Friday, October 28, 2011

She Decided to Leap

As you can well imagine, one of my favorite classes at SPARK was the She Art class by Christy Tomlinson. Since I've taken a lot of classes from her already, I didn't exactly follow along. I just made my own girl with the supplies provided. 

My eldest is a very literal person and he commented that the sentiment was a poor choice because girls don't usually do a lot of leaping in a fancy dress and boots. As the discussion went on we decided that literal "she" statements just wouldn't work. For example,

" She was missing her face"

It was great having a nice deep canvas to work on. I'm too cheap so I usually collage on MDF, but then you don't get the gorgeous sides.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Butterfies and Friendship Card

This is a card I made with the Fall CupCards {to go} kit. 
The butterflies were especially fun, you just make a roll out of a strip of fabric, placing the ends at the very back, and then tie it tightly in the center with ribbon. Then fluff out each wing and secure with glue dots. The ribbon provides both the body and the antennae when you cut the ends on a thin diagonal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reverse Applique Amy Tan Style

Hello friends!

Here's another project from my creative get away weekend.

I decided to attend SPARK the event when I heard Amy Tan was teaching. She's the coolest. I first heard of her way back when in Glamour (?) magazine when Cindy Crawford was seen leaving a gym wearing one of her hand embroidered tank tops.

Ever since, I've always noticed her work and have been a huge fan of hers. So imagine my excitement when she came out with a line for American Crafts, Amy Tangerine.

Now I can be cool too *grin*

This is what I made in her class. I decided my girls didn't need a big image across them so I added my star to the hip. I really like the placement.

Ever try to take a picture of your own hip? It's odd to say the least. My boys were all otherwise engaged so I winged it. You can get the gist, right?

Reverse applique is a really relaxing craft. I will definitely be doing it more in the future.

Anyhow... I love Amy Tan! I totally dorked out with excitement when I stood near her on the first day and I did more then a little gushing when we actually spoke. It certainly was a highlight.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Love Stump: My 1st Hand Carved Stamp

This weekend I was at Spark the event and our first class was with April Meeker and we learned how to carve stamps. I was really nervous about this class as I was imagining an unintended trip to the emergency room for stitches as I'm a huge klutz. Turns out I was worried for nothing and it was my very favorite class simply because this is a technique I can see using at least weekly in my crafting.

Here's the stamp I carved:

I couldn't wait to get it inky this morning and see how it looks on different materials. So I made

Note Cards:

Ornaments (Denim!)


Yeah... I'm kinda crushin' on that stamp.

In case you're scratching your head and wondering about all the unusual simplicity displayed here; I'm getting ready for a craft fair so I'm trying to pare my usual style down to manageable projects. It's fun mocking-up my ideas and deciding which ones to run with and which don't make the grade. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Be Thankful For Every Moment

My friend Mary and I are off to Spark the Event for the next few days making art and spending time together. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this time with her, nurturing our creativity and I am thankful to my awesome husband and kids for letting me slip away like this.

I made this for Mary

She just sparkles with beauty and life so I added lots and lots of jewels

And here's how I wrapped it. I think pattern paper is my favorite wrapping right now. All I added was some lace, a doily and a flower and it came together really nicely.

I won't be on my computer for the next few days so I hope you all have a wonderful weekend -
make something :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cake #39: Halloween Cakes, Candy and More

I thought I'd share with you some old and some new ideas for Halloween Goodies.
Every year the boys and I make Haunted Hershey Bar Houses. Two years ago I made a video tutorial that takes you through the incredibly easy process:


And last year our favorite scary dessert was Skull Cake with (jello) Blood Worms

This year my energy level is very low - and it's still a week before Halloween - so I opted for one of my favorite kid-friendly baking tricks...

Brownie Topped Cupcakes.

Now we all know how cute this can look with hearts and stencils:

But brownies also carve really well, for coffins and such, and make terrific dirt.

I let my youngest at it, giving him some 24 cupcakes, a pan of brownies, candy, frosting,  candy melts and a "bones" molding tray and he had a blast. I think these are pretty self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, please ask.

Tip: To make skull shaped cupcakes roll up two balls of tin foil or use marbles

Who needs the cupcakes, this one is all brownie!

This one is rather literal, there is a skeleton inside the brownie coffin

Barbie Hand!

Um... yeah... I had to make quite a few of these too. It was so fun just goofing around and making memories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scrabble Tile Wall Art

I know everyone has seen this project done dozens of times but I still think it's cute so I made one for my sewing space. Huge thanks to my talented friend Rachael who's gorgeous framed scrabble art inspired this piece.

This project was made on a canvas board and I intended to frame it, but our old clipboard, well worn and covered in crayon and pencil scribbles has been with us for so long that it seemed like the perfect setting. 

The various punchinella I used with modeling paste to create the raised patterns and the music sheets are from Gauche Alchemy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Homemade Two-Step Stamps from Stencil or Free-Hand

I 'm thrilled to be able to share with you a second tutorial for Two-Step Stamps that I made for Balzer Designs. This one shows you how you can use stencils for your image as well as free-hand drawings. Click here for the first two-step stamp post, the original tutorial has different images and ideas.

The idea to make simple foam stamps with matching acrylic style doodle outlines came to me while I was drooling over Claudine Hellmuth’s Creative Layers stamps ( gorgeous!) and shortly afterwards I saw a great tutorial on the Craftzine blog for ‘no carve acrylic style stamps’ made with plexiglass and silicone.

I combined the two ideas and came up with my own DIY Two-Step Stamps.

What you’ll need is plexiglass, silicone caulking, basic craft tools and a stencil (optional)

Take your plexiglass, decide on the size of base you want to cut and then score it several times with an craft blade. Next, hold the scored-line against the edge of your table and WHACK IT really hard. For my second batch I bought thinner plexiglass then suggested and it snapped with ease while still being rigid enough to stamp with.

You'll need two plexiglass bases for each layered stamp set; one for the foam stamp, one for the silicone.

To Make a Stamp Set Using a Stencil:

Choose a stencil with an image that fits your base. I got this set at the Dollar Store as it has great stamp-style images

Trace the stencil onto your sticky back foam and cut out. Trim as close to the image as you like, I prefer to leave a little space around the edges. “5: Trace and Cut Out:”

Attach foam to base. If using sticky-backed foam, peel the paper backing off and stick it on the plexiglass. If you’re using the thicker foam, glue it to the plexiglass with Aleene’s Tacky Glue and let it dry overnight.  

For the silicone step, trace your stenciled image onto scrap paper and place the matching-size base over top. Trace the pattern in silicone. Let dry over night. The type of silicone I use says, “shower ready in three hours” but I let it dry longer.

Tip: If you’ve tested your foam stamp on paper, don't lay your plexiglass over your stamped image for the silicone step as it'll come out backwards because your outlining the mirror image. I did... not good.

Now have fun stamping. Brush paint on the foam stamps and then once it's dry use paint or ink on the outline stamp. I love using Staz-On ink with the silicone stamps.

To Make a Stamp Set Using Your Own Hand Drawn Image:

The method for hand-drawn layered stamps is basically the same but instead of copying the stencil you draw your own image and transfer it to the paper side of your sticky-backed foam.

And here is how it all comes together in my ‘Out of the Journal’ finished piece:

And here is another project I made with the banner stamp:

(click HERE for more pics of this project)

Tips and Trouble Shooting:

* Ink goes on to the silicone better if you rub fine sand paper over it very gently.

* Wash these carefully - they aren’t as durable as manufactured stamps.

* I’ve had a few silicone pieces come loose when rinsing. It seems to occur where my line of silicone was too narrow. But, when I’ve let them air dry they reattached.

* Repairs or additions to your image can be made at any time, just add more silicone.

* To make three-step stamps create your foam background layer and silicone outline. Then make a third layer of designs to fill the outline. For example, with the banner I could make a layer to add stripes or polka dots to each pennant.

* Choose versatile shapes and make multiple silicone toppers. A rectangle could have a matching high rise layer but also serve as a text block (remember to mirror your writing so it’ll be oriented correctly when stamped), bricks, a border design, presents etc.

Hope you try making these, they're a lot of fun and the possibilities really are endless.

Warmly, Nicole

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