WOYWW: A Splurge, a Bargain and a Tower of Tools!

How is that for a title, eh? It’s Wednesday again and time to have a look-see at my desk and join the fun that is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday (or WOYWW for short!) We are supposed to get 4-8 inches of snow tonight so I expect the kids might have a snow day tomorrow so I need to be extra nose-to-the-grindstoney today and get some stuff done.  I’ll keep it shot and sweet! This is how my desk looks today:

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I took my MIL out to lunch yesterday and afterward we went to BAM! (books-a-million) bookstore, I had never been there before. I found an amazing (yet ungodly expensive) magazine that I could not live without, it had jewelry made from wire, clay, quilling and lamp-working.  It is one of the UK publications so I am going to see if I can subscribe in the states. I was recently able to subscribe to Cardmaking & Papercraft for $24 a year USD and I am very happy with that (because that too is $10 on newsstands) so I am hoping I can subscribe to this publication as well.  Speaking of the UK my twins’ girl scout troop has picked England as their country for thinking day! They have been learning about scouting in England, prepared a skit and made swaps! I was tasked with coming up with a make and take for our booth and we are going to teach the other 100 girls who attend how to make rolled “English” roses. I’ll have a tutorial on that later, you can see some of the attempts scattered around my new craft loot. Oh and I almost forgot, check out the deal I got on the Gel sticks (they work, look and feel just like gelatos by the way, I can’t tell the difference!) You get 2 sticks for $5 at the craft store and I got a 12 pack for that price, score! If you live near a BAM! you might want to go grab some.  It is funny how quickly my desk changes. I took this photo yesterday before shopping:

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I wanted better access to my tools, I spent countless minutes searching for round nose pliers or tweezers and I decided enough was enough! I had another rack like I used for my water media and it was empty so I hot-glued it to the top of my iris card and loaded it up with my tools! I can see everything I have, no more random pails of junk! I did keep my altered soup can for my scissors though.

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Underneath the rack it is hollow so I can store my long ring mandrel and my stampin-around wheel guide and other unruly items. I truly feel like I am sitting in the cockpit with all of my tools within reach. Why didn’t I think of this before?

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That’s all for today, if you want to see what other crafters have out on their desks go to the Stamping ground to check it out! Til next time happy crafting!

WOYWW: Craftroom Tour {in High Definition!}

Howdy folks and happy Wednesday! This week for What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday I thought I would do an updated studio tour and storage video! And (drumroll please) it is in high-definition (notice how I am not in front of the camera LOL!) Just promise me that you won’t report me to the TV show Hoarders!

So I walked into my craftroom the other day and thought “what the hell happened in here?!?” it was a mess, boxes of quilling and knitting mayhem not put away from classes I taught last week, beads everywhere and general crafty chaos…well, you saw last weeks WOYWW desk…just multiply that and add a few more piles, it was a freaking craft obstacle course! So Saturday night I cleaned up my mess (I am a wild woman, home organizing on a Saturday night) and here the photos:

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Well there you have it, since my kids are on vacation this week it still looks this way too (will wonders ever cease?) But best of all I come in ready to create and not bummed out about the mess or injured because I tripped over a 25 pound box of glue sticks. If you have any questions about how I store my stash just leave a comment and I am happy to answer it. Thanks for visiting me in my studio today and til next time happy crafting!

Fun with {old} Friendly Plastic!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a sweet morning before work and school exchanging valentines goodies and cards:) The kids are looking forward to the valentine party at school and as a classroom treat we cut hearts out of watermelon (cut the rind off a watermelon and slice it 3/4″ thick and use a cookie cutter to cut hearts or other shapes) and made a fruit plate that I will bring to school in a bit. Here is the valentine card I made my husband. Stamps are by About Art Accents.

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I used Friendly Plastic to make the charm  I was given a bunch of old friendly plastic sticks last year. Friendly plastic has a shelf life, after a couple of years it becomes brittle and snappy, not bendy and pliant, so you can’t use it for all techniques. Luckily I discovered ways to use the old stuff so if you have some friendly plastic from long ago or if you bought some recently and discovered that it breaks rather than bends here are some techniques you can try. Get a cuppa coffee folks, this is a long, but hopefully entertaining and informative video. You can do any of these techniques with new Friendly Plastic as well!

And, yes, I found something else to use my coffee cup warmer for! Yay, it earns a place on my worktable:) So to recap the following techniques will work with old FP: Marbleizing, inlay or crazy quilt technique, ooze technique (pressing metal mesh or wire into the melted plastic so it oozes up around it) and breaking up and melting in molds.

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Tips: Snap off bit of plastic (like I did in the video.) Cutting the old stuff with scissors will make it shatter (the new stuff should cut just fine.) If you are buying new Friendly plastic, check it in the store to make sure it bends, if it snaps it is old.  Don’t buy more than you can use up in a year, short shelf life, remember.

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A word of caution: The charms made with old friendly plastic should probably be used for card or scrapbook embellishments as they are not the most rugged unless you use several layers and re-enforce with wire or if the pieces are small (earring size.)  I tried snapping some of the larger pieces and they did snap with a bit of pressure so not ideal for long lasting jewelry. I have not used new FP so I am not sure how jewelry would last after it was a few years old, weather it would become brittle with age. There are a ton of fun tutorials on the Friendly Plastic blog to give you an idea of what artists are doing with the new pliant sticks. I highly recommend you have a look and if you have any question on the new Friendly Plastic they would be the ones to ask and they have beginner kits at a reasonable price.

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That’s all for today! I hope if you have some old sticks of Friendly Plastic around you will give this a try rather than becoming frustrated and throwing them away, til next time happy crafting!

DIY Desk Caddy {or sweet teacher appreciation gift!}

Happy Saturday folks! Do you have wooden cigar boxes, tea chests or flea market furniture hanging around your house in hopes of a facelift? Have you tried decoupage? It is simply the art of pasting thin paper to wooden surfaces and it looks great when done properly! In today’s video I will show you how to decoupage these sweet inexpensive divided wooden boxes from Papermart and then I will offer some tips on layering ribbon, buttons and other goodies so they look pleasing and on purpose (and not like someone just sneezed a box of embellishments on it LOL!)

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It is really easy too, all you need is thin scrapbook paper (or you can use book pages, origami paper or washi paper as long as it is thin), decoupage medium (I recommend satin for use on wood or use white glue that has been thinned to a 3 parts glue, 1 part water ratio), a sponge brush and they you will need assorted trinkets for layering on after it is dry. The lovely measuring tape ribbon is also from papermart. For adhering them I use Helmar 450 fast grab glue or hot glue. Watch the video to see how!

Wasn’t that easy? Stay tuned because in a few days I will show you how to make some adorable push pins, clips and bookmarks to fill this caddy with! Save your scraps from this project because that is what we will be using! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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WOYWW: Tutorial-Cheap Flexible Molds!

Happy Wednesday folks! well, this week we have gone from 2 degrees to 50! You know what they say about the weather in Maine, if you don’t like it wait 5 minutes LOL! This week my desk is littered with clay, glass, stencils and moulds…why am I telling you this? because it is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday (or WOYWW for short) before I show you my desk here are some molds I made from Sculpy Bake and Bend Clay, it s way cheaper than using the Ranger 2 part molding stuff, I made a video to show you how at the end of this post:

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And here is my desk, I am a skitzo crafter today, making stencils and molds…I think I like making supplies more than creating with them LOL!

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And just in case you think I don’t support the crafting economy check out my yummy new glass I just ordered from Devardi glass. I sorted it in a bill organizer I picked up a few years ago at goodwill for $2. It is perfect for the glass rods. I hope to try out this glass later today, since my toaster oven is out for clay anyway I think I will use it as a rod warmer (don’t worry, I won’t burn my hands off!) since the Devardi glass (which is dirt cheap BTW) might be a little shocky so I want to bring it up to temp before I put it in the flame, my studio is really cold so thermal shock might happen…I’ll let you know how it all turns out :)

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And now my super cheap flexible mold tutorial. I used Bake and Bend clay which I bought on sale for $5 a pack of six 1 oz bricks but regular prices is $7 so still way cheaper than the two-part epoxy mold maker. What I really love is that it does not cure till you heat it so there is no waste. With the 2 part stuff you have to use it or lose it! You can even press the clay to textured surfaces and make rubber stamps!

I thought of another tip when working with clay: Remove your nail polish first because the clay will make it all freaky and gross:) Oh and the scrap clay rigid mold tutorial (which is like making them for free-love that!) is here.  Well, that’s it! I am going to brew a pot of coffee and head over to the Stamping Ground and check out other WOYWW crafty desks, won’t you join me? Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

I’m like a big furry alien…

…you’ll just have to watch the video to get that reference. Kidding aside, can you believe it is just 25 days until Christmas? There are so many things to do this month: Parties, concerts, plays, decorating, cooking, cleaning (no seriously, I do from time to time) and entertaining! Who has time to scrapbook? But what if you could put a book together cheaply, quickly and easily so you could just jot stuff in as it happens and enjoy the month guilt free? Well, my friend you can, and I’m gonna show you how!

That’s pretty chic huh? And it is made from coffee filters! I had hundreds of them left over when my coffee make broke and they do not fit my new machine. The fancy bakers twine, tags, rhinestones and other odds and ends are fromPapermart. Let me tell you folks, if they sell it they will have the best price, often times by as much as 50% so check them out if you are in need of some crafty goodness :D

OK, folks, this is an easy project but the video is a bit long so grab your favorite beverage (Whatever you want, I don’t judge LOL), sit back and watch some scrapbook magic happen…no wait, can’t say that with a straight face…I mean, we are using coffee filters…maybe not magic per say but some darn nifty crafting!

So, are you ready to give crafting with coffee filters a try? Do you have a Bobby McFerrin song stuck in your head! well, welcome to my crazy world then!

Got questions? Leave a comment and I will get back to you. Have a wonderful weekend and til next time happy crafting!

Woo hoo witchy woman {see how high she files…)

Happy Monday! I have has a cross between the song Gypsy Woman and Witchy Woman stuck in my head since Saturday when I volunteered to play the fortune-teller at my kids’ school (and yes, I scrapped it already…patting myself on the back as we speak LOL!) All weekend I have been singing the song Witchy Woman but saying “gypsy” instead of “witchy” because in general I am clueless about song lyrics and let’s face, it the song Witchy Woman rocks way more than Gypsy Woman so that is my theme song this week. So there.

Raven hair, ruby lips, sparks fly from her fingertip…that lyric inspired the glitter/sequin treatment on this page. After I had the page all laid out with photos and everything I dipped a fan brush in my Homemade Glitteriffic Glam paint and made big random swirls on the page. It was a bit of a leap of faith because I printed the photos 10 minutes earlier and I wasn’t sure the printer ink was dry. I am a rebel I tell you. Then I left it the heck alone to dry which only took a few minutes on the paper. Yay future floor wax! Here is a peek at my journaling, I rarely type it but I had a bit of space on the photo paper I printed the pictures on so rather than waste it I typed out my story.

For the title I wanted it to be a bit mystical, as in appear and disappear, so I used a scrap of metallic gold sign vinyl (my SIL works at a banner & sign shop and she gives me the scraps that are too small for their machines) and cut out the words “Gypsy Woman” using the gypsy font and my Cricut. Here is the deal for cutting contact paper or sticky back vinyl with you electronic die cutter. Use a depth of 3-4 and pressure at low. It will cut the vinyl but not the backing paper. The you can peel off the waste and you are left with just the letters and that is easy to deal with. Here is the title as it catches the light:

As for embellishments I kept it simple, Just a few sequins. I wanted to share how I made the background paper. I got an awesome stamp called Articulated Skeleton  from Lost Coast Designs all of the bones are separate so for the background I just slapped all the stamps randomly on my Rock-a-block and stamped away on a sheet of  very subtle pattern paper. Then I placed a wall stencil down and sprayed it with ink. I cleaned my stamp and switched to a standard flat acrylic block and stamped out the skeleton, bone by bone, on a piece of black cardstock, tor the edge and stapled it to the page. The leaf die cuts were done on a Sizzix Eclips when I was testing one out for my kid’s school, I had inked them and hot glued them on. Pretty fun, artsy and easy!

 I have to be honest, I had the page background done a month ago, I was just waiting for some Halloween photos to put in. I really like “pre-scrapping” because I have no fear of wasting the perfect photo, it is so freeing, you should try it sometime!

You might be wondering how I did as a “psychic”, well, not too bad judging from the long line of customers I had all night. But I must say towards the end I was running out of material, I actually told one kid that he was going to move to Peru and be an Emu farmer…do they even have Emus in Peru? And I did it all in costume with a thick Eastern European accent that sounded like a cross between Angelica Houston in the movie “The Witches” and Balki from the 80′s TV show “Perfect Strangers.” The PTG got their money’s worth that night…wait, I worked for free…ha ha, beggars can’t be choosers I guess.

woo hoo witchy woman see how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got the moon in her eye…Happy crafting!

My thoughts on scrapbooking…

Happy Sunday folks! I always think the Sunday is a great time for scrapping, especially during football season. Working on a page with the “game” on in the background and the family milling about is just kind of nice. I was putting the finishing touches ona pile of scrapbook pages I made at a crop last month and I was getting ready to photograph them for my blog when I thought “Nah, no one want to see 10 pages of summer camping” well, no one except my family and that is OK. I did photograph one layout to share because I thought someone might find the paper pocket I made useful to stash maps and other ephemera on a page:

 

I used to approach each scrapbook page like it was a painting, it had to be completely different, artistic and take hours to complete…Did I mention that was back when I had one kid? Now my priority is getting the photos printed and in books. Sure, I like to try new techniques and play with cool crafting product but If I don’t have a perfect embellishment or paper I still scrap it and put it in my album. Why? Because no one who is interested in my pages will care if I used 5-year-old paper and buttons or if I ran out and spent $20 to make the page. They want the photos and the story. I wanted to write this post today for all of the “collectors of scrapbook supplies” out there who think that every page has to be perfect or it is not worth creating. It is worth creating! The products mean nothing it is your special personality that will transform your photos, story and supplies into a meaningful memory. Don’t worry about being perfect, just do it! I was reminded of this when my daughter Maizy asked me if she could make a video after seeing me film a scrapbook page video. I said sure. I think it represents the fun carefree way we should all approach our scrapbooks, like a child, with no judgements just joy, have a look:

 

I’m so proud of her! And I love how she makes double-sided tape work for everything LOL! thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Gettin “squishy” with it!

Happy Monday everyone! What does hair gel have to do with scrapbooking? It’s an odd question huh? Check out these projects and you will see:

 

The jam jars on the card and scrapbook page are made with hair gel! Do you want to find out how? Check out the video:

 

How do you like the new camera angle? I finally figured out how to film right-side-up…It only took 93 videos LOL!

 

I know many of you are horrified at the thought of a bag of hair gel living in your scrapbook page, if that will keep you up at night just make the card instead :) I am not too worried about it because if something did leak it will be in a page protector all by itself so it could only sully its own page. Besides, I can always print more photos.

 

How can you resist the squishable goodness?

 

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

I am not a professional…but I play one on TV!

Howdy folks. I have to admit that I have the worst handwriting of anyone I know BUT if you put a calligraphy pen in my hand I turn into the Queen of England. Why is it that I can legably…ney, I daresay even beautifully..with a calligraphy pen and not a regular one? I think it has to do with the fact that when I use a fancy pen I “draw” my letters and when I write with a regular old pen I am trying to communicate words…it’s a theory.

 

Do you wanna try? Here is a 15 minute video that shows you some lettering with a calligraphy pen as well as tips and tricks to make you lettering look professional with minimum experience and effort. I call it faux calligraphy!

 

Calligraphy tips: Remember these tips and your writing will be beautiful!

  1. Keep your pen nib at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Move your entire arm (from the shoulder) when writing.
  3. Keep the same slant to all of your letters (the  straight lines in your letters should be parallel to each other) for a uniform look. Also try to keep your spacing between letters the same.
  4. Press on the downstroke (more pressure=thicker lines) and lift on the upstroke (less pressure=thinner lines)
  5. Always start your letters at the top!

Always start your letters at the top song. Sing this as you write, it goes to the tune of “If your happy and you know it”:

Always start your letters at the top!

Always start your letters at the top!

When you start a letter,

It get’s better, better, better,

If you always start your letters at the top!

 

At the end of the video I showed you some resist techniques, I am assuming most of you tuned out when I started singing so here is a recap:)

Step 1. After writing your words color and doodle on them with crayon.

 

Step 2. Paint them with watercolors.

 

Step 3: Embossing them with an embossing folder while wet. Paint more color over if desired.

 

Alternately you can emboss the tag when it is dry and rub a chunk of wax on it then watercolor it for a patterned resist. Oh the fun things you can try when you mix calligraphy with mixed media! Have fun and til next time happy crafting!

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