Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day


+


Please take a moment to remember why today is a holiday.

Let us never forget those that have sacrificed so much for

these United States Of America.




























Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stamped Walls

                closeup of bedroom wall stamped with DD Vine and Berry from Stampin' Up!








boring cream colored walls before stamping

Stamping on walls is basically the same process as stamping on furniture (see my previous blog posts).

It is best to practice first on a piece of heavy weight mat board or drywall scrap, something sturdy enough to paint a base coat on (preferably the same paint as your wall) then to stand upright. You want to "feel" how the stamp and paint are going to react to stamping vertically, how much paint you will need and how much pressure to use to create a nice image. Bold, solid stamp images work best.

A felt scrap on a plastic lid "inked" with acrylic craft paint makes a great stamp pad. You could also use foam paint brushes dipped in the paint, lightly dabbing it onto the stamp. By using foam brushes, you can add multiple colors to your stamp. For example, you could create a multi toned flower.

Using a level and chalk or pencil, mark very lightly on the wall where you want to stamp a border. If you want a circular design, trace around a large platter, etc.

Keep several old damp rags nearby because sometimes the stamp may slip and smudge. It will wipe off from semi gloss painted walls right away with a damp rag then you can try again. The rags are also useful to clean the stamps regularly. The paint will dry quickly on the stamp, building up and creating a gunky mess on it. Be sure to keep it cleaned off otherwise you may end up with odd stamped impressions. Clean off your stamps as soon as you are done!




after stamping, faux finishing and new bedding


I painted the faux finish on the wall after stamping in the bedroom. The finish was created with interior house paint mixed with glaze, swiped on then immediately "ragged off" with brown packing paper that came in my shipment from Stampin' Up!. I used the now retired stamp set DD Vine and Berry from Stampin' Up! . I bought it specifically for this project and used it unmounted to make it easier to line up the images while stamping on the walls. Once I finished the wall stamping project, I mounted the stamps to their wood blocks and I don't think I have used that set since stamping those walls !






The Americana stairwell wall uses DD Old Glory from Stampin' Up!; it too is retired. I taped off the section I wanted to make the border in then sponge painted with a sea sponge on the wall before stamping.


I submitted my stamped walls to a contest at soshelli.com, but did not win.



Thanks for looking !

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Red/White/Blue Wreath



Super easy (and oh so '80s!) project. I enjoyed making different versions of these years ago. You need a straw wreath, lots of fabric squares and a screwdriver. Put the screwdriver head into the center of the fabric square then shove into the straw wreath. There is no need to glue the fabric in place, but you certainly could to make sure the fabric pieces stay. Mine has held up just fine, only losing a few pieces over the years that were easy enough to shove back in.






Pets

I mentioned my cat stepping on the keyboard in my last post, so I thought I'd share a bit about the critters that own me.




Mulligan cat is the oldest at 13 years of age, born in a drainage tube at our old house. He is my crafting/computering buddy. Any time I am in the craft dungeon, he is there with me - or else outside the window looking in at me! Whenever I use the computer, he is in my lap. I guess because I don't sit still much, this is about the only lap time he gets with me unless I actually make time to watch a bit of TV.



Cassie dog is second oldest at the age of 12, she was a rescued frightened furr ball of a puppy. She's the only dog I have. She has several nicknames, but my favorite is Grinch Toes =) She absolutely loves the snow and going into the stinky creek for a dip. She also loves walking up to visit Grandma and Grandpa, they have better food and treats!





Next comes Kitty, who I brought home as kitten in hopes that she'd be a good barn cat 11 years ago. She isn't much of a barn cat anymore, preferring to go outside only when I do. She does like to chase bugs still and once in a while will chase her brothers around the house. That fat cat can still get up and move !

Lastly there is Ringo cat who was found as a teeny tiny kitten hurt and all alone in the yard. I tried to find him a new home, I really didn't need another cat, but no one wanted him so I now have a lovable mouser . When he does come inside, he demands attention almost to the point of being annoying !

Thursday, May 27, 2010

(Dis)Organizing Stamp Sets





I took advantage of the heat wave to hide out in my cool craft dungeon in the basement of our 100+ year old house yesterday. That is the number one perk to having a craft room in the unfinished basement of this old house, it stays cool over the summer, ahhh! It's time to start reorganizing stamp sets - and try to make room for a few more that I am sure to *need* from the 2010-2011 Stampin' Up! Idea Book to be released in July. I reorganize the stamp sets this time every year.

Whenever I reorganize the stamp sets, I make such a disorganized mess. I remove all of the drawers and sets, what a mess in the beginning. By doing this, I am able to start fresh with the "puzzle" of finding the best way to fit stamp sets in the drawers (there are always more sets to add). I also clean out the drawers from critters that accumulate over the past year. Thankfully all of the creepy crawlies I came across yesterday, including the petrified lizard!, were all dead. That is one of the bad things about having an old unfinished basement for a craft space, critters hiding in the drawers, etc. Eeeek! I always cringe and scream a little when I find a live one (and honestly when I come across a dead one because I am not sure if it is still alive and going to quickly scurry away) Eewwwww!

During this process yesterday I kept thinking, how many more years before my kids move out so I can move my craft area up to their bedrooms ?!?? sigh.......... Honestly, what I would absolutely LOVE to do is - once I win a lottery that I don't play or receive an inheritance from a long lost relative , ha - is to renovate the attic in this old place, build a staircase going to it. It could be a fabulous studio !




My original stamp storage unit was an old wooden hand me down dresser that had seen better days. I sanded, painted, stamped and sealed the dresser using bright colors of acrylic craft paints. I wanted a cheery color combination for that dark basement. I used the retired Stampin' Up! sets Roses In Winter and Simply Circles. I still use this dresser to store stamp sets, it has held up well the past nine years.

My stamp collection has outgrown the dresser and moved into additional clear plastic storage drawers. I like the dresser and drawers because the stamp sets fit in them perfectly standing on their sides.

Whenever I get a new set, I photocopy the sticker sheet and put the copy inside the stamp case. I then seal the wood blocks with a brush on triple thick glaze before assembly. I write the set name with a bold permanent black marker on the side of the case that will be standing up. I try to keep my sets grouped by "theme", such as flowers, masculine, kids, backgrounds, different holidays. I then store the sets in the drawers by size; I do not alphabetize them because the various size boxes take up too much space that way. I group them by size, piecing as many as I am able into the drawer. It may not be the best system, but it works for me.





Wheels are kept in small plastic drawers I found at a yard sale. I gave $10 for all three drawer units that were sold as a set. Two of the units had deeper, narrow drawers that lucky for me fit the wheels perfectly. They are sorted by theme.






The third unit had shallow, wider drawers that work great for loose stamps . All three drawers fit perfectly on top of a bank of see through plastic drawer units I bought at a local store. I laid a piece of particle board across the top of the large storage drawers before I added the three smaller drawers to give them one solid, smooth surface to rest on.





Background stamps have their own large, deep two drawer unit. They are stored alphabetically.

I bought two of these drawer units from a local mass merchandiser several years ago. The other broke at some point, but that is okay because I was able to reuse it for another purpose. The bottom drawer and the frame that the drawers slid in and out of holds large spools of ribbon in the bottom drawer and the top rack holds plastic Cropper Hopper organizers. I really don't like to throw things away if I can make them work for something else somehow.


Pieces of dowel rods with ribbon spools on them standing upright  helps keep them from jumbling up in that deep drawer. Repurposing the broken drawer unit worked well since I had several large spools of ribbon that didn't have a good place to be stored. They are standing on end so I can easily pull off portions of ribbon as needed as well as the see the color/type of ribbon. I can remove the entire spool if needed.


The broken drawer that was on the top now lays on its side on my work table for 12 x 12 card stock storage. I really don't like to throw things away if I am able to make them work for another purpose.


My drawers are full, no more room for any more stamps - despite my wanting oh so many from the new  Stampin' Up! Idea Book . I know, I could take the time (and extra expense) to unmount all of my wood sets and I would have oh so much more storage space, but I prefer my wood mounted stamp sets.






Thanks for looking !






Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Card Stock Storage Redo

I took advantage of the wet weather we had recently to reorganize my collection of card stock. With the upcoming Stampin' Up! Color Renovation, I wanted to redo my filing system.




After trying three different ways of organizing - and I don't want to know how many hours wasted! - I think I am happy enough with my new system. Rather than store my colors in the new Stampin' Up! color families as I have the past 10 years, I ended up storing all reds, blues, etc together.

No, I don't intend on purging any of the retired colors. I still have some from the last revamp years ago! Mint Melody or Mauve Mist ring a bell? I may need a particular shade for a project; call me a hoarder, a pack rat, I don't mind =)


8.5" x 11" card stock is grouped by colors and stored in hanging file folders. Medium sized pieces of scraps are in another folder within. Each hanging file has a tab made from a scap of the colored card stock that I wrote the name on.

I punched a piece of every color of card stock with the Word Window Punch from Stampin' Up! then arranged them in order of the colors in each drawer. They were attached to the front of the drawers on the outside to help me find the correct colors. 

Tiny scraps have their own metal boxes (another repurposed item from the hospital, they used to hold slides). 

12x12 card stock and decorative papers are stored standing on end in wooden storage cubes and one plastic drawer on its side at the end of my work table. 




I'm sorry to see so many of our beautiful colors retire, but I am loving the new colors and color families ! I'm fortunate to have just enough space in my craft dungeon to add those two filing cabinets I found at a yard sale last week. They will be quite useful for storing some of my retiring colors in addition to the new colors giving me so many fantastic colors to work with.

Now it is time to redo the stamp set dresser - I need to see if I can squeeze in a few new stamp sets I am sure to *need* from the new catalog =) Just a little over a month until the 2010-2011 Stampin' Up! Idea Book goes "live", exciting !!!!!

Thanks for looking !

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Faux Painted/Stamped Cabinet






This is the first piece of furniture I stamped with rubber stamps and acrylic craft paint, 6 years ago. It was a brand new, bright white microwave storage cabinet. I stamped and "distressed" it to make it look "vintage". I needed a storage option for linens in the old farmhouse we bought since there is no linen closet. There is a sort of nook at the end of the staircase that the cabinet fit in perfectly, giving me just enough space to store a set of extra sheets for each of our beds. I decided to stamp roses on the cabinet because I found a pretty set of rose patterned curtains to hang opposite the cabinet.





Supplies:
 acrylic craft paint
 wood furniture sealant
 foam brush
 small artists paint brush if you want to add details
 old toothbrush
 old rags
 scrap of felt on a plastic lid (or foam plate)
 bold image stamp set (I used Stampin' Up! DD Cottage Rose, retired)

Sand the painted cabinet then remove the dust before starting ! I did not take it to bare wood. I wanted to remove some of the super glossy, slick surface paint/varnish off to create some "tooth" for my paint to adhere to.

I brushed paint lightly over the cabinet with a large foam brush, working it with rags to lighten/darken in areas. I brushed or ragged on additional layers in areas. TIP: Glazing medium will "water down" the paint somewhat; keeping it wet a little longer. It is meant to prolong the workability time with the paint. However, on this particular project I think all I did was water down the paint with tap water and work quickly before it dried.

The felt scrap on a plastic lid or foam plate becomes a stamp pad when you add acrylic craft paint to it. Don't get the felt too wet with paint otherwise it will get too goopy on your stamp when you smoosh the stamp into the felt "stamp pad" which will then make your stamped images undefined. You could also brush paint onto the rubber stamp with a foam brush; I prefer making a felt "stamp pad".
TIP: Use bold, solid images such as the Stampin' Up! Definitely Decorative line for this technique; finely detailed stamps do not work well with paint.

Press the rubber stamp into the felt "stamp pad", make sure you have good paint coverage on the stamp then quickly - but carefully!- stamp the image onto your project. You will want to practice first because stamping vertically with slippery paint on a slippery object will tend to make the stamp slide a bit. It may take some practice and patience to get the feel for stamping this way. TIP: Keep old damp rags nearby so you can quickly wipe off any mistakes before the paint dries.

After stamping my images, I "fly specked" with an old toothbrush dipped in paint. Aim the toothbrush at your project then run your thumb across the bristles to flick paint onto the project. TIP: Be sure to do this in an area that doesn't matter if you get paint speckles elsewhere - and wear old clothes because you could accidentally speckle nearby objects as well as yourself!

After all my paint techniques/layers were dry, I sealed the project with a couple layers of wood furniture sealant.

I entered photos of this project (as well as my stamp storage dresser) on scrapbook pages to Stampin' Up! for a Demonstrator contest several years ago. They did not win.

Thanks for looking !

Monday, May 24, 2010

Repurposed Chair



I like to try to reuse things rather than throw them away whenever I can. The webbing on this old chair started to unravel. It wasn't worth it to me to try to redo it. Oh, I like to try to repair things, learn new crafts and so on, but this really wasn't going to be worth it in the long run because the chair was also wobbly and didn't have a use inside the house any longer sooooooooooooo......... I painted it and widened out the webbing enough to drop in a potted plant ! I think it is kinda cute and colorful sitting on my front porch.

The "flower pot" in the seat was found in an old barn that was being sold for the wood; I still have a few pieces of wood to make something out of some day..........

To start with, I sanded quite a bit of the old white paint off of the wood. I then washed and dried it well. As it was drying, I stamped the roses and leaves with a retired Stampin' Up! stamp set, Cottage Rose, using acrylic craft paint on heavyweight white tissue paper. I carefully trimmed out the roses after they dried. I adhered the stamped tissue paper roses onto the chair with Modge Podge ( any clear drying white glue would surely work). I then used small crafters paintbrushes to hand paint the "plaid" with acrylic craft paint. The green I custom mixed out of some colors I already had on hand, I was trying to recreate the Kiwi Kiss color from Stampin' Up! Polka dots were easily created with white craft paint and the unused eraser end of a pencil. After everything was painted and decoupaged, I gave the chair a couple coats of sealant.

It does sit on a covered porch during the summer months only, somewhat protected from the elements so it still looks great two years after I made it.
The above chair is the first I made; it sits on a covered porch summer months only at my parents home. I made it basically the same way as the Bella Rose chair except I stamped/painted the flowers directly onto this chair with acrylic paint. I used a paintbrush and hand lettered Welcome.

I think this project was entered in a soshelli.com contest....

Thanks for looking !

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ducks


Our field is flooding (the Mississippi River is currently 6.5 feet above flood stage where I live) creating a new pond for ducks to visit ! They are in the shallow part of the field pond in this photo; it is a deep enough for them to paddle around in farther towards the creek. It's been fun watching them !

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wedding Gown Card



This is the "wedding gown" card I made for a bridal shower. I saw a beautiful card in an old Anna Griffin advertisement in a magazine. After much fiddling, I was able to make my own version. I have no idea how the project in the ad was made, I just folded paper - and added fractions! - until I came up with the write score lines/folds.

You will need a piece of card stock /decorative paper 5 1/2" x 11".
Score along the 11" side; start measuring from the left side:
4 1/4" ; 6 1/8" ; 6 3/4" ; 8 1/2" ; 9 1/8"
The 4 1/4" score becomes the main fold on your card.
The next score, 6 1/8" is folded the same way, "down" (I think it is called a mountain fold)
The 6 3/4" score is folded the opposite way, "up" (I think this is called a valley fold)
The 8 1/2" score is folded "up" (valley)
The final score is 9 1/8", folded "down" (mountain)

I am not very good at trying to write instructions, here is a sad attempt at a diagram. The l signify scores that you fold "up"; the ' signify scores that are folded "down"

________l____l__,___,__l____
back - pleated front -


Stamp as you like before proceeding to lace up. I used Whisper White card stock, Versamark ink, Dazzling Diamonds glitter mixed with Clear embossing powder and the old retired Stampin' Up! background stamp Filigree. The ribbon is 3/8" wide organdy.

Once you have all of the folds, you will need to decide how many holes to punch along the two front "pleats" to lace up the card with ribbon. I don't recall how much ribbon I used or the distance between the holes, sorry. Like so many of my projects I make them as I go along and don't write things down. I didn't expect several people asking how to make this card ! I imagine you could find other versions online and perhaps they will have dimensions given with step by step photos. All I have is this photograph of the completed project. I honestly made this years ago. I had to refigure the dimensions after the requests ! Thank you for looking and for your interest in recreating this project !

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teeny Tiny Roses - How To

I thought I ought to try to describe how I made the teeny tiny roses on the pop up wedding cake explosion box.


I use the Flower Trio Punch and 1/8" punch from Stampin' Up!


Punch a small hole in the center of each flower.

Snip in from the edge to the center hole.

Use tweezers to hold the center of the flower, starting at one end of the snipped flower. Twirl around itself. One done this way makes a tiny bud; two wrapped around each other make a fuller "rose".

I use a tiny amount of tacky glue - and lots of patience! - to hold them together.

Yes, it would be much easier using premade flowers ! Or even dying tiny white silk or paper flowers with our reinkers would be quicker. I wanted teeny tiny flowers to match the card stock I used on the box so I made my own since I didn't have anything in my craft stash that would work.


Thanks for looking !

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Explosion Box / Scrapbook In A Box


closeup of cake topper





box open, there are tags inserted between the yellow and navy layers for journaling




closeup of paper crafted flower and tag












Baby's First Birthday - a fun way to keep photos from her fist year of life



I know that there are numerous web sites out there with instructions for explosion boxes or scrapbook in a box. I had several requests for instructions for my creation that I shared on Stampin' Connection (the website for Stampin' Up! Demonstrators), so I decided to try my hand at posting to a blog.



BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

For the box base and sides you will need 3 pieces of 12 x 12 card stock trimmed to :

12" x 12" (outermost layer)
11 1/4" x 11 1/4" (middle layer)

10 1/2" x 10 1/2" (innermost layer)
6 1/8" square piece of card stock for the lid



Be sure to do any stamping, embossing, inking, distressing, corner rounding, etc before assembling !
Use patterned card stocks to save time.









Score the 12x12" piece at 4" horizontally and vertically. You will have nine 4" squares.

Score the 11 1/4" x 11 1/4" piece at 3 3/4" horizontally and vertically. You will have nine 3 3/4" squares.

Score the 10 1/2" x 10 1/2" piece at 3 1/2" horizontally and vertically. You will have nine 3 1/2" squares.



Cut the corner piece from the three large scored pieces of card stock. You will remove 4 corner pieces from each leaving three "plus" shaped pieces of card stock. These will become your box base/sides.






Score the 6 1/8" piece at 1" along each side.
Fold in; use your favorite adhesive to stick in place creating the lid.




If you want to add extra layers to the sides for photo mats, journaling, decoration :

Cut 4 pieces at 3 3/4" square (outermost layer)
Cut 4 pieces at 3 1/2" square (middle layer)

Cut 4 pieces at 3 1/4" square (innermost layer)

You could cut 8 of each size to make more photo mats; the box would have photos on each side of the piece of card stock side piece. My project has photos on the front side only, the backs are blank. I didn't want to take a chance on photos sticking to each other or other embellishments. This is also why I made tags for journaling rather than writing on the sides themselves. I wasn't going to risk having ink transfer to a photograph (especially since I made these for gifts and the recipient may not have a photo safe/permanent pen)


Layer the squares onto the scored/cut "plus" shaped card stock pieces. I use adhesive on the two sides and bottom leaving the top open so I can slide in a tag for journaling.



The 3D cake is created with the Sizzix / Stampin' Up! Bigz XL Pop Up Cake Die. After I cut out the pieces I run them through embossing folders or Texturz plates, stamp, spray with shimmer mist, paint, etc before assembling the cake.


I assemble the cake next and adhere it to the middle of the smallest "plus" piece, the 10 1/2" square piece. After the cake is totally decorated with ribbon, punches, glitter, etc I carefully adhere this layer to the other two. I do it this way so I have less of a chance of accidentally ruining all three layers of the box if something happens as I am decorating the cake.



Thank you for looking !


More details about the wedding cake box that I didn't think to add to my initial post:
I ran the side cake pieces through the Sizzix/Stampin' Up! Finial Press Textured Impressions embossing folder.
The tops of the cake layers (die cut pieces) were run through the small polka dot Sizzix/Stampin' Up! Texturz plate.
I painted the raised portions with Lumiere paint (made by Jacquard, sold by Stampin' Up! years ago, now we have shimmer paints that should work the same).
The bride and groom were detailed with Stampin' Write markers, teeny circle pieces punched out from the eyelet border punch, tissue paper, mulberry paper, dimensional paper paint (not from Stampin' Up!; something I bought years ago).
All stamped images on the project were made with retired Stampin' Up stamps and Night Of Navy classic ink.
The large yellow rose was made with the new Large Fancy Flower Punch from Stampin' Up! There are hundreds of tutorials online that show how to make paper roses.




A few details about the baby cake:
I  used various punches, card stocks and inks; Sizzix pop up cake die, retired Dots background stamp, retired alphabet set Brushstroke, Texturz plate, ribbon, glitters, homemade shimmer mist spray - all Stampin' Up!

Thanks for looking !