Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting Labeled Creatively

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”Albert Einstein

I am so pleased to be taking part in this "Sizzix Scoreboards Blog Hop", along with all the other creative designers.  Welcome to my blog if this is your first visit.

Being a HUGE Sizzix fan, it's been a thrill to see and use the amazing new, soon-to-be-released,  dies in the Scoreboards newest line, designed by Eileen Hull.  So I hope that you will stop by each blog to see how each designer used the "Scalloped Box" die and fashioned it into something spectacular.  Once you have had the opportunity to see all the designs, click back to Eileen Hull's Blog and pick your favorite.  MAKE SURE YOU "VOTE"- TWO PRIZES WILL BE GIVEN AWAY BY EILEEN. One will go to the designer with the most votes and the other to a random person, commenting on any of the participating blogs. Please note: Voting ends on Monday, April 4, at 6 PM. So come on and get inspired!  Leave a comment on the designer's blogs.  Tell us what your thoughts are, we would love to hear them!
Eileen gave us a challenge to incorporate "office supply materials" into our designs if we desired.  I'm always up for a challenge!

Started with the blank Sizzix Scalloped Box die as the base, painting the inside and outside of the box with Gold Adirondack Paint Dabber. Formed the box using a "red line" tape. Then I took blank white labels and inked them with a light color Distress Ink (Antique Linen) from Ranger.  Then ran the labels through my Sizzix Big Shot in a embossing folder from  Cuttlebug. With the labels embossed, I lightly wiped a darker shade of Distress Ink (Tea Dye) in one direction down the fronts of the labels, then finished in the opposite direction with the darkest Distress Ink (Walnut Stain).  Position the labels evenly on the front and back of the box.  Trim excess if needed. (Hint: I added little strips of red line tape along the edges to secure the labels better.)

All the metal paper brads were colored using Adirondack Alcohol Inks (Terra Cotta).  Small pieces of cork board scraps were cut to fit the front lid, the top and bottom of the box.  (Hint: the cork can be embossed if desired using a pattern and run through the Big Shot.) Then the pieces were put in place again using some strips of red line tape, but a glue would work too.  Some felt flower and leaf shapes were die-cut using other Sizzix dies. The two small flower pieces that are also part of the Scallop Box die, were painted with Distress Crackle Paints.  The felt pieces, scoreboard pieces are then attached to the top flap with a large paper brad.  Tiny brads are placed on the scalloped edge.  Two holes are punched to thread a rubber band through as the closure.  I used small binder clips, attached to the sides of the box with paper brads.  Formed a neck band from two pieces of strapping tape and inked it with green alcohol inks. Attached the band to the clips with tiny paper brads.
So ... what's your thought ... or two?
List of participating blogs:
Ann Butler
Bonnie Bruns 

Brenda Pinnick
Candice Windham Designs 

Carla Schauer
Cindi Bisson- Fat Cat Creations 
Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world 
Designs by Roxi 
Eileen Hull 
Jenn Ellefson 
Just a Thought or Two 
Jen Goode 
Julie McGuffee 
Karen Burniston 
Laura Bray 
Lisa Rojas 
Marisa Pawelko- Modern Surrealist 
Melony Bradley 
Michelle Cummings 
Niki Meiners 
Pink Lemonade 
Sandy Laipply 
Sparkle Studio 
Veronica Goff

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Having Some Creative Fun

Creative work is play. It is free speculation using materials of one's chosen form.          Stephen Nachmanovitch

How can I use these to come up with something pretty?

One more day till some fun begins!  On Wednesday you will find a post that will be part of something called "Sizzix Scoreboard Blog Hop".  You will need to check out all the links to the other blogs and see what creative ideas are being shared by a group of designers.

Looking forward myself, to seeing how each designers took the same basic shape and made it their own.
Take some time to hop around these blogs.  You will probably discover some wonderful blogs to visit while "hopping" around checking out the designs!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Someone I Want You To Meet

"The artist's world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep."  Paul Strand

First let me apologize for not posting since Wednesday. My intentions were to end this "National Craft Month" by writing about some very creative people that I am lucky enough to be friends with.  I had several that I wanted to let you meet.  Sometimes life just gets in the way of our plans.  Since I was unable to follow through on my intentions, maybe I will make this idea a feature in my future blog posts.  I will choose someone once a month to introduce you to. Sounds like a plan to me!
Since the last day of March is quickly approaching, I would like to start this by having you meet a wonderful, sweet, amazingly creative lady today.  I begin with Rebekah for a number of reasons, the main one being that we live very close to each other and because of that we have become what I would say is very good friends.  I met her while we were both members of the Society of Creative Designers.  The organization introduced me to so many wonderful and creative people and also opened up a fantastic opportunity for me. Maybe more about that another time.

While attending seminars, conferences and trade shows, Rebekah and I got to know each other, but the fact that we live about five minutes from each other, gave us the chance to get together and just chat and share.
She is a versatile designer and has been creating wonderful patterns and designs for quite sometime.  Her work can be seen in several magazines and a number of books.  You can find out more about her by visiting her website or reading her blog.  Next month Rebekah will be teaching two classes at the International Quilt Festival, being held in Rosemont, Illinois.  The classes will feature techniques from her latest book called, "Fabric Art Collage" by C&T Publishing.  She will be teaching again later this year at the "Art & Soul" retreat, in October.  Check out the website for that and see what she will be doing.  (Just a quick note: I have to say that I have another friend from the area that will be teaching there too.  I will have to introduce Peggy Krzyzewski to you also in one of these post.)

The photos are from an evening I hosted for Rebekah when this new book was just released.  If any of you readers are "technique junkies" or love to work with fabric, this would be a must have in your library.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Score With "Celebrations"

"The artist's world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep."  Paul Strand
ANNOUNCEMENT    Some fun begins a week from today!!  Mark your calendars for March 31 ... visit this blog anytime that day and follow a "Blog Hop".   I am so thrilled to be a part of this hop.  A group of designers will be featuring a project using the wonderful Sizzix Scoreboard dies, designed by Eileen Hull.  I met Eileen several years ago when we were both members of SCD, the Society of Creative Designers.  What a talented woman!  This is worth a little of your time to see "creativity" happening before your eyes.  You will be amazed to see how the same item, given to each designer, will change with each individual.  

This is my very first "Blog Hop" but have followed a few.  It is fun and it's interesting to visit so many creative blogs.  This "Hop" begins on March 31st, but will continue every two weeks till May 26.  Each "Hop" will feature a Scoreboard die from Sizzix newest collection created especially for "Celebrations".  If you are unfamiliar with Sizzix, check out the Sizzix blog and see how other are creating with their wonderful products.

The participants will have a list of the blogs that are part of this.  You can start at Eileen's blog and follow along from there.  When you have finished your hopping around, go back to Eileen's blog and post a comment and choose your favorite. 

So mark the calendar and come on and join the fun.  Invite your creative friends to hop along with us too.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Found Treasures

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”  Henry Ward Beecher
Sharing with you some of the finds from last Thursday treasure hunt in the little town of Ridgefield.   I love old kitchen items and will continually try to make room for pieces I find.  Another love are any interesting things made from wire.  I have many interesting wire office baskets.  I'm thrilled with finding an old wire dish drainer, along with an interesting hand crochet dish washer.
Baskets can be found all over my house in practically every room.  When I spotted this small picnic basket, it was a must have.
The two tiny irons are a nice addition to my iron collection.
 These two small ceramic, retro pitchers are just right for the kitchen windowsill.
Our biggest find of the day was a wooden wash stand.  With the need to replace the old worn one that we had for many, many years, we really thought it would be sometime before we would find a replacement.  How lucky we were!  Besides, this one is even better than the last.  I'll share a photo when we get the stand into place in the flower bed, in front of our house.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Treasure Hunt Begins

"Each of us is an artist, capable of conceiving and creating a vision from the depths of our being."   Dorothy Fadiman

On Thursday we set out to begin, what I hope will be the beginning, several trips to search for those wonderful finds of "junque" or "antiques treasures".  This first venture to us to a small town located between Crystal Lake and Woodstock, Illinois.  (Just a side note here - this is the same Woodstock that where the movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed. One of my very favorite area small towns.)  Arriving in the little town of Ridgefield, your realize how tiny this town is.  The main area has a railroad track running through, dividing the main shopping district.  Within a one block space there are seven shops.  All but one are antiques shops.  Stepping into the first shop, that was at one time a church, we found a great collection of country pieces, both large and small.  While talking with the proprietor, and telling her that we just recently been told about the town, she informed us that she had been there for 43 years. She gave us information about upcoming events that take place during the warmer months. I'm sure we will be making return visits.

We found many wonderful pieces. We were on the lookout for a old wash stand with a ringer to hold two washtubs.  Found one and in great shape in the very first shop.  It will be a fun addition to the front of the house with bright flower filled tubs.  Picked up several other smaller pieces while visiting the other shops too.  In a day or two I will post photos of the purchases.  I already want to go back to see if the old laundry basket with its own rolling stand is still available.  When I saw it I knew it would be a unique item to have. The price was reasonable and I should have gone with my first instinct and snatched it up.

This short trip has given me desire for more and more treasure hunts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating Green

"Creativity and love surely come from the same source, and both have no boundaries.  It all depends on how we use them".   Nancy Green
      ( Crochet Shamrock - used a fine jute cord.  Dyed with Ranger Colorwash, glitter spray.)
It's a good day to celebrate all that's green.  It begins with the day itself, St. Patrick's Day and that wonderful color of Emerald green.  What a wonderful sight to see green shoots pushing up through the ground.  This next week-end brings the "first day of Spring" which will gives us warmer days and buds popping open.

Let's just not talk "green" let's do more to think and act "green".  With the beginning of this season of new life, in this early part of this new year, let's all try harder to do more to help this earth we are living in.

Even during this National Month of Crafts, we can rethink uses of materials for crafting purposes.  Try looking for earth-friendly products.  Think outside the box of ways to recycle and reuse materials.  Use up what you have before consuming more.  As a crafter, think about making your own reusable shopping bags.  Sew one up from some canvas or denim fabric.  Knit or crochet a bag that can be used for light shopping.  Paint, dye or embellish any of those bags that are hanging around the house collecting dust.  It takes some effort to shop with your own bags but if you check out the sight called reusable bags and see the counter of plastic bags that are used, it may give you an incentive to get away from plastic.

Here's a list of some great pages to check out:
Earth Safe Finishes                            My Earth
Create It Green                                  Creatively Green
Green Thing                                      Going Green
Green Crafts                                      Greenopolis
Green Guide

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Break

"Creativity is a mindset, an attitude.  Regardless of how we feel - low or high or in between, creativity is always there".   Nikki Coulombe

There are so many ideas going through my head right now, but for the moment I want to take a little "break" and share a tiny hint of spring today.  Originally I had several ideas for blog posts, but when I looked out the front window this morning and saw a delightful sight, I grabbed my camera and had to go out and take a few snaps.  The snow is all gone!  These sweet little flowers made me smile today!  Hope they will make you smile too!

More about crafts and such tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creating, Giving, Sharing

"Creativity is not a motive, it's simply an attitude of open mindedness."  Eleanor Blair

I can finally share the photo of a gift I created for a dear friend, Maria Nerius.  Just a little bit about Maria first before commenting on the project I created for her.

Long before actually meeting her in person, I had seen her name in various magazines. There was either a craft design or an article related to the subject with her name on it.  A new magazine showed up and she was the editor.  I enjoyed it so much that I decided to write her and send my compliments.  Well to my surprise one morning, the phone rang and on the other end was Maria.  I was stunned and pleased.  She asked if I would be up to writing an article for an upcoming issue and submit a project.  She's a remarkable woman and for many reasons (too many to go into here) I'm so happy to have her as a friend.

You can see Maria on "inspired at home's pajama party" on Wednesday evenings at 9:00pm CT.  Also, she is the craft expert on Sunday evening "FaveCraftsRadio".

So onto the gift ... Maria had to have some surgery and wanted to send her a card but of course it couldn't be just an ordinary "hope you are feeling well" card.  I wanted to create something special.  Knowing that Maria is a fan of quilling, I thought she may like something that took that paper twisting just a step further. That brought me to the idea of something that she could display.  The woman that inspired me to create these flowers is Leone Em.  I met her at a Craft & Hobby Industry show several years ago.  She lives in Australia. I was truly amazed when I saw her make these flowers and the beautiful display of her creations.

I used a painted,  postcard size canvas board as the base.  I die-cut a thin sheet of Paperclay with a Sizzix Big Shot.  Used an embossing plate to add texture.  I stained the heart shaped die with Ranger Distress Ink. Brushed it with a coat of Aileen's Paper Glaze.  Most of the flowers are all shaped from punched paper shapes.  The roses are made using a stamp called "Bloomers".  All the paper pieces must be twisted and shaped using a variety of tools. I used inks on some to add more depth. They are arranged  on the heart.  I added a ribbon hanger and a personal note on the back.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Craft Or Not To Craft

"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have."   Maya Angelou

I'm trying so hard to find time for some serious, continuous crafting time during this National Month of Crafting.  So far I've only accomplished a couple of actual crafting projects.  Since the beginning of March I have been working on doing several things, all somehow in a round about way, related to "crafts".

The quilting group that I belong to, are working on getting simple quilt tops sewn.  We are trying to get a variety of quilts together to have on hand for donations for special needs.  I will be quilting them for the group on my quilting frame.  Though before starting them I need to finish the one that is still on there.  The quilt that is on the frame is going to my daughter as soon as it's complete.  It's getting there and I need to spend several hours to finish it.  (The photo above shows just a small area of the quilt.)

For the past several days I have been in my workroom reorganizing my tools, supplies and space.  I have found the need to move several things around to give them easier access and closer at hand for working on projects.

I"m anxious to share a photo of one of the projects I made for a friend.  Once I know that it was received, I will be posting the photo and some explanation of how I created it.  I'm a little concerned that something happened at the Post Office.

Along with all the sewing and reorganizing going on, I have three projects started and anxious to share those here too.  One is for Easter, one a book for my granddaughter and the  third is a book made from a variety of recycled materials.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Recycled T-Shirts

"A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something".  Frank Capra

Do you have a number of craft projects in various stages of being complete?  Well I have.  It seems that when I start working on one project, many times my mind will work overtime with creating more ideas.  Sometime they come fast and furious and I need to take the time to write them down so I won't forget.  I have lost great project ideas several times by not writing them down and thinking that I can remember all of them along with all the other everyday things one must remember.

I enjoy trying to salvage items that many would normally throw away.  One of the projects that is almost completed is something that began with two worn and faded cotton tee shirts.  Instead of tossing them into the garbage or the rag drawer, I decided to recycle them.  I dyed each of the shirts with a fabric dye I mixed using Earth Safe Finishes.  I took two different colorants, mixed them with the fabric additive and dyed the two shirts, following the companies directions.  Once dyed and dried, I cut the shirts into approximately 3/4" strips.  There is a way to cut the shirts in a continuous strip if desired, but it's OK if it's not.  With one shirt I had several pieces, but I just knotted them together, leaving a 1  1/2" tail.

Using #15 size knitting needles, I cast on five stitches and starting knitting with one of the balls of colored strips and then tied on the second color, continuing to knit each row till all of the cotton strips were used.

The knitting is complete, so now I think it needs a bit more color.  The next step will be to mix two darker coordinating colors and make my own shimmer sprays.  I'll be spraying on more color randomly and will let it dry and then heat set in a hot dryer.  I'll post a photo when that step is complete.

So before tossing something, give some thought of a way to recycle and reuse ... you may surprise yourself of the ideas you can come up with.   Old cotton shirts could be used to make rag rugs too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Get Crafting And Share Ideas

"You can have no recipe with art.  If you follow a recipe, you are negating the creative act."  Denise Hare

The month has just begun and it's early enough to get involved with crafting.  This year marks the 16th year of National Craft Month and no matter where you live, you are probably seeing craft retailers celebrating too.  It's estimated that around 63 million households craft each year.  That's a great amount of creativity happening around the country.  Stores are having sales on materials and scheduling classes and in-store demonstrations.  My advice ... If there has been something you have wanted to try, pick up an instruction book or pamphlet for a beginner or find some good books on the subject from your local library. Purchase some materials (on sale) and try it.  If you need help, search out a friend or someone who would be willing to help you learn.  A site that you might want to check out is:
It's a site where you can connect with other crafters about crafting.

Something else that I wish to share is another interactive web TV happening that I have been following for the past several weeks.  It's called "Craft-TasticLIVE" and hosted by Andrea Currie.  I became familiar with Andrea through Facebook while sitting very late one night with my laptop, when a message popped up from a group that I had joined.  It's called the "Insomniacs Craft Club".  While posting messages, we decided to check out our blogs or sites.  So basically from there I became aware of Andrea and tuned into her workshop one Tuesday evening.  She is very creative.  I love the way she shows how she has used what she has on hand for creating tools and her finished designs.  So think about spending an hour on a Tuesday evening.  Her energy for creating her crafts is fantastic!

So now I'm off to create a handmade gift for someone and will share that here once it's complete.
Don't just sit there ... start crafting!

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Is National Craft Month

"All who are creative, in whatever way, are doing something very important to the well being of the world."   Sandra Chantry

From the title of this post you can see what I will be writing about today.  I got late start with this post for a number of reasons.  First thing this morning after reading emails and checking on the news I anxiously waited to listen to a new program on the web.  Since there is a lack of "crafting" shows these days on television to watch, it is nice to see that there are other avenues for all of us with the desire to "make stuff"!

The first one I would like to tell you about is "Cool2CraftLive".  The host is Tiffany Windsor and the guests on today's show were Linda Peterson, Heidi Borchers, Ann Butler, "the Crafty Chica", Kathy Cano-Murillo and Maria Nerius.  Each one showed a project using their perferred medium.  The Crafty Chica told us about her novel that was just released called "Waking up in a Land of Glitter".  What a wonderful way to begin my day, for that matter, this month of celebrating crafts!  It's worth marking your calendars for Monday mornings (depending on where you live). The show begins at 12:00 pm (noon) Eastern time ...  sorry, you all can figure out your own time zone.  Each week there will be new guests and new ideas.

There is a radio show on Sunday evenings that is called "Fava Crafts Radio".  This is also hosted by Tiffany Windsor on BlogTalk Radio.  During this program you can listen to guests and others offering creative ideas, tips, projects, reviews and more.

Another fun interactive show is on Wednesday evenings.  You can join Maria Nerius at the Pajama Party she hosts and share your own creativity or just watch or listen in.

Those are only three of the fun happenings that are available for "creative souls" out there in webland.
They are definitely worth checking out.

This should be a good month for me to write blog posts.  I'm going to try and share information and ideas and some projects of my own during the month.  It's OK to be crafty, so get crafting!!!!