Card challenge

Image

I made another card for a couple challenges.  The themes for each of them, respectively, were “Music” and your “All-Star stamp”.  I’m making the card for a couple of my boy’s friends (siblings) who are performing in “The King and I” in a couple weeks.  He’s going to their dress rehearsal tomorrow, so I thought it would be nice for him to bring a little card for them.  It was also the perfect occasion to use my new film strip punch by “ek”.  I’ve never gotten one before because they’re so expensive, but I needed something to do with my last 40% off coupon at Michael’s (it would have been a crime to just waste it, right?)  I love it because it has a guide that you can line up the already punched portion to keep the pattern going in as long a line as you want.

Here are the challenges I’m entering:

http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com/2013/08/atcas-challenge-21.html – This one is one of my favorite new challenges.  I’ve struggled with the “Clean and Simple” style but it forces me to be really mindful.  I especially liked this week’s theme, “Music”, and it was perfect for the purpose of the card.  I used one of the Design Team’s ideas of putting sheet music behind a die cut shape.  I can’t find the link to her post about the inspiration card, but here’s her blog: http://florenceandfreddiepart2.wordpress.com/.  I really love her style.  My first iteration of this card included a couple stickers on the front with a movie theme.  I love the stickers, but the style didn’t really match and it took away from the CAS style (see, I’m learning).  Luckily, I was able to peel them off and put them on the inside, instead.  Without the stickers, I was left with a blank space next to the writing, so I cut out a little star out of a piece of the music and pasted it on.

http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-all-stars/ – Another favorite challenge, and their design team usually goes in the totally opposite direction from CAS.  But I love them!!  They’re all about the layers and the dimension and they’re not all cards.  One of the submissions is a bunch of multi-colored tea bags stapled to the back side of a wooden frame with chipping aged wood behind it.  On the side of the frame, she stamped one of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.”  Here’s the link to her piece: http://snappingmonsters.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-other-creations-artsy-tea.html  I think it’s absolutely amazing.  It didn’t inspire this card, but it definitely inspired me (and I Pinned it for later.)

The theme for this challenge is “My Stamping All-Star”.  That would totally be my typewriter letter stamps from “Recollections”.  I use them all the time, and I’ve gotten better at them.  I’ve learned how to use a ruler to line them up if I want a straight line and I’ve learned that if I want the edges not to show I have to either wipe off the extra ink with a damp towel or stamp really carefully on a really hard surface.  I didn’t do either of those things this time, but I like the way it turned out.  I used a Craftsmart’s Brick Red ink pad for a little dash of color.

Here are the materials I used (my new paper punch and my “all-star” stamp (collection):

IMG_7992

And my boy’s sweet message on the inside:

photo-156

Have cornhole, will travel

IMG_2777

Okay, okay.  Before I start getting comments about the shocking nature of the title of this post, a “cornhole” is a beanbag toss.  Pure and simple.  I don’t know where it got that name.  (Maybe they used to use dried corn kernels to make the bean bags, but then they’d probably be called “corn bags”, wouldn’t they?)  Anyway, this cornhole set was build by my father-in-law for our Jill and Jill party.  It’s been making the rounds at various parties and family functions every since.  It was even used as a ruse to get my parents to their 50th Anniversary party (we have to use my dad’s truck to transport them).

The first photo was their original incarnation.  The theme of the party was the “Toes” song by the Zac Brown Band.  We even had PBR on tap.  It came from a couple days after we had first met.  My wife went to Country Fest and sent me a video of that song from the show.  It was one of the only country songs I even knew at the time.  In fact, in the on-line profile at the dating site where I met her, for musical tastes I wrote “anything but country”.  She loves country.  (I’ve actually recently been to my first Country Fest- and I survived it.)

(This cake has nothing to do with the cornhole theme of the post, but I had to share it.  It’s a cake that one of our bridesmaids had made for the Jill and Jill.)

Image

So, after the Jill and Jill the cornhole set sat in the basement for a while until I realized that it was such great entertainment for any party.  We dragged it out for our boy’s 8th birthday and I painted them sky blue.  I was going to put more a design on them, either an 8 or something Skylanders (the theme of the party) but I ran out of time.  (That’s probably okay, though, because he was much more interested in the bounce house we rented).

Image

Some friends have borrowed it on occasion, and we just used it again today for our church block party.  I spray painted the initials of the church on it:  “Trinity United Methodist Church“.  (As I was trying to mask the “M” with painters’ tape, I found myself wishing I was still a member of the United Church of Christ.)  I went with the sloppy look because the sign advertising the party has those block letters with the spray paint spilling over, too.  Image

Here’s the final version of their latest incarnation:

Image

And some good ol’ cornhole fun at the block party, with my wife, the referee:

Image

I ended up with a wicked sunburn, but had a great time.  Our boy got totally decked out in his balloon armor and I spent the rest of the afternoon holding everything so it wouldn’t pop while he played.

Image

I wonder how I’ll paint them next???

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

Image

When I saw this photo challenge theme, An Unusual Point of View, I immediately thought of a photo I took atop the Yokahu Observation Tower in El Yunque National Rain Forest in Puerto Rico.  I actually took the picture with my iPhone, because I wanted to send it to my dad.  It just tickled me to see this binocular thing in the midst of one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.  I guess it’s for people who have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

I love the theme for this challenge as I’m really into the unique point of view.  I think it can say a lot about someone’s creativity and willingness to “think outside the box”.  There are a ton of awesome photos at the blog this week with this theme:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/unusual/

Here’s another photo I took that day that goes with the theme.  It’s from the ground looking up at the tower.  I just love the blue and white of the sky behind the aged, rust colored stone.

Image

I’m not a big photo blogger, but I love taking pictures.  Touring the rainforest was a truly amazing adventure and going through the photos brings it all back to me!

An owl to scare away the woodpecker

IMG_7974

My parents have a woodpecker problem.  A HUGE woodpecker problem.  They have clusters of holes in every corner of their siding.  They’ve tried hanging shiny things from the roof to scare them to no avail.  My dad has even hinting at getting a BB gun.  Here are a couple of photos that I cropped from our recent reunion (I wasn’t even aiming at the holes, but they came through in the pictures loud and clear):

Image-24

So, when I saw this adorable Upcycled woodpecker on the Old School Garden blog (http://audaxdesign.co.uk/) I knew I had to give it a try.  I followed the post pack to this neat blog:  http://aristonorganic.com/2013/02/19/upcycle-make-an-owl.  You’ll have to check out the blog itself, because I couldn’t copy the original photo but, trust me, it’s adorable.

I went through my considerable CD collection and ended up with a compilation CD I made when I was teaching middle school theater.  It was definitely time to close that chapter.  My only second thought about this one is that it was kind of blue, instead of the typical hologram-y silver you get with store-bought CDs.  I think I’ll try one of those next if I can find one I’m willing to part with.  I picked up a bag of knives at the local thrift store and I raided my button stash for the beak and pupils.  I had the rest of the lids and bottle-caps lying around for just such a project.

IMG_7976

It looks like the elements are bolted together on the original version but the glue seems to be holding pretty well.  I put a used cap center from a canning jar on the back for another layer to hold the knives together.  (Those suckers are heavy.)  I have no idea how they found such short knives, but this will be the samurai edition.

My version is nowhere near as cute as the original, but it’s a first try (and there are 5 corners at my parents’ house, so I have four left to make).  I’ve since found a ton of other cute owls made out of upcycled materials, so I have a lot of others to try.  I’ll be sure to add any subsequent ones to this post.

I hope that if the shininess of the silverware and CD don’t scare off the woodpeckers, the knives will.  (My boy was very excited to think that they might be “decapitated”, which disturbed me just a little.)

Family Reunion Fun

IMG_7773

We had a family reunion this past weekend and I made some “souvenirs” for folks.  I printed photos that my brother had taken at our last 3 reunions and made them into wall hangings for each family.

The first one I made for my sister and her family.  She and her husband and are both teachers so I used the cover of an old picture book I’ve had sitting on my craft shelf for just such an occasion.  I took off the front cover to use as a “frame” and then glued down the photos with my handy-dandy Mod-Podge.  I had picked up a bunch of napkins with lacy edges at a local thrift store recently to use in crafts, and it seemed to go with the shabby-chic look of this cover.  I glued them all down with Mod Podge, making sure to let the layer I used to glue things down overnight before putting the layer over the top.   This really helped avoid bubbling, which is always a problem when I decoupage (impatient much?).  I also used a little plastic bag to smooth out the glue around the edges of the photos to avoid getting it on my fingers and then getting gluey fingerprints on everything else I touched.

Image-22

I found some cute little knick-knacks in my “miscellaneous metal” and attached them with UHU Twist and Glue.  I love that stuff.  (This binder clip is holding down the fancy paperclip while the glue dries.)  Finally, I glued a piece of bric a brac on the back as a little hanger (and duct taped it down, as well, for good measure).

Image-21

IMG_7763

This one was for my aunt and her partner.  I used the back cover from the book, above, because it had a really neat, small town drawing on the inside of the cover and they live in a small town in Vermont.  I colored in a few parts of the picture with colored pencil and glued on a couple little clay button hearts and a little yellow flower.  I glued (and taped) on a piece of cotton hem tape as a hanger.

IMG_7767

 

For the one for one of my cousins and her family (who also live in VT), I used part of a “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”  LP jacket as the background.  (I’ve totally been saving that for something special).  I made sure to  place the photos so you could still see some of the great artwork on this album.  I added some ribbon and some little plastic flowers as embellishments and then glued a picture hanger on the back. To keep the jacket closed, I put a couple little brads on the side.

Image-20

IMG_7762

 

The last one was made for my other cousin and her family who live in Long Island.  They’re the much more cosmopolitan group of the bunch (a professional dancer and a neurosurgeon) so I tried to make it a little more contemporary.  I used a piece of mat board and then some little square note-papers glued on randomly.  I embellished it with washers to keep with the geometric theme and then glued   a picture hanger on the back.

Here they are all drying on my craft-table (it was insanely humid while I was making them and Mod Podge and humidity don’t necessarily go well together).

IMG_7759

I love how each collage is totally unique and made really specifically to try to fit with my perception of that family’s aesthetic.  It was so fun to see how much the kids, especially, grew and changed from year to year.  I’m envisioning making little additions to each one each year that can be brought home and attached.  (We’ll see how that works.)

Oh, and I also made this watermelon shark bowl.  🙂

IMG_7802

 

 

My WordPress Family Award nominations

So, I’ve checked out some other blogs who have this nomination/award, and as far as I can tell the “rules” are pretty simple for this one:

1) Thank the person who nominated you (done).

2)  Let people know who it was (here is her nomination post and wonderful blog: http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/versatile-blogger-wordpress-family-awards/)

3)  And pass the nomination along to 10 other WordPress blogs.  For folks that are nominated, feel free to grab the badge from my side-bar (or anywhere else you find it) if you want to post it or pass along the nominations to some of your favorite bloggers (that’s what it’s all about, after all, “spreading the love”).  So, here’s my list (in order of most to least recent of when I first happened upon them):

http://hippiehauswife.com/–  I love, love, love her recent post of a redo of an armoire-kind-of-think (but with drawers) for her girl.  It looks fabulous.  And I also love that she’s coming around on the whole distressing thing- recent converts always make the coolest stuff.

http://serialwoman.wordpress.com/– She hasn’t posted in a while, but I found her blog recently and have been loving it.  I hope she comes back!

http://linhaiwen.wordpress.com/– “Cardboard Robots!” (need I say more?)

http://kerrybest.com/– She does really neat stuff with beads and polymer clay and isn’t afraid to try new stuff out.

http://knotsewnormal.wordpress.com– Knitting, cute kids, and pie… what could be better?

http://margobreen.wordpress.com– I love reading this woman’s stories.  So much I can relate to and so fun to read.

http://creativelycurious.wordpress.com– She has a couple blogs that I’ve found recently and love.  This first one is frugal, creative ideas and the other one is all about adorable little polymer clay charms: http://charminglittletrinkets.wordpress.com/  (a 2 for 1 nomination!)

http://friendsandfaux.wordpress.com/– She’s restarting a faux postage stamp mail art project that sounds super cool!!

and, last but not least,  http://theinboxjaunt.com/– Her posts about quilting make it look so easy but she does amazing stuff (that is clearly not easy at all!)

So… there you have it.  I hope you enjoy checking out some of these blogs and I’ve had a wonderful time spreading the love.

Oh, and here’s another photo I took:

IMG_1851

(The Washington Monument, under construction, behind cherry blossoms.)

Super cool goings on

So, I don’t really have a project to share tonight (but I’ll try to find a cool photo for the end of the post).  But, I do have some super cool things to share.  First, “I made top 3” at the Shopping our Stash challenge.  I have to admit, the challenge was kind of made for me.  It was using “hardware” in a card- and I LOVE my hardware collection (they, I think, had slightly more refined crafting-specific hardware in mind but seemed to appreciate my literal interpretation).  Here’s the announcement post:  http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/08/saturday-shoutout_31.html.  I submitted an anniversary card I made for my wife.  (Maybe I don’t have to spend as much on a gift now that her card has won an AWARD!)  Now I just have to figure out how to put my prize badge on my sidebar (I seem to have to figure it out from scratch every time).  Isn’t it perty???

Image

The other super cool new news is that I was nominated for more blogger awards: The Versatile Blogger Award (which I’ve gotten before but one can never have too many nominations) and the WordPress Family Award (which is a new one for me).  Here’s her post (which puts me in some pretty awesome company, judging by her other nominees): http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/versatile-blogger-wordpress-family-awards/ The nominations came from a super cool blogger that I recently started following:  Krissy from “Shut Up and Create Something”.  She has some great art journal spreads, full of color and collage, and just a genuinely fun and unique aesthetic (case in point: http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/hamster-in-a-reptar-wagon/)  Plus, I think she has possibly the best name for a blog EVER!  So, here’s my newest badge (which I’ll also have to figure out how to put on my sidebar).

Image

So thanks, everyone!  What a great day!!

And here, to “borrow” a phrase from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, is “Your Moment of Zen”.

Image(A snail trail on a Cape Cod beach.)

I made a wreath!

ImageMy wife has been wanting me to find a new wreath for our door for ages.  We had a dried lavender wreath on the door that I got her for Valentine’s Day but it started shedding every time we opened and closed the door. I wanted to preserve it so I found a nice hook on a wall near the door, nestled next to a couple of kid-made frames from my boy for its golden years…

photo-153

So, I finally made a new one.  I pinned about a million.  (Okay. Maybe only 29.  But you can see them here.  http://m.pinterest.com/bakercooley/wreaths/)  And then I went with a pretty simple one (being my first, and everything).   Here’s the one I tried:  http://sabrinarenee92.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/burlap.

I got a simple wire frame from Michaels and grabbed some fabric from my stash. Both were actually left over from our wedding. The paisley was supposed to be wrapped around the linen on our table (that never happened).  The purple was supposed to be on the ground as the edges of our “aisle” but people kept tripping on it at the rehearsal so I yanked it up. (Yeah, it was a that kind of wedding but it was absolutely perfect.)

I kind of made up my own way of wrapping the ribbon on the frame.  I kind of looped it on and started wrapping it around.
Image
I and didn’t have enough of the paisley to go around so then I yanked that out and redid it. Here was my first attempt:

Image
I tried a couple other versions before settling on this one. I ended up just wrapping the paisley around as far as it would go (making it loose enough so I could puff it up a bit). There was still a gap so I used the purple and kind of braided it around the wire. I like that part the best.

Image

I hung it on the door, content.

Image

The next morning, I was fiddling around in the dining room and found some silk flowers I got for the wedding (doesn’t everyone store their silk flowers in the dining room?).  I’m not a huge silk or dried flowers fan (I’d so much rather the real thing) but my wife likes them so I got a bunch in our colors and had them scattered on little projects throughout.

Image

Borrowing from this beautiful blogger (http://www.stonegableblog.com/2010/08/bridal-wreaths.html) I grabbed a handful and decided to try adding them in to make the wreath fuller…  And it was perfect!

Not my favorite card ever

ImageSo, I made a card for a couple of reasons other than having to make a card for someone.  First reason: I needed to try my sewing machine on a non-buttonhole stitch to see if it was still working because I couldn’t get it to work on the buttonhole.  Second reason:  I wanted to make a wedding card for the Stampotique challenge theme of Weddings.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc113-wedding.html  The problem is, I don’t know anyone getting married in the near future.  That’s why, I think, I really don’t love this card.  I wasn’t making it for the someone.  My heart wasn’t really in it.

I went through my scrapbook sticker box and found a pad of velum wedding note papers and a sheet of black and white wedding-looking stickers.  I like either of them individually, but they don’t work too well together (the two blacks and whites don’t match, if that makes any sense).  Anyway, I sewed the velum onto a card with a fun stitch (not the best stitch for paper, but that’s one part of the card I actually like).  (Oh, and the machine does work, I just forgot to bring down the button hole sizing guide.)

I thought it still needed something, so I grabbed some really old silver craft dusting powder.  It’s not really powdery anymore, so I scraped the top a little with the blunt end of my brush and then used the brush end to put some on the diagonal corners.

Image

I remembered my fun with stencils lately, so I cut a heart out of some heavy cardstock and put a couple hearts on the inside.  I really wasn’t happy with the dusting on the front (I thought it was too dark) so I put more in the inside but I did it through a piece of tulle.  Now that I finally liked.

Image

What do you do with cards that you don’t love?  Do you still give them away?  Do you keep working on them until you do like them?  Do you scrap them altogether?  I’m not sure what to do with this one.  Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

But here’s something you can win:  a new stamp set from Paper Smooches.  Check out their blog and comment for a chance to win.  http://papersmooches.blogspot.com/2013/08/august-dt-blog-hop.html  Then, join in their super fun blog hop.  So much inspiration, so little time!

Update:  After sleeping on it, I woke up in the morning thinking I should just try taking off the heart sticker.  That was the biggest thing that I didn’t like.  And (what do you know?) it peeled right off!

IMG_7748

A few cards for a couple challenges

ImageFirst off, more Christmas cards!!!  (Thanks, Spike, I’m still on a roll.)  I’ve gotten a little collection started and I’m having so much fun.  Addicted to CAS (i.e. clean and simple) is doing a Holiday challenge this week, so what better excuse to add to my collection?  http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/atcas-challenge-20.html

I made these out of the same handy-dandy tree template I used in this previous card creation: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/20/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-inspired-by-spike/ (Hence, the earlier credit given to Spike.)  I used our Bingo ink daubers (my wife is a REAL Bingo fan) to fill in the whole inside of the trees.  I like that it’s not a solid green with the little bit of variation in saturation that the dauber created.  Actually, I picked the colors (green, aqua, and orange) for a challenge that I missed by a couple hours, but I still think they look nice together.  The “Peace” is a stamp I did with orange marker and the aqua button is from the Paper Pumpkin kit I got recently (talked about in the above  post).  It’s hard to tell, but I secured it with glitter glue.

Image

I started off with the trees being just the green but thought they were missing something.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I grabbed a wire screw cap from my box of doo-dads and used it to stamp little circles on the trees for ornaments.  The first one I used an orange marker for ink but it was too light, I thought, so I used a dark green stamp pad for the second one.  And then I just left it alone (see, I’m getting better at this “clean and simple” thing).

And then there are these:

The Drunken Stampers challenge for the week is a Person: Party Planner (http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/person-party-planner-drunken-stampers-challenge-138/)  The challenge is to design cards for any kind of party.  On Friday, two of my favorite front office staff are leaving for school and part time positions.  We’re having a little “onward and upward” party for them- it’s not going away because they’ll still be with the agency but they won’t be with us as much (which is very sad- great staff are hard to come by).  So, I made these cards:Image

I actually cut apart the card my dad gave me for Valentine’s Day a couple years ago (yeah, I still have it) for the banner, arrows, and swirly punches.  The yellow striped banner is from the aforementioned Paper Pumpkin kit (I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this thing) and the stamps are from a bunch of random collections.  I made the little arrow and attached it with a brad as a little suggestion of the many possible directions life could take them.  On the inside, I used a couple more stamps and then made my own out of another eraser (the pseudo Chevron/Charlie Brown-reminiscent zig zag).  I was thinking of an abstract way to suggest upward movement (or maybe I just had Peanuts on my brain).  Image

I don’t think I’m ever going to stop loving carving these eraser stamps!