts. Let's see, I hit and stocked up on card sleeves. I also got a few different sizes of clear boxes to hold sets of cards. I plan to work on my packaging over the Winter, and with the online store now, I'd like to take it up a notch from what people expect at a Farmers Market, which is pretty much all I do.

I also ordered from a few stamping places, but I really do not want to talk about that right now. *hangs head in shame* I will reveal all when the goods arrive.

3. I ordered new card racks earlier this week, and they arrived bright and early this morning! These things are huge, but I think they will be so much better than the CD rack I have been using for the past few years. In about the same amount of space (footprint) it has 72 slots for cards instead of 48. And I got two! I may only use one for the markets, but I'll use both for my show on Dec 5th and see how it works out.

Here is the one I unpacked and assembled:

Please ignore all the packing materials flung hither and yon. Please also ignore the spackled-and-not-repainted spot on the far wall. I am a little behind in the Home Maintenance arena. But look at that card rack! Isn't she a beauty?! The rack is made up of four of the wire sections suspended from strategically-placed supports. Each one came in a bubble sleeve, so I have 8 of them. If you know anyone who needs a 4-foot+ bubble wrap sheath, please let me know.

Look at all those pockets! Wheeeee!

4. Since my last workshop, I have been stamping in my Captain's Quarters instead of using the Dining Room table. It is a small table in there, and it forces me to put things away when I am through with them. So far it's been working pretty well. Until these gift card holders, that is. I have been stacking vertically today, and, well, I had a minor avalanche earlier, which is why I am sitting here now and typing. I needed to leave for a few minutes.

5. I tried to make some birthday cards, but I stamped the sentiment no fewer than 13 times, and NONE of them was usable. NOT.A.ONE. I took another break and managed to get four decent images. I need to go cut those now and finish the cards. I'll show you those tomorrow.

6. Tomorrow! I get to go to meet one of my Tweeple in Baltimore! She is doing an art show at the American Visionary Art Museum, and if I find IT, I'll find HER! Pics to follow (not of me, of course, but of ART!)

Okay, that's enough of that. I need to go MAKE something this evening.

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: Shameless Commerce. Even if you do not want to shop, please stop by my etsy store and check out not just MY stuff, but the other shops in the list of Mimosa Club participants for our Cyber Monday to-do. They are some very talented people!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bah, Humbug

Let us take a moment and mourn the loss of my Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad. It was a little dry, which makes sense, as it is pretty much the ONLY ink I use any more, so it needed some reinker. I was pretty sure I had purchased some in my last shopping spree at Angela's, so I went a-searchin'. Found it, made sure I'd picked up a black one. Yep - it said NOIR. ... ... ... Yes, an astute reader will notice where this is going.

So I inked her up before I got that sinking feeling in my gut, right next to the last piece of pumpkin cheese cake I had consumed. Yep, I'd just applied Palette Noir black ink to my Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad. Oh, I used it, and it colored okay with my Copics, but for all intents and purposes, it is toast. Sigh.

Tonight's project was to use my Bah, Humbug sentiment from The Cat's Pajamas. I was going to use the bloodhound image and have him saying it, but I instead opted for this lady:

Oh, yeah, classy!

I had a difficult time coming up with the right combination of colors to get her coat close to coordinating with the blue paper. The cool thing I learned from Ellen Hutson was the layering of colors to get what you want. When you buy your Copics from her, you can ask for her SU color chart where she has laboriously figured out what combo of Copics is close to each of the SU colors. Some of hers have one color under another one to get it right. I took this a few steps further and kept adding layers of different colors to the jacket until I got it to where I was okay with it. Kinda fun to try things and see how the layers of color work. Pretty cool!

I even added some color to some clear dew drops with one of my brown Copics. This came in handy as I thought to add something to that spot only after I'd already stuck down all the papers.

And me? Bah, Humbug? I object to the commercialization of "the holiday season", so I get all Bah, Humbug around this time of year. One of the best TV shows I ever watched was an episode of Eight Is Enough (yeah, I am pretty sure I've told this story before...) where everything got stolen from their house just before Christmas, and they were forced to make things for each other. Everything was personal and had meaning, and it was really just a touching show. I just wish more people could get past the commercial aspect of things and remember the reason for the season. And it ain't presents, I can tell you that!

Okay, I think I am dangerously close to breaking my No Ranting rule, so I will bid you good night. I hope to stamp a few more of these tomorrow night, maybe even a few with the dog.

Oh, and remember to stop by my etsy shop on Monday to take advantage of the Mimosa Club Cyber Monday Sale! You'll get FREE STUFF! You can even go to my store before then and check out the list of participating shops. You just might find something you like! ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another Lazy Sunday

It is simple. It is plain. It is pretty. It is all I have managed to make in the past 24 hours. I have been a total slug today, including a rare 2-hour accidental nap. But man, did I feel good when I woke up! I even showered and everything!

So let's look at what I've accomplished. First, there is no magic to making those leaves come out in a circle. Since I am incapable of making them into a circle without a lot of help, here is my secret:

I drew a circle! Here I just used the inside of my ever-present roll of mini glue dots, but you can use any round shape that is handy.

I have one of those finger lever punches with a tiny maple-looking leaf that I use to make these. I recall in past years I've been able to punch out card stock, but a few strained thumb muscles and choice loud words later, I realized it wasn't happenin' this time around.

See that leaf? Interesting color, non? Interesting texture, too. Yes, I tried to sharpen the punch by punching some sand paper. See:

I decided they were too pretty to discard, and since I'd given up on the brown card stock, they stayed in the mix. The other colors are mostly patterned papers. MUCH easier to punch!

Here is one of my finished wreaths. See that gap that the red arrow is showing you? That is NOT a mistake. Oh, nononono, that is where I must now place the bow! My craft even gives me clues! :-)

Ta-da! My finished card. The card bases are from a multi-pack of pre-scored card stock (all greens, of course) that I found in my stash. I actually have two packs of the greens. The sentiment is from the PTI Quilting set, stamped in Artichoke craft ink and embossed with clear EP. (If someone knows a way to keep the card stock from warping when embossed, please let me know. It flattens out in the envelope, but still. )

Here's a close-up of the finished wreath. I have included it here mostly because it is actually in focus, and that is so rare in my world.

That is ALL I have done, really! Okay, I've cleaned a few stamps because I am working in such a small area now that I MUST keep it cleaned up or stampin' space quickly disappears. But besides that, pretty much a sluggish day all around.

Oh, to answer a question about the bookmarks: I made the ribbon between the top and bottom embellishments between 11 and 12 inches, so the ribbon itself was cut longer than that. I started with 14+ inches to give me room to tie the knot on the one end. I tied my knot last, but if you were smart, you could tie it first, then deal with the length and where to cut it and where to put the top embellishment. I just now, this very second, thought of that. AFTER I made a bazillion of them of all different lengths. So don't be like me, okay? Okay!

On that note, I might go make something else this evening. It means I'd need to get off the couch, but if I do get off the couch, I'll definitely go straight to the craft table. Promise.

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: Watch for news on the upcoming Cyber Monday etsy specials with which I'll be involved. As of now we plan to offer a freebie from each of our shops for each minimum order of $20 from any one of us. Kindof like the "free gift with minimum purchase" offered at some cosmetic counters. More details to follow. You can check the #mimosaclub tag on Twitter if I fail to materialize soon enough for you. ;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Crooked Stamper Goes to Virginia

Today was a good day. I had my second of three Holiday shows today, and it was the one I begged to NOT do, but they wore me down, and I agreed. It was in Virginia, which is no big deal here, because DC/MD/VA is one big happy metropolitan area. No, it was not just that it was in VA, but it was far, as in "not 5 minutes from my house". But I went, and I am glad. Except for the part where I got up earlier than I do for work, then drove in the dark to VA, and arrived 30 minutes before anyone with a key to open up the place. But I sat in my car and listened to The Acoustic Storm on the radio. Yeah, that part was good. :-)

Here is the building which housed our little event:

Once inside I realized it was bigger than my entire condo. Nice, though. Small spaces, so I grovelled and got a primo end spot:

Sweet! It started out as a U-shape, but since I, once again, had no place for a chair, nor did the poor young lady behind me, I later shifted that right-hand table around to be parallel with the back table. It gave us enough space to put our chairs sideways between my table and hers so we could both sit down. That's the thing about craft shows. Most of the time we are more than willing to help each other out, and that is what makes things so much fun!

The young lady next to me was selling etched/stained/dyed eggs. Not painted. She applies wax to the egg in a pattern, then whatever is not coated absorbs the color into which it is dipped. Very tedious, but amazing and beautiful. She learned it from her Mother starting at about the age of 5. Her mother learned it from her Grandmother. It is a traditional Ukrainian craft, and a surprisingly-large number of people who stopped by to ogle knew about the craft.

This one is a goose egg. So pretty!

I took this pic with a quarter for perspective. Teeny tiny! I forget what kinds of eggs these were...sorry.

That big egg is an ostrich egg. The dark one behind it is emu, and the cream-colored one behind it is a rhea egg. Did you know that emu eggs are naturally that dark color? For those, she actually uses an acid mixture to remove the dark coating. Each successive application removes some of the shell to reveal lighter and lighter color, and the texture of the outside is just amazing.

Did you also know that commercial egg-laying facilities fake out the hens to force them to lay multiple eggs per day? And that this means the amount of calcium normally found in a single egg gets spread across two to three eggs, making them too fragile to use for this craft? The things you learn on a Saturday in Arlington, Virginia.

Now, on to the stars of today's show! The dogs! This is a Malamute:

What a stunning creature. She is 5+ years old.

Here she is sitting quietly while two kids came up to pet her. She is gorgeous!

Baby Malmutes! So cute!

And one of a different color.

There were lots of other dogs there, too, looking for someone to take them home.


And if I did not have an Only cat, this sweet fellow would have some home with me!

Sales were pleasingly brisk! I sold 8 of the 10 candles I made, and I donated the last 2, plus the remaining packs of note cards, to the Rescue group to use as door prizes or whatever they want. I know *I* will never sell them, and this way I did not have to take them home!

As an added bonus, the vendors all got to take home a selection of produce from the farmers market corner. I took some Granny Smith apples and a few sweet potatoes. As you all know, any food in this house will get fuzzy before it gets eaten!

So that was my day, and so far I am still vertical.

In other news, some of my Tweeple and I are plotting something for Cyber Monday - the Monday after Thanksgiving - with our etsy stores. Stay tuned for more information on that effort. You can keep up with it on Twitter by searching for the #mimosaclub hash-tag keyword.

Gotta go find something in this place to eat. Thanks for stopping by!