Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Smiles 108: More for Lexophiles

Although I'm starting to feel more like myself, about the only thing I have to smile about and share this week with Annie at A Stitch in Time, is a bit more humor for Lexophiles, or those who love words.

A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

A will is a dead giveaway.

A bicycle can't stand alone.  It is TWO tired.

A backward poet writes inverse.

A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.

Right before I got really, really sick, I managed

to clean up my ugly desk

that was making even WOYWWendy frown.

All I did to get this makeover, was turn my red rosin paper around, so the ugly part was on the other end.

That's all my smiles this week, folks.  Please join Annie for more smiles (many probably better than mine) as we start the weekend on a happy note.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nine days of my life I'll never get back!

I've started a new altered book.  It's for my art friend Kathy.  Kathy brought me a ton of "stuff" she didn't want after she cleaned up her craft room.  I've given a lot of it away, but she told me if I didn't want the stuff she left, to pitch it in the trash.  My heart can't do that.  I'm simply not built that way.  So, after sorting and choosing, I gave some of it to my neighbor Cheryl across the street who is a stamper and scrapbooker, I gave Scott several wonderful OLD books, I gave my next door neighbor some fru frus, and I kept a few art and mixed media books I will review one of these days, then give them away.

One thing I simply could NOT get rid of was a folder filled with many, many printed pages for an altered book I had heard Kathy talk about making.  So, I started in, but realized nothing was in order.  And, unlike how I prefer to work (which is in random order in an altered book), this book had to be created in order.

I know I should begin at the beginning, but I didn't even think about taking photos for the first five days.

So here I am after nine days.  The hardest nine days of my life, in fact.   First, I sorted and sorted and sorted, but even though I have British ancestry, I had no formal knowledge of the Kings and Queens of England.  I'm still sorting, but now I've found a few web sites that can help me figure out who comes next in this altered book.

I hadn't been thinking clearly when I gave my friend Scott all the books that were sewn.  So I had to go to my stash for a sewn book, the only rule you MUST observe when making one of these altered books.

I suspect you can tell I've removed at least half the pages that had originally been in this book, but even so, I may have to remove more as I progress through the pages. There will be NO niche in this one.

See my right sidebar if you want to make an altered book along with me.  Each of the lessons is self-explanatory, but if you want to skip the theory, there are lots of lessons on process.  As for products?  My belief is you should use what you have.

I actually started this spread first, while watching the NBA All Stars (basketball) Weekend.  Since I had very little glue, I decided to use two glazes that Kathy had given me.  I hoped to use as many of the things she left me as I possibly could.  The first glaze was brand new, never opened, and was the gorgeous maroon I used for the first layer.  However, after a day and a half, it was still not dry.  Then after three days, the glaze still wasn't dry.

I finally decided to forge ahead.  It was quite warm the day I laid down the second color, a yellowy beige, along with the images, so I took my book and images outside because it was actually warmer than in my craft room.  However, it was also quite windy, and the strips of Kings and Queens I had cut flew all over the place.  Consequently, I'm not completely sure I have these in order, although I did my best.

Note the cheesy scrapbook paper I used as a backdrop when I laid down the glaze.  I plan to use it.  Nothing Kathy gave me will get wasted in this book.

I realized I needed to reinforce the front cover, so I used some of my shimmering mists and colored some Tyvek. I found some large playing cards for the decorations, too.

I further reinforced the title page, also with colored Tyvek, and added smaller playing cards.  I found more Queens than Kings in my playing card stash, but I rationalized that Queens, although less of them, seemed to outlive all the Kings.

Kathy had printed out this mnemonic, so I colored it with my handmade mists and added it to the page.

I covered the copyright page with more playing cards, and some crowns I colored using acrylic paint.

Thankfully this spread was finally dry after five days.  I won't be using glaze as glue from now on.

Speaking of glue, all I had in my arsenal was white (wet) glue.  And it was the thick glue I really didn't want to use, but had to if I wanted to proceed.

These were the very first Kings, from 871 AD to

1066.  Since this page was so distorted from the glue I used, I tried to sew two pages together.

I didn't get the pages even, because I matched and sewed the first page to the second when I should have matched the second to the first.  Although I thought I had enough letters to spell the word "Norman," when I got to the final "n," I didn't have enough.  Golly, I was making a mess of this book, even though I had barely started.

I sewed the photo of King William I to the background and that was when I remembered I had that horrible double sided heart tape I had tried to use on another project.  This time I used it to hold my decoration in place.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.  Yes, after nine days, this is all I have to show for what I'm making.  Also, whenever I need to create a challenge entry, I have to move everything out of the way.  You may also note there are no, or very few embellishments.  I need to keep everything flat as long as possible, so I will go back at some point and add the 3-D elements later.

Again, I SO appreciate your comments and visits.  Thank you SO much for that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Altered Playing Card Challenge, Week 24: Washi Tape

I'm once again joining Claudine at Claudine's Art Corner, where for Week 24, the prompt was Washi Tape.  For once I can't say I don't have the supplies I need to complete this week's cards, because, as some of you remember (and maybe I was reading Claudine's mind), I recently made a few of my own tissue and faux washi tapes.

As always, I started with my two lightly gessoed playing cards

and got out my handmade and purchased washi tapes.

The purchased tapes for the second card seemed to have a theme, and one that was quite similar to one of Claudine's.  Although I had no dies, I had a butterfly I had been gifted by Annette (Voodoo Vixen).

So, I used the butterfly as a template to create the washi tape butterfly.  I cut a piece of thin cardboard, placed the butterfly over it, then drew the butterfly.  Next, I added washi tape, then cut the entire assembly out.

I considered various things I could stamp on the black and white card, but settled for the reindeer I purchased specifically for one of Claudine's challenges.  I figured it would be the last time I would use it, so might as well get some good out of it.  My hands were so cold, I didn't want to cut out the antlers, so I stamped directly on the washi tape.  I think it was a mistake, but I can live with it.

Not exactly what Claudine had in mind, but I still was quite happy with what I had created, considering all I had was the washi tape and playing cards to work with this week.  More than I normally have to complete her challenges!

Thanks as always, for the wonderful comments you leave.  They keep me going in this challenge which thankfully, has only THREE more weeks to go.

Monday, February 23, 2015

T Stands For Not Valentine's T

This is a weird title, I agree, but nothing else came to mind.  Let me take you through it, now.

Way back in January, when I was still feeling like myself, I treated Sally to cupcakes.  We are the type who prefer to do nice things all year long, rather than just on our birthdays.  So, this was my Happy NON-Birthday gift to her.

We were in the Small Business District, and headed for Sugar Sisters.

I can't tell a lie, though.  I had a coupon for buy one half dozen cupcakes, get one half dozen free.

I would have loved some scones or cookies, but the coupon was for cupcakes only.

It was late in the morning when we got there, and most of the goodies were already gone.

You can see from the store front windows, the show cases, and the banner why I had planned to use this for a Valentine related tea.

The table covers were cute, and themed nicely,

but the cupcakes were nearly all gone.

Sally had made her selection and had taken all the singles left in the case before I got a photo.

The lady made a point of saying these weren't like the ones you get at Dillons (a Kroger grocery chain in our area).  However, I was NOT as enthused about them as I should have been.

Could it be because I dropped the container on the way in the house, or could it be they just didn't measure up to what I thought a $3.00 (USD) cupcake should taste like!  I got three carrot cake, two chocolate, and one caramel swirl, which was white cake with white icing and a swirl of caramel on top.

Who puts candy pieces on carrot cake?  No one I know.  And who doesn't use cream cheese frosting on carrot cake?  Even I know how to make cream cheese frosting!

The chocolate cupcake was OK, but the frosting had an odd taste, like they used something old.  And those silly hard candy bits for decorations got old quickly.

I had taken photos of me eating one of the chocolate cupcakes and drinking coffee, but when I looked on both my SD card and in PhotoShop, where I keep all my digital photos, they were not there.  And because I didn't feel like creating a new post last week, and because the cupcakes were LONG gone, I had to wait till today for this NOT-Valentine T.

Today I'm having (and don't say a let-down, because it's not) a really delicious pumpkin spice English Muffin.  There is just the right amount of pumpkin and spices and these English Muffins are so soft and moist.  You really don't need anything on them, but I added a pad of butter so they didn't look so "naked."  

I know several people have mentioned fair trade coffee, so I was lucky when I found this tea in my stash.   Looks like there is fair trade tea, too.  The water for this tea is getting hot as I type.

As I was taking photos off my card, I noticed Squiggles had drug one of his Christmas carpet scratching pads into the dining room.  I have no idea what it is with BOTH those cats.  All their toys end up under the dining room table, and now so did this carpet.  How he got it in here is beyond me, but I'm sure either Bleubeard or I will ask him one of these days!

So what's in your cup today? Is it something special, or something familiar?  Is it art, whether traditional, hybrid, or digital?  Please share whatever makes you happy for T this Tuesday, as long as it contains something that holds or involves liquid.  And, as Bleubeard points out, your photos can be taken any time, not just on Tuesday, and not even this year, if that's your choice.

And before I forget, here's wishing my friends who live in the US, a wonderful Presidents Day. For all my other blogger friends, have a wonderful day, too!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

You asked for it, here it is AGAIN

With so many new followers and bloglovin' friends, I decided to show once again how I make my handmade shimmering mists.  This time, I also have a better camera.  Yes, I LOVE my new camera.

In case you don't remember, this is what my FIRST tutorial looked like.  I used the same photos when I updated the tutorial a few months later.  You can see why I decided to replace the tutorial since I have to replenish a bunch of these misters, anyway.

Supplies around the perimeter:
Luminart and another unmarked brand mica powders (the type that DOES NOT have a binder) your choice of colors

Supplies from back left clockwise:
Stick or spoon for placing powder in bottle
*Elmer's Glue-All or any good PVA glue
**Small refillable sprayers that have been washed and cleaned
Alternately, refill sprayers with same or similar powders as before
***Distilled water
*A note about Elmer's glue.  Any good PVA glue will work, since many who live in areas other than the US don't have access to this glue.  If using Elmer's be sure you use the Glue-All because their "school-glue" brand is watered down.

**A note about the refillable sprayer bottles.  I had some spray mists that I used, then cleaned them after they were empty.  Later, I found some after-bath sprays at the Dollar Tree (in US, where their slogan is "Everything's a Dollar")  that were in a package of two for $1.00.  I emptied the bath spray and used the bottles.  Much cheaper than going online to find these really pricy spray bottles.

***A note about distilled water.  Distilled water will last forever in these bottles, while tap water will cause the mists to get moldy over time.  If you plan to use the entire container immediately, you don't need distilled water.  However, if you plan to let this product sit for any length of time, as little as a week, in fact, distilled water is the way to go.

Now that we have all the essentials out of the way, decide what colors will go in each container.  If you are replenishing and know the exact color, use it.  If not, mixing colors adds to the fun of this experiment.

Whether replenishing or starting from scratch, make sure you place a small bead in the bottom of your container.  This will help keep the mixture agitated.

It's time to add distilled water to each of the spray bottles.  Don't fill over 3/4 of the way.  You'll need air in the bottles so the liquid can be shaken each time they are used.  As an aside, don't wear long loose sleeves as I did.  I knocked the water over in the container on the left and had to add more.  Thankfully, there was only water in this one.

Now it's time to add the glue.  No matter what size bottle I used, I always squeezed and counted to five.

Of course, you need to watch that the glue is going in the bottle, instead of concentrating on focusing your camera (grin). 

Using whatever is convenient for you (I wish I had some of those ice cream taster spoons for this step), add your mica powders.  Don't be shy.  Heap the color on.  You can't possibly get too much color, in my opinion.  This one is hard to judge, though because it's an interference color of pink and blue and I've never used this powder before.

Place the cap and mister on the container and shake, shake, shake.  Shake your booty oops, I mean container.  Keep shaking because it takes awhile for the mica powder and glue to assimilate into the distilled water.

Can you see the blue swirls as the color settles?  The nice thing about this is, once you've done all that shaking, the next time you use the container, which must be shaken each time you apply the product, all you need is a cursory shake or two.  I also noticed adding a bead to the bottle helped and everything mixed quicker and easier than with the one bottle I don't have a bead in.

I haven't made a bronze mist before, either.  This is exciting.  I can't wait to try my new colors.  And for those of you who have visited my blog for a long time, aren't you amazed you can actually read the words on the mica powders?  I can't say it enough how much I LOVE my nearly new camera.

My green on the right is new.  It is made from two greens and whatever little bit was left in the mister when I started.

The one on the left is a yellow green, and I use it ALL the time.  It's my go-to color.  I think it's my favorite, because it actually glows on my pages.  And that's saying something, because all the mists are hard to scan or photograph, as those of you who work with commercial mists, or mica powders in general, know.

I have replenished this color at least six times, and my friend Kathy made a big container of this color when I spent an art weekend with her late last year.  And you can see, I have enough of this color to make at least 50 more bottles.

But now it's time to finish filling these bottles and put all my mica powders away.  

I'll be testing these misters in the near future because today is another prep day.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  I'll be updating my Tutorials page with this post and photos you can actually see!  Thanks for dropping by.  You know how much I appreciate your visit.