Sunday, April 20, 2014

Craft Barn's Eighth Challenge: Knowledge and Hurt

The eighth Craft Barn lyrics or quotes challenge came out today.  I checked before I went to sleep, and decided on the word I would use would be HURT, mainly because all the DT examples were Knowledge.  Of course, those of you who know me, or follow along on my blog, know that I'm a positive person, with no room for pain or emotional baggage.  So finding a good quote was priority # 1, and finding something I could use recycled materials with was priority # 2.

Once again, I started with one of my used file folders cut in half lengthwise.  To that, I glued a background of Tootsie Roll Pop wrappers, things most people would throw in the trash after consuming the candy. 

For the detail shots, I cut hearts from red Tootsie Roll Pop labels that I outlined using a Sharpie marker.

To set the CB 8 apart, I used a shiny wrapper I found in my stash.

I added a chocolate image to this heart.

I continued with the red raspberry  wrappers I turned into hearts until I came to the 

word "hurt."  In case you can't read it, here is what it says. 

All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.

~Charles M. Schulz

Although he died in early 2000, I’m sure most of us remember this cartoonist who gave us such Peanuts characters as Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and Lucy, who, like me, thinks everything should cost 5 cents.

Today is Day 21 of 22, which will culminate in my bEARTHday.  For this prompt and subsequent artwork, I recycled 10 candy wrappers and half a file folder.  I also used two magazine images.  I hope you have/had a super Easter and get ready to celebrate Earth Day. 

Thanks for visiting, and your continued support.  Once again, although I was extremely late getting to many of you, I visited everyone who signed up for the 7th CB challenge.  If I didn't leave a comment, it's because I'm not a member of your venue.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.  At least it's Easter somewhere in the world.  For the second time today I'm sharing recycling tips, and this time it's by recycling or more precisely, reusing a previous post.  In fact, I'm recycling and reusing several posts.  You can tell because the photos were taken using my old camera.  Some of you may remember the one I talking about.

You know, the one you can't tell what anything was, even though this is obviously an egg.

Now I'm going to begin by saying that for being so green, Easter isn't really green at all.  What do I mean?  Easter celebrates a rebirth, time for renewal, time for spring. It often occurs around the time we celebrate Earth Day, too. So why is it, you ask, that it’s one of the most UN-green holidays ever? Plastic, plastic, plastic.

In case you’ve never celebrated an Earth Day, or have never heard of, or thought about recycling, plastic is a petroleum product. It lives simply forever in the landfill. On a larger scale, it’s the material that wars have been fought over, especially (and specifically) those in my lifetime.

Plastic has taken over the Easter industry. There’s probably more plastic sold, then disposed of at Easter than at Christmastime, although I have no statistics to support that. Although I don’t have kids, I can see what is being sold in the stores: plastic baskets wrapped in cellophane or plastic, loaded with plastic eggs and individual chocolate bunnies wrapped in hard plastic, sitting atop plastic grass in various colors.

Am I a cynic? No. I love Easter. It even lands on my birthday on occasion. But parents need to indulge their children in a very different way using only recycled or eco-friendly materials to celebrate this holiday which will also provide a great teaching moment.

Let’s look at some of the worse plastic offenders.

1. Plastic Easter baskets. Alternative: buy natural fiber baskets at the thrift store, or dig out one you’ve had for years.

2. Cellophane or plastic wrapped Easter gift baskets. Alternative: consider wrapping your Easter basket using tissue or other eco-friendly materials. Or, leave it unwrapped if it doesn't have far to travel to reach the recipient.

3. Candy goodies wrapped in plastic to go in the plastic baskets. Alternative: dye real eggs using natural dyes with your kids and hide them in the baskets or outdoors early on Easter morning. Instead of buying the pre-made chocolate bunnies, why not buy a bar or two of your (or your kids) favorite chocolate and cover with various bunny stickers or rubber stamped images.

4. Plastic grass. Alternative: Use your paper shredder to make recyclable grass. When Easter is over, put the shredded paper in your compost pile or around the base of your plants. Don't leave it in your basket, because it might attract varmints or critters. If you have plastic grass, be sure to either dispose of it quickly and responsibly so pets (like curious cats, dogs, or birds) don't get into it and accidentally digest it. Never dispose of it so birds can get it. They will be attracted to it to use in their nests. Or, do as I do, wrap your basket filled with the grass (probably purchased in the 80s) in a large kitchen trash bag that you keep from year to year. 

4. Plastic eggs. Alternative: Below is my alternative while still using some of those offensive plastic eggs I got at a garage sale in the late 80s:

Still not a good photo, but you can at least tell these eggs were made by me.

I started with a plastic egg that I covered with gel medium.  Alternately, any good PVA (white) glue will work.   I then placed a piece of the first (top) ply of a three-ply napkin over the egg, then pressed the napkin firmly to and around the egg. 

Next, I added more gel medium.  The gel medium helps the napkin shrink and fit perfectly on the egg, while sealing the entire assembly.  When dry, you can even stamp on your egg(s), as I did in the first photo above. I hope you find some lovely napkins to recycle your ugly offensive plastic eggs next year!

This is still Day 20, and, for my second post today, I not only recycled plastic eggs that I can use year after year by covering them with napkins, I also recycled (and reused) three previous posts.  Happy Easter to one and all who celebrate it.

Journal 52, week 16: Recycle Day

I had to laugh when I saw Chelle's 16th prompt at Journal 52 this week was recycled art.

I call this one Recycle Day.  As always, I began with a used file folder I cut in half lengthwise.  I added shimmery acrylic paint that barely showed because I only painted the middle of the file folder.

I originally started this collage with a patriotic theme in mind.  However,

it quickly morphed into me digging through my scraps file and finding things that made me smile and represented who I am.

I used staples throughout to hold the parts together.  The final assembly was glued to the file folder.

This is Day 20, and I dipped into my scraps to find many disparate pieces that represent who I am.  Thanks for visiting, because this is the only place (and day) you will see my Recycle Day collage.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What's better than simply going green?

What's better than just going green?   Today, it's spending time with a green crafter.  In case you haven't met her, her name is Denise, and her blog is called "Green Crafting."  I would be remiss if I didn't thank Denise for taking time away from her busy schedule to allow me to interview her.  So, thank you Denise, for answering these questions, as well as providing all your wonderful art (for those of us who are visual learners) that shows what Green Crafting is all about.

I ask that you not pin any of Denise's art from my blog.  Please visit her, and ask permission to pin from her blog.  Now let's learn more about Denise, whose blog is definitely eco-friendly.

Elizabeth:  How and why did you come up with this idea of Green Crafting,

Denise:  I never thought I would be a blogger, to tell the truth!  I'm actually a
very private person, 

and the thought of sharing my crafting ideas with the world intimidated me at first.

But I've always been passionate about living an Earth-friendly lifestyle.  When I realized that relatively few people on the Internet were talking about eco-friendly crafting,

I decided I wanted to be a voice for the "green" side of crafting.  And that's what I named my blog: Green Crafting.

Elizabeth:  What do you mean by Eco-Friendly Crafts? 

DeniseThere is a culture of consumerism in some circles of the scrapbooking world.  However, through my blogging I try to show an alternative point of view.  When it comes to crafting, I think before I buy new supplies, I make use of my scraps, I utilize household items and found objects, etc.  Not just in crafting, but in all areas of my life, I try to take small steps to be a little gentler on the environment.  It's my hope that those small steps will add up and make a difference.

Just as I like to share any eco-friendly crafting tips that I come up with, I also love to get tips from other people.  I am always on the lookout for other eco-friendly blogs and web sites, and I welcome comments and feedback from other crafters and artists.

Elizabeth: Do you have some Eco-Friendly and Green examples and tips you can share with us?

DeniseI think the 3 R's (reduce~reuse~recycle) are a good guideline that anyone can follow.

Reduce--reduce the amount of supplies you need to purchase by making good use of your scraps.

For example, I arranged a bunch of scraps in rainbow order to make a fun background for a picture in my son's baby book. 

Reuse--your home is a treasure trove of craft supplies.  Canceled postage stamps, fabric from worn out clothing, broken jewelry--these are just a few of the household items that can be transformed into craft supplies.  

I made this birthday card using an old book page, ticket stubs, and an antique milk cap.

Recycle--turning an old item into something that can be used in another way is fun.  Bubble wrap can be turned into a background stamp (and if you clean the ink or paint off right away, oftentimes the bubble wrap can be used again).  Old cereal boxes can be trimmed and painted to make mini album pages or other chipboard shapes.  And who needs to buy stencils when sticker negatives work just as well?

To create the "brick wall" pattern on this layout about my husband, I stenciled with pearlescent paint over the grid-like negative portion from a sheet of rectangular mini alphabet stickers.

Elizabeth:  Please explain your thinking when you came up with 10 on the 10th. You might even want to explain what that means to some who are not familiar with your blog.

Denise For a while, it was all the rage for bloggers to create posts with ten photos or a list of ten statements/remarks.  These posts would appear on the tenth day of each month and be called "Ten on the Tenth."  I decided that I wanted to do that, too.  And, to go along with the eco-friendly theme of my blog, 

each of my "Ten on the Tenth" posts shows ways to use up scraps and older supplies.

Last year, I challenged myself each month to create ten projects that used scraps and older supplies,

and I showed these ten projects in my "Ten on the Tenth" posts.

This year, I have taken a slightly different approach.  Now, each month I choose ten items and blog about how I use these specific items to create three projects: 

a scrapbook page, 

a greeting card, 

and one other project (can be a collage, mixed media piece, etc.) like this wall hanging.

Elizabeth:  Are you primarily a scrapbooker, or do you work in other media?

Denise:  Scrapbooking is definitely my favorite hobby.

However, I also enjoy card making, beading, macrame, 

needlework, and drawing.  
Sometimes my crafts "cross over" with each other, which is always fun.

Elizabeth:  When did you start making art and what genre?

Denise:  I think I was about three years old when my parents gave me a giant box of Crayola crayons for Christmas.  The box had 64 different colors, but it seemed like about a million colors to my young, bedazzled eyes.  I was in love.  In love with color.  

And even though, during the ensuing 35 years, I have progressed from coloring with crayons to making scrapbook pages, I am still just as head-over-heels in love with color to this day.

Elizabeth:  Since we now know a bit about your art, please tell us briefly about yourself.

Denise: My family is very important to me.  (I think this is true of most scrapbookers; it's the reason why we want to make fancy albums to showcase all our family photos.)  I actually met my husband because of crayons.  In college, a mutual friend of ours decided to have a "relive your childhood"-themed party and invited people over to watch Disney movies, eat cookies, and color with crayons.  Our romance has been going strong since then, and we just recently celebrated our sixteenth wedding anniversary.  We have one son, and I am a stay-home mom to him.  Before I became a parent, I worked as a teacher, and I still do a little private tutoring.  
Besides crafts, my other hobbies include reading, walking for exercise, and collecting Russian dolls.

I would like to thank Denise for sharing both her truly lovely art, as well as her take on what it means to live green, both in her life and her art.   What a joy it is to find a kindred spirit.  Even though I'm not a scrapbooker, Denise's art speaks to me.  I like her thinking that eco-friendly art in one area spills over into other areas.

I would also like to thank Denise for how easy it was for me to interview her.  She went above and beyond to make sure everything was correct and well documented. 

Denise invites you to visit her blog, Green Crafting.  The address is or click on any link in this post to be taken there.

Today is Day 19, and I went green interviewing the greenest person I know: Green Denise.  I want to thank Denise from the bottom of my heart for taking time to share her green world with us.  Please thank her, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How about a new necklace?

Today I attempted to make a new necklace.  It's no secret I don't wear jewelry, so this one will hopefully be a gift for my friend Kathy.  I hope when it's finished, it will go with her new cuff.

I originally planned to use a wine cork, since I saw one on a blog I happened to stumble on, then didn't bookmark.  However, I remembered it required drilling through the cork, and, since I'm always looking for an easier way of doing things, I decided an old thread spool would be better, and I wouldn't have to get out my drill and possibly split the cork in the process.

Although the thread is new, it's too heavy to use as top thread in my machine.  I have to hand wind it onto a bobbin when I use it, which is not very often.  So I found a way to utilize (my word for 2014) it, while recycling an old thread spool most people would send to the trash.

You can always tell when a project consumes me.  I fail to take step-out photos.  This was the case on this project, because I spent most of the day working on it.  If it could go wrong with this project, it did. 

I began by taping one end of the tread to the table, added the top button, then the bottom button, then threaded each bead on the bottom.  Because the holes on some of the beads were so tiny, and the thread kept coming apart splitting, I had to take several breaks.  That was especially true when I tried to thread the thread (redundancy is my middle name) back through the same small holes I had trouble getting it through the first time.  Bleubeard knew how frustrated I was when I kept coming back upstairs to calm down.  I've been told petting your animal reduces stress!

While upstairs, I tore a piece of hand dyed fabric, found other fabric scraps and a label from a blouse, then sewed them in place, along with some rick rack from the thrift store. 

Scraps of hand dyed ribbon and rusted fabric were too small for most projects, but too good to throw in the trash, and perfect for this project.  It really pays to save every tiny fabric scrap, because you'll use it at some point.

I used several beads, and a portion of a deconstructed necklace to complete the project.

My friend Patty at Magpie's Nest sent this darling piece I attached to the end that she made from shrink plastic.  It is stamped on both sides.  She included it in a matchbox when we were partnered in an exchange a few years ago.  I'm sure she will approve.

I apologize for the background, but I've never had a good digital camera before, so the background was never a problem.  Now I think I need to build a photo booth.  But at least you can see the necklace is nearly finished.  All I need is a black cord and it will be ready for Kathy the next time she visits.

Today, which is Day 18 of 22, I recycled a thread spool, repurposed two buttons, used fabric scraps too small for a quiltlet, and used several old beads, taken from various necklaces.  I hope it inspires you to recycle something today, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glue art???

Today is Day 17, and I'm heading to the airport later.  Because I have limited time today, instead of sharing something recycled, I'm sharing something repurposed.

It's been at least two years since I bought this new high temp hot glue gun.  I am ashamed of the fact I've let it languish still unopened in its hard plastic shell for so long.  So today I'm going to create a tutorial for how to use this never-before-used glue gun and high temp glue for something other than what it was originally intended.

Supplies you will need:

Non-stick heat resistant craft mat (a must)
Alternately, a tempered glass craft mat that will accept hot glue
High temp glue gun (preferred over low temp)
High temp glue sticks (diameter to fit your glue gun)

Draw a design on your craft mat with your hot glue.  Make sure all your lines connect.  If not, your glue art will fall apart.

Allow to cool completely before removing from the craft mat.

Clean up and remove any "spider webs" created by the glue.   If stubborn webs don't come off with your fingernails, you can cut them with scissors.

Lay onto your substrate and spritz some of your handmade shimmering mists over the design.  When the mists are dry, remove your new stencil, wipe off, and pocket all the savings.  We all know how expensive those stencils can get.

For my second tutorial, I began with a small tea cup rubber stamp.

I inked it well with pigment ink, which just happened to coincide with the color of the rubber.  Any pigment ink will work, but the juicier the better for this project.

Lay out a glob of hot glue on your craft sheet slightly larger than the stamp.  While the glue is still hot, press your rubber stamp into the glue.  I have only done this with rubber, never clear acrylic stamps.

The globs on the back of this stamp is my "famous" Wacky Tac that I paint on stamps before I place them on a clear stamping block.  The Wacky Tac is repositionable, and when you remove the rubber from the stamping block, you don't have to clean the block, because the Wacky Tac stays in place.  Sometimes it stains your hands, though (grin).

When cool, remove the rubber from the glue impression.  Unfortunately, I rushed the process, because I needed to leave.  However, if done properly, which I have done in times past, you will get a perfect impression you can use as a polymer or air-dry clay mold.

Today is Day 17 of 22, and I repurposed hot glue to make two floral stencils and one tea cup mold.

It was also time to pick up my friend Sally from the airport.  I took a bouquet of cut tulips to her as a welcome home gift, too.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another assemblage

Sometimes I think I've found my calling when I rummage through my found objects and find things that make me happy.  Today is no exception.  And from all the comments I got on my first assemblage, you seem to like them, too.

This is my latest offering.

The very heavy metal pieces are ear tags for cattle.  A friend gave them to me when he cleaned out his garage one year.  I added a can lid, a washer, and a bolt, all things that were of no use to people who were getting rid of them.  Although the mirror is new, it went through the flood that consumed my basement a few years ago.  The glass bubbles and butterflies were new, but I needed something to add a bit of color to the piece.

I'm not sure how clever this title is, but if you don't like it, we'll blame it on Bleubeard.

Here is a side view that shows the size of the block I used and a bit of detail of the piece.

More detail shows the tags were either made by, or came from a serum company.

I love rust, and this assemblage is no exception.

Today is Day 16 and I created another assemblage I call "Forty Five (and Counting)."  I hope you enjoy it, because I hope to add assemblages to my repertoire, along with fabric and paper.