Friday, April 27, 2012

I Can't Come up with a Clever Title, so Let's Just Call it Digital Images

A friend asked recently if I have any stamps of biplanes. I do not, but when I Googled "free digital biplane images," several pictures came up that looked like stamped images. So I decided to show you how you can print an image from the internet and use it just like you would use a stamp. You won't believe how easy it is!

I always include the word free in these searches because I don't want to inadvertently use something that's copyrighted and have the papercrafter police come after me. 
When you search for images, they will load on your computer screen and all you have to do to save one is right click on it then click "Save Picture As..." Your computer will ask you where you want to save it. I have a folder on my desktop called "Odds n Ends" that I use when I'm just messing around. It works kind of like the junk drawer by the back door--if I don't know where to put something, I drop it in there. But I have to keep it cleaned out or I have no idea what's in it!  

This is the image I saved to my computer. I printed it on white cardstock, trimmed it to the size I wanted, and inked the edges. If your image doesn't print clearly, just try another. There are millions of them out there! 

I don't normally use so much ink on the edges, but do you see how in the first image (the one from my computer) the white background ends right in front of the propeller? That made a faint shadow when I printed it so I used extra ink to camouflage it. 
I chose a paper that looked like weathered wood for the mat and added another mat of black cardstock under it. The sentiment sits on a piece of black grossgrain ribbon that runs across the bottom.

The sentiment stamp had more words that didn't suit my purpose, so I cut them away. I'll still be able to line up the pieces on the block if I want to use the whole thing later. I typed "soar" on my computer in a similar font, printed it on white cardstock, trimmed it to size, and inked the edges before adhering it to the inside. 

 I wanted a masculine card that would work for graduation. So...does it? 

I liked this image, too. I thought maybe I'd use it as a background and have the phrase "Plan to Succeed" somewhere on it. Is that too corny? 
I have a request for a graduation card with moving parts, so I tried putting a spinning propeller on a different image, but that definitely crossed the corny line. Guess I'll keep working on that one!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Charms on the Cheap

Every year when I put the kits together for the Project Grad mini album I try to change something up without totally overhauling the whole design. This year we're doing away with the ribbons tied along the binding. (I never put those on Michael's anyway) In place of the ribbons I thought we'd attach a chain of charms. Very trendy, right? I'm not usually a trend-follower, but these are eighteen year old girls we're talking about.... 

So I was browsing through Michael's and Hobby Lobby the other day looking for ideas, beads, etc., and I was overcome with a craving for an Auntie Annie's pretzel. It must have been my subconscious at work, because as soon as I walked through the doors of the mall, I was pulled by a mysterious and unexplained force into Charming Charlie's. If you have never been in one of these stores and you like things that sparkle (Who doesn't?!), you need to find one. Charming Charlie's is an entire store filled with very reasonably priced jewelry and accessories. "Very reasonably priced" is a nice way of saying cheap, right? Everything is displayed in color families to make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for. Kind of like a well-organized scrap room!

I found these necklaces and bought two of the big chunky ones at the top left, three of the red feather necklaces, and one of each of the others.

When I took everything apart, I had enough crystals, beads, feathers, chains, and jump rings to make 32 charms like the one at the top of the page. The best part is that these pieces were all marked down to half price, PLUS they were on a buy-one-get-one-free rack so I only paid twenty five dollars for everything! That means each chain of charms costs just 78 cents! All I have to do is put the pieces together with jump rings. Perfect for television viewing (so I don't fall asleep!) 

I did decide that the chain needed to be black instead of gold, since everything on the cover is black or silver. Guess what you can use to color metal chain.... Alcohol ink. I'm kind of on an alcohol ink kick right now, aren't I? I used the bottom of a Diet Coke with Lime can as a little well. 

I added a few drops of black ink to a drop of blending solution and swirled the chain around a few times. Easy Peasy! I was able to do  five or six pieces of chain at a time so the whole process only took about five minutes. The ink dries really fast if you put a heat gun on it for a few seconds.

This is how it looks on the book. I was afraid it was a little...thin, but with the tassel and the numbers, it's just right. I thought the girls would like the feather since everyone is wearing feathers in their hair or as earrings. And I know they'll like the sparkly stuff! What does it take to get you to cave in to a trend?

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend and I'll see you next week! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chipboard Earrings. Really!

I skipped out on you again Friday. My apologies. Andy and I drove across the state to visit some friends we hadn't seen in about a year and a half. Ok--Andy drove and I read. I think it's the first time I've stayed awake for the entire drive there and back! We had a wonderful time. (We always do with Don & Janie!) The guys got to go to the driving range and Janie and I went to flea markets and garage sales and made cards and secret envelope boxes. What can I say--we're a wild and crazy bunch! 

A couple weeks ago I noticed a pair of earrings that Kathie Lee was wearing on the Today show. They were asymmetrical in shape--sort of an amoeba with no center--silver, and really big. I decided that I could probably make something similar with chipboard, aluminum foil tape, and some dies. This is what I came up with....

I made the big hearts first, because the Sizzix Tipsy Hearts die was my best candidate for chipboard. I wrapped some aluminum foil tape around chipboard, then ran it through the Cuttlebug to cut the middle sized heart. I had to use two strips of tape, but once it's embossed the seam barely shows. And the edges are compressed enough that you can't tell there is a layer of chipboard in the middle. After cutting the hearts, I embossed them with SU! Elegant Lines folder.  

The hearts turned out great, but I'm really not much of a heart jewelry person, so I decided I'd try some Nesties. Ugh. If you want to keep it simple, use a thick die or maybe try Nesties with heavy cardstock instead of chipboard. The Nesties wouldn't cut through the chipboard plus front and back layers of tape, so I cut the chipboard first, then wrapped the tape around, lined up the Nesties and ran it through again to cut the tape. Even then, I had to trim some where the tape didn't cut through. 
After embossing, all that's left is to add hooks. I tried to get creative with the scallop ovals, but I honestly like the look of the punch-hole-insert-jump-ring-add-hook method better! The smaller hearts at the bottom of the photo would already have hooks if I hadn't run out. 

Would you like a necklace to go with your new earrings? Just make one more piece and add a chain instead of a hook. I cut a small heart from the middle of a big heart to make this floating pendant. They could be colored with alcohol inks, but I don't think the tape would hold up to the sanding like the aluminum cans.

Hmmmm.... You know what I have to try now, don't you? Geez! I'm going to have to do a whole post of follow-up's for the ideas that come to me while I'm writing these! 

I hope some of my ideas are inspiring for you. Or at least that they encourage you to just get out some things and PLAY! See what you come up with. Then please leave a comment to inspire someone else!  

Thanks for stopping by! See you Friday!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Craftcycling! I Love That Stuff!

So I'm a little late.... I just couldn't come up with anything neat for my Tuesday post. So I spent several hours Tuesday night surfing the internet in hopes of finding inspiration. I saw a technique I liked at Splitcoast Stampers -- an acrylic distress by Beate Johns, which you can find HERE. But instead of cardstock, acrylic paint, and dye ink, I used a Diet Coke with Lime can (my personal beverage of choice) and alcohol inks.

To get a can apart, stab a pair of sturdy scissors in near the top of the can and cut all the way around. Then cut straight down the side and around the bottom. I've never drawn blood with a Coke can, and I'm pretty accident prone (I once managed to swing a hammer into my own forehead!), but I still feel the need to say that the edges are sharp so be careful. 
Place the flat-ish can (it's still going to curl) in an embossing folder and run it through your die cut/embossing machine. 

For the pictures I used a paisley embossing folder. But then when I couldn't decide what to do with it, I used the SU! Flower Garden folder for my card. Embossing leaves a few small wrinkles in the aluminum, but I don't think they hurt the look at all.

Now get out your alcohol inks and the little applicator and pad and go to town. You might want to use a little alcohol blending solution, too. Just put a few drops of whatever colors you want on the pad, add a drop or two of the blending solution, and thoroughly cover the entire piece of aluminum. 

I used Wild Plum, Stream, and Stonewashed. These are alcohol based inks (makes sense, right?) so any spills or smudges clean up fairly well with rubbing alcohol or even an antibacterial wipe. Love those things!

Now to bring out the design, just lightly sand across the surface. I accidentally sanded the color off some of the wrinkles, but was able to dab a little more ink over them. The pad stays wet longer than you'd think.

After embossing this piece, I used Nestie ovals to cut the aluminum and the green cardstock matt. Then I used the two shades of blue ink--Stream and Stonewashed--to color the aluminum. The background is SU! En Francais in Soft Suede and everything is tied together with Pear Pizzazz seam binding ribbon and adhered to a dark brown card. You can see the wrinkles even more at this angle (at the top right edge of the oval), but again, I don't think they take away from the look at all.
Did you notice the watermark on this pic is different? I MADE the new font on my iPad! How cool is that?! That is pretty close to what my actual handwriting would look like if I took the time to write                                        v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y  a-n-d  c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. Like that's ever gonna happen!  
Soooo.... What would you suggest for the purple paisley pop can? When I figure something out I'll sneak it in with another post. Now I'm wondering how something like this would work with colored Sharpies. They're alcohol based, too, after all. I wonder if the blending solution would work with them....
Thanks for stopping by! See you Friday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

From Preschool to Graduation

In my second year teaching preschool at Honeytree I had a little girl named Kara in my three year old class. Kara's older sister joined the color guard when she got to high school, and Kara followed in Samantha's footsteps, joining the color guard in eighth grade and marching through to her final season last fall. Kara will graduate from high school in May. Wow. She's not the first preschooler I've had cross the stage, but she's the first one that I had in color guard for five years. 
Kara wanted some special announcements for graduation, and picked this very cool red mirror cardstock and black glitter carstock. Since we are the Houn Dawgs she wanted a pawprint, so I suggested punching one out of the pearlized white paper so the black glitter would show through. Then instead of adhering the sides of the pocket, I tied it shut with silver embroidery floss. The card with the actual announcement printed on it pulls out to reveal Kara's name on the bottom. I printed a frame around her name to make it look like the name cards that go in announcements. Adhered to the back piece of the pocket (behind the card) is the class song, motto, flower, and colors. 

Yes, that's my camera reflected below the string. 
I wish I had thought of this when my boys were seniors! It's a pretty simple design, but the papers really make it pop. 
One more nifty little tidbit--since I was re-elected to the school board earlier this week, I will get to hand Kara's diploma to her on May 20th! Do you think I'll cry?
Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful Easter and I'll see you next week!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Yo-Yo Flowers for Easter

When I was a teenager, our next door neighbor invited my mom and me over to see the yo-yo bedspread she had just finished. It was gorgeous! And I was in love! I envisioned an antique bed with a white coverlet and my very own yo-yo bedspread on top. It wasn't long before I decided I'd be satisfied with a nice pillow sham. Or maybe a cute little decorative pillow. That was before I admitted to myself that I don't really do well with long-term projects.

Yo-yo's are made by running a gathering stitch around the outside of a circle and pulling it almost tight. 

Then tie it off (so it looks like a Barbie shower cap) and flatten it into a circle. Cute, huh? Now whip up about 3,000 of those little puppies and you have a bedspread! Seriously. If each finished yo-yo is 1 1/2 inches across, you'll need a block of 64 yo-yo's stitched together to fill a square foot, so a 6 x 8 bedspread will need just over 3,000 yo-yo's. That decorative pillow is sounding better all the time, right?

This block of 36 measures nine inches across. I started with 3 1/2 inch fabric circles and ended up with        1 1/2 inch yo-yo's. It isn't all stitched together yet, but it should give you the general idea.

I started this card with that kind of yo-yo, but I decided I like this variation better. It's the same kind of flower I used on one of the "craftcycled" tags last week. Instead of a circle I tore a strip of muslin 3/4 inch wide and about 4 1/2 inches long and ran the gathering stitch along one edge.

I like the frayed edges. It won't quite lay flat, so just snip about halfway in from the outer edge to make some petals. I use this tiny little flatiron (it's only 6 inches long) for pressing small items. I find it easier to use than the ribbon iron it replaced.

 I wanted a little bit of pattern so I stamped some polka dots and paisleys on the muslin before stitching, and added some jewels and pearls to the centers of the "flowers."

To put the card together, I cut a Nesties curved rectangle and inked the edges, tied a piece of seam binding into a bow, and attached the flowers and an oval with "Happy Easter." There was still something missing, so 
I tried a doily. A spritz of walnut ink toned down the white to blend with the unbleached muslin. The doily was too wide for the card, so I folded some pleats in the center to make it more of an oval.  

That's exactly what it needed! I love the little ruffles the pleats make at the top and bottom. 

How cool would it be to have a yo-yo bedspread made only with muslin? Then you could use any color sheet or coverlet under it and that color would peek through between the circles. Oh, no! Here I go again!

Thanks for stopping by! See you Friday!