Pumpkin Painting… dos and don’ts

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It’s pumpkin time!  That means pumpkin seeds, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin decorations.  My wife’s alma mater, Bay Path College, held the 3rd Annual Carpe Diem Dash to benefit their scholarship fund.  A good friend of hers is the president of the Alumni Association, so we chipped in to help out (manning the water stations, not running).  I was also able to help with the decorations by painting pumpkins.

We went to the awesome farm that supplied the veggies for our wedding, Gooseberry Farms (http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=1997), and they gave us an amazing deal on tons of pumpkins, gourds, hay, and a crazy-looking hubbard squash (grey food- who knew?).  I took some of the biggest ones and used Sharpies and acrylic craft paint to decorate them with “Carpe Diem” (the college’s motto- long before “Dead Poet’s Society“) and this year’s theme: “Be Bold”.

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The Sharpies and craft paint weren’t necessarily the best choices.  The Sharpies colored well but have such narrow strokes that I couldn’t do much other than write with them.  The black craft paint was great- it went on smoothly, stayed where I put it, and covered really well.  The pink was another story.  It went on really light (not opaque like the black) but when I tried to do a second coat, even after letting it dry, it wiped off the first coat in some places.  I had to go over it a few times, and even then I didn’t get the really “bold” color I was hoping for.  I think there are other things that would have worked better to decorate them.  Paint markers, maybe?

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I still think they made for great decorations, especially the way our friend arranged them.  I like that crazy hubbard squash the best.  But the real best part… they came home with us and are now decorating our front steps.

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The wedding scrapbook continues

The network was down at work today so I came home, cleaned up my crafty table, and did another couple pages in our wedding scrapbook.  That was so much more fun than working!!  (Unfortunately, I’ll have twice as much work to do once the computers are up and running.)  I used sketches for challenges for both of them.  Challenges really inspire me and give me good inspiration that I can then build upon to make my own.  Here they are (with little iPhone app stickers to cover up the kids faces):

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This was inspired by the Scraps of Darkness and Scraps of Elegance.  It’s called “The Black Album Sketch Challenge” (http://scrapsofdarkness.com/Forum/index.php?topic=3531.0).  We had a lot of our photos printed in sepia, which I love and which seemed perfect for this challenge.  These photos are of my wife and myself with our boy (my “Best Man”) and our two flowergirls (on the left) and my wife and her “Maid of Honor” (on the right).  We went to a park near our house to take the photos and they turned out beautifully!  I like all the rounded edges and flourishes in the sketch, that I tried to get with some stickers.  The border was done with a white Pen-Touch marker (I’ve really been loving using white marker on dark backgrounds).

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This is for one of Sketch ~n~ Scrap’s September challenges (http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/09/card-sketch-10.html).   It’s designed for a card, but it’s fun and easy to use the sketch in a scrapbook layout, too.  The sketch featured the three thick lines and a big circle around/through them.  I thought this paper worked perfectly because it incorporated the circle and the time element was at the forefront of the beginning of our wedding day (we were in a MAD RUSH to get everything set up)!  We had centerpieces made of different sized mason jars and vases with assorted purple ribbons tied around them (kind of a shabby chic look).  The florist made the bouquets a little more full than I had hoped (I was hoping for more of the sparse, loose look), and they actually ended being top heavy.  That, paired with the wind that day, had them all falling over as soon as we put them out.  With a couple hours before everyone was about to show up, we were desperately trying to add pebbles (from our rock garden) to weigh them down.  When that didn’t work, we just pulled the flowers out of all the taller vases and laid them down in the centers of the tables.

Here’s the completed page with my journalling added (the sketch didn’t really have a space that I could neatly fit journaling in to because it was made for a card):

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Both background papers are from Die Cuts With a View’s (http://www.dcwv.com/) “Heirloom Stack” (I love their paper.  I have that one and “Tattered Time”, with a cool Steampunk feel)

 

 

Sugar for my sweet

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife is an amazing cook.  I’ve given her full reign to get any kitchen utensils/appliances she needs because I know she’s going to use them to make something delicious.  And any time she says she wants me to make or decorate something for the kitchen, I’m all over it!

A few weeks ago, she said she wanted a sugar dish to keep on the counter so she didn’t have to open the canister every time she needed a little bit of sugar.  I know we had one that came with our mug set, but I couldn’t find it for the life of me.  I kept my eye out for one as we were browsing at the cute country stores, antique stores, and galleries on our trip last weekend, but couldn’t find one.  Then, buried on my craft table, I found this little jar I had saved from the recycle bin quite some time ago.  I think some kind of meat rub or seasoning came in it (the kitchen is clearly her domain).  It was the perfect size and has a nice latching top to prevent bugs from getting in and spills from getting out.

Simon Says Stamping is challenging readers to try stamping on anything but paper this week (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-on-anything-but-plain-paper).  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to join in.  At first, I tried stamping the word “sugar” right on the glass.  It didn’t really show up well.  I’m sure there’s a way to stamp on glass, but I couldn’t figure it out.  So, went through my scrap paper box and fabric bin and got some materials that I thought would look neat on the jar and in our kitchen.  I also picked out a really cool old-fashioned glass jar stamp that I bought a while ago and have been looking for the right place to use it.  The fabric I chose was from a set of cloth napkins I picked up at the thrift store (I’ve been using one of them for backgrounds for my photos, lately, and have started cutting up another to use in different projects).  I grabbed the one I’ve been cutting up and stamped my jar on it with a midnight blue ink from my Paper Pumpkin kit.  The stamp came out perfectly, having followed Design Team member Sandra’s directions for stamping on cloth: http://madebysannie.blogspot.com/2013/09/londen-calling.html (I absolutely LOVE this bag she made for the challenge).  I made sure to get my stamp nice and inky and then stamped on a somewhat supple surface, pushing and holding for a couple seconds longer than I might otherwise have on paper.

I used scrapbook paper with a neat greenish, distressed look and stamped the work “sugar” on it (with the same stamp I had originally used on the glass itself).  I put on a nice coat of glossy Mod Podge and smoothed on the paper and fabric with the stamp.  I put some of the lacy edge of the napkin at the top to kind of border the label and voila!  (This time, I finally waited until it the bottom coat was dry before putting on the top coat of Mod Podge, so it stayed nice and smooth.)

Last 2 anniversary cards (I think)

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This one was made for another couple challenges.  The first one is Shopping our Stash’s “Favorite Stampy Technique”.  (http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-118-favorite-stampy-technique.html).  I used a fun Hero stamp I got from one of my favorite bloggers on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge design team, who was thinning her stash and selling some of her old stamps for about 1/2 price.  (http://cheironbrandon.typepad.com/my_weblog/stamps-stuff-for-sale.html).  My “Favorite Stampy Technique” is using Bingo ink daubers to ink the stamps.  I tried it when I first started experimenting with stamping because I only had a couple ink pads.  My wife has a ton of Bingo daubers and she actually introduced me to Bingo (which I have to admit I rather like).  I just randomly inked different sections of the stamp with different colors and plopped the card on top.  (I stamp “upside down” when using these, because they tend to be a little drippy.  I’ve found that when you stamp down on the card some of the ink that drips into the crevices drips down onto the paper.  If you stamp “up” by putting the paper on the stamp, this can be avoided.)  I love how bright the colors are!

The second challenge comes in with the quote stamp.  It’s from Stampsmith (some of my favorite stamps are from them).  Their challenge is to create something that’s “Inspired by a Song” (http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/tsc46inspired-by-song-using-at-least.html).  This was a perfect theme to make a card for my wife for, who’s laying next to me singing as I type.  This quote made me think of the song of “What A Wonderful World”, which I wrote on the inside of the card and which we played at our wedding (the “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” mash up by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_DKWlrA24k).  It’s one of my favorite songs.)  The flowers seem to have a kind of Hawaiian theme.

This card is perfect for our anniversary because I really did marry my best friend.

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And this is the last card I’m making (I think).  I used another Stampsmith stamp (aren’t they great?  So detailed!) which I colored with colored pencils.  I used my hand-made zig zag stamp on the sides and a cute phrase on the bottom with Sharpie.

And another…

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I made this card to remember our Jill and Jill.  In case you haven’t been following along, I’m making a bunch of cards for our first wedding anniversary, coming up this weekend, because it’s the “paper” anniversary (and because I couldn’t think of anything else to get).

We had a beach themed party (NOT to be confused with a Hawaiian theme, which my wife was dead set against.  Ironically, when I went to get the postage for our “Save the Date”, the only ones they had were “Aloha” stamps.  She thought I was conspiring against her.)  We made a cornhole with bare feet on it (posted about here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/09/08/have-cornhole-will-travel/) and strung flip-flop lights from the bar with little beach glass/twine/seashell candle holders from Christmas Tree Shops on the tables.  (Oh, by the way, I found out from someone that a “cornhole” is called that because they DID used to throw bags of corn in the hole, but then the corn got mushy or eaten by critters or something so they switched to synthetic pellets).

I made this card to enter into this week’s Drunken Stampers challenge “button” theme: http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/thing-buttons-drunken-stampers-challenge-140/.  I grabbed a metal button from my stash and used some of my fabulous glitter glue to make it into a disco ball.  Here it is halfway covered:

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I used black cardstock for the background (pasted onto the white card), a piece of shiny silver wired ribbon with stars, and some 3D  stickers.  I used more glitter glue to put beams of glory shooting out from the disco ball and dots all over (I even put dots on the back of the card in order to wipe off my fingers and the glue tip).

I love the dimension in this card and it’s almost as fun as the party was.  We had an awesome DJ, Lori B from Martini Productions (http://martiniproductions.wordpress.com/), and I totally just found out that she has a blog as I was looking up a link to post for her!  So many of our friends made raffle baskets and I made a couple crafts to raffle, as well.

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I hope the card brings back as many great memories for my wife as it’s brought back for me making it and writing about it.

Gelli-madness

I GOT A GELLI PLATE!!!  I’ve been seeing blogger after blogger do amazing things with this thing they keep referring to as a “Gelli Plate” and have been dying to get my hands on one.  I went to Michaels (my go to place for all things crafty) and they looked at me like I had two heads (not their finest moment).  Then, a blogger wrote about an anniversary party for what sounds like an amazing, locally owned craft store in the UK, The Artistic Stamper, and I commented on how it was so great that places like that existed and we should do everything we could to keep them alive.  I discovered they had an on-line store and they were offering free shipping (even internationally) and they sold gelli plates.  So I got one (and a couple stamps, for good measure).  I went with the 6″x6″ one because my space is limited and I tend to do smaller things, anyway.  I hope you’ll check them out:  http://www.theartisticstamper.com/.  They have a huge selection of paper craft materials.

Of course, I went right to work with it.  I don’t have a brayer, so I brushed the acrylic craft paint on with a foam brush.  I tried a couple different ways to make designs in it- dragging the tip of the brush across in lines and waves and stamping with a cool eraser ring I picked up in the back-to-section at Staples (2 for $1).  Here are my first two pages, which I’m going to use for backgrounds in soon-to-be-completed art journal pages:

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As I was using the eraser to stamp on the gelli plate and then on the paper in the empty section, I started to think it kind of looked like the pattern on a turtle’s back.  I had just seen a card challenge with the theme of “Animal Antics” and my wife happens to love turtles and our anniversary is coming up this weekend… so I made her a(nother) card.  I made a stencil out of cardstock for the shell and then loaded up my gelli plate with green paint and stamped the eraser all over it.  I lined it up on the card, stamped, and voila!  It was perfect!!

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Of course, when I opened the card, I realized that the shell was upside-down so I rethought my original concept and stamped on the new phrase.  Sharpies helped make the face, legs, and belly (after Googling images of “turtle cartoons” as a little bit of inspiration).  I already showed it to her and she loved it (she would have seen it in my blog, anyway, and she’s an investigator so it’s impossible to keep anything secret from her).  But I’m not actually GIVING it to her until our anniversary.

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Kitchen Color!

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We have these grand plans of renovating the kitchen, building an addition to make it twice the size, and doing it all in Rachel Ray’s eggplant, orange, and lime green color combo (and by “we” I mean my wife).  Here’s Rachel Ray’s collection, if you can’t picture it:  http://www.rachaelraystore.com/Department/List/Bakeware/102-4294958180  I do kind of love the color combo.

That’s probably not going to happen any time soon (unless Rachel finds my blog and offers to pay for it all in a huge sponsorship/promotion extravaganza).  In the meantime, I’m trying to make things that help the wifey keep the tiny space we do have more organized and appealing for her to work in (thus motivating her to make more yummy stuff for me and the boy).

I picked up this little wooden Crayola crate at a thrift store in North Carolina when were on vacation last Spring and knew I wanted to save it for something perfect.  When she took an old spice rack off the wall (after realizing that the spices in there had likely been purchased when the first Clinton was in office) the spot it left was the perfect size for this box.

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I started off by putting a shelf it in from some old dresser drawer wood I cut down.  It’s just wood-glued in with two more pieces of wood as supports but feels pretty sturdy.  I painted the inside a vibrant purple, a little brighter than the purple from Rachel Ray’s collection, but it was similar to another accessory my wife made for the kitchen a week before (see below).  I  screwed in cup hooks before painting the outside because I didn’t have the right color paint for the outside yet and I was being impatient.  That was a silly thing to do, because then I ended up having to carefully paint and varnish around the hooks for every subsequent coat.

I only painted the top, bottom, and fronts with the green, because I really wanted to keep the sides with the Crayola logo on them visible.  It’s also a nice combo of her contemporary and my vintage aesthetics.  (Those sides are my favorite part.)

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It was still looking rather ordinary (as ordinary as a purple and lime green Crayola crate spice shelf can look), so I tore some pages from a second-hand Bacardi cookbook we picked up at a tag sale and decoupaged them in the backs of the shelves.  It’s kind of a nod to our honeymoon, which was in Puerto Rico and during which we toured the Bacardi factory.  I think they added the perfect touch.

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I also sanded the edges down a tiny little bit to distress it before slathering the whole thing with varnish (I won’t say it’s because my wife tends to be a little messy when she cooks so I wanted it to clean up easily because she took a wee bit of offense when I said that in my last kitchen post).  🙂

I’m also going to submit this to Make My Monday’s challenge this week:  Anything But a Card.   http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/midweek-motivation-anything-but-card.html  There are so many card and scrapbook challenges out there, it was nice to see this one deviate from that for this week.  (Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE me my card challenges!)

The other new addition to our slowly-becoming-colorful kitchen is a clothes pin recipe holder that the wife made at a super-fun workshop at my favorite local upcycle crafting haunt, Knack: (http://www.knack.org/).

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She and the boy worked on this one together.

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He helped us both paint (I was working on another one) and then he somehow found the most amazingly perfect glass fruit beads to decorate the clothespins.  A woman who had a huge bead collection was no longer able to use them because of arthritis, I think, and found it too hard to have them around the house so she donated them to Knack.  The collection was magnificent and this was such a great way to spread her love of beading far and wide, I think.

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These beads are so sweet- tiny little glass fruits- but my photos don’t do them justice.  Macey found the perfect glue to stick the glass to the wood (Amazing Goop) and so far the little suckers have held right on.  She also told me about this awesome web site, http://www.thistothat.com/, where you can select two different materials and it will tell you what glue to use.  It’s brilliant!!

I made one of these clothespin boards for my craft space, but I think I’ll save that post for another day.  School started today and the boy’s school this year starts a full hour earlier.  I was not happy waking up at 6am (and will probably not be happy doing it again tomorrow).