Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A "Chunky Tag"

Here is my take on "Chunky Tag" art. So what do you think? I have to confess that I didn't come up with this idea. I saw it here on Sherry Cheever's blog and knew I had to try my hand at one. The base of this beauty is a 2x4 scrap of wood. I cut panels from pages of an old book. This one happened to be an old medical dictionary. A bit of color with distressed inks, a blending tool and then some stamping. The base was now ready to alter, which for me is the fun part.

Most of the metal embellishments are from Tim Holtz. If you find it hard to alter- start by collecting some of his products and I guarantee it will just happen. His line of products are made to alter anything and I mean anything. The sky and your imagination are the limits.

The picture on the front is a picture of my mother, my grandmother and me when we arrived from Spain in 1961. My father was in the Air Force and I was born in Madrid. This was my first trip to the U.S. and the first time my grandmother got to hold me. The little picture above was one of my first passport pictures. I guess I was getting a bit bored with the whole process. This grandmother is my father's mother and she died when I was only two, so this project holds a very special place in my heart. It also represents an accumulation of several firsts.

This is the top which I thought was going to look fabulous with a crystal knob on top, but when I tried the one I had it just didn't look right. Once I put the black one on, it was a perfect fit and tied in with all the stamping.

Last year I took several old family photos and had them copied onto good quality paper. I had several copies made and put them in a drawer where I store my clip art images. Now when I do my altering I can use family photos instead of people I don't have a clue who they are. It gives my project a more personal and meaningful touch. I rubbed a bit of distress ink on the image and then I cut an oval to fit the Ornate Plate opening. Remember how I don't throw anything out? Well the oval was cut out of the plastic packaging from an embossing folder and then I used Ranger's Glossy Accents to adhere the picture to the plastic. How is that for being resourceful! I purposely didn't add any brads to the holes on the plate. I liked the look and thought it would lay flatter without them.

I plan on making a few more of these this weekend. My DH cut several pieces (10 to be exact) of wood for me from scraps he had. Some are 4 inches tall and a few are 6. He also cut several pieces of fancy trim that he had down in his work shop and I painted them all black. They will look like little shelves on the tag when it is finished. I can't wait to get started.

Have fun and enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Fall, or is it?

Happy Fall! You wouldn't guess it from today's post would ya. This card is screaming summer. Maybe because I'm not ready to give into fall yet. Don't get me wrong, I actually love fall- the colors, the smells, and the rituals of apple orchards and carving pumpkins, but I also like warm weather and my flower gardens. In Michigan you certainly can't have both.

The butterfly embellishment from K&Company Poppy Seed was my inspiration and the rest of the card came together from there. I fell in love with the colors and the little bit of glitter on the wings. The designer paper is also from K&Company called Floral Dreams which was cut out with spellbinders scallop octagons and then I added purple rhinestones. It looks a bit busy in the picture but the rhinestones actually sparkle to add glamour. I went on a little shopping spree last Saturday and found this new border punch by EK Success called Palm. Don't you just love it.

As I had mentioned in my last post, I said I would provide the information for making the simple basket. You can find it here at Gina K. designs Stamp TV. It is actually called a Flower Basket. On another note, I spent some time today cleaning up my stamp studio. I get a little crazy when it starts to get cluttered and I find myself working in a 2x2 foot section on my desk. That's when I know it is time to start putting things in their place. Over the summer, I had purchased a few new cuttlebug embossing folders and it was time to label them and put them into the cuttlebug binders/carrying cases. Now when I am not sure exactly what background I want, I can flip through and see what catches my fancy. Tomorrow I need to get some spools of ribbon onto dowel clothes pins and into my antique candy jars. You can see how I store them by going to my October 2009 post. I have so many spools stacked on top of one another that if one goes, they are going to go over like bowling pins. Can't have that in a tidy room now can we. Well you know what I will be up to tomorrow. I hope you find something just as fun to do.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A very simple basket

A tisket a tasket, a very simple basket. One of our stamp club members showed us how to make this very easy basket that could be whipped up for any occasion. The basket base is made from a 8.5"x 8.5" piece of card stock and a 11"x 1" piece for the handle. A bit extra is needed to decorate it in designer paper and card stock for layering. Several of the members made Halloween themed baskets which turned out very cute and festive. I on the other hand went for my favorite colors. I haven't yet decided what I am going to fill the basket with. The way things have been getting away from me, I'm just glad I completed the basket part. The idea of what to fill it with will come to me in the middle of the night I am sure. I used Stampin Up Cool Caribbean card stock which is no longer available but is one of my absolute favorite colors and I was really bummed when they decided not to carry it as one of the new colors. The designer paper is from K& Company-Floral Dreams. The flower is handmade one using a SU border punch and scallop circle. It is a combination of one from Deb Valder and Daniela Dobson. If you click on their names it will take you right to the tutorials. The teal resin flowers are fillers for decorative jars. The package also contained clear yellow ones. I found them in the flower section at Meijer just by chance. You know one of those great finds that you really weren't looking for but couldn't pass up. The tag is also from SU which was in the spring mini occasions catalog called Kisses as one of the Sending Love Notes selections and the sentiment is from Hero Arts. I was very tempted to dress this basket up a bit more, but sometimes I end up going overboard and then realize less is more. I decided to stop while I still could.

We are still having some nice weather here in Michigan but the days are sure getting shorter. They call it our Indian Summer. I was able to sit out in the sun today and soak up a few rays while I watched the birds come in to fill their bellies. The humming birds probably won't be around much longer before they have to head down south for the warmer weather, but the other birds will stay all winter- as long as I remember to feed them. I really enjoy sitting outside in our backyard and I appreciate the serenity it brings me. I don't know how people can live in concrete jungles like downtown New York; I never could figure that one out. I guess I am sort of a country bumpkin. The older I get; the further I want to be from the hustle and bustle. Well I can't think of anything else to share with you today. I had to make birthday cards for two of my childhood friends today and I will share those with you in my next post. I will also try to find a tutorial for the basket.

Have fun and enjoy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The end of the earth...

Well this is where I have been for the last week and a half. We decided at the last minute to take a trip up to my parent's cottage in the Upper Peninsula. Yep, all the way to the end of the earth in the Keweenaw Peninsula- about as far north as you can go without a passport. The cottage is about 20 miles south of Copper Harbor on an inland lake called Gratiot Lake. It sits in a valley and is completely surrounded by trees. All the way around except where there are cottages and the cottages are only on the west and north shores- the rest is all nature. The weather was beautiful during the day but very chilly at night which had already started to turn a few trees into their beautiful fall colors. It made for some great evenings around a roaring bonfire and yes there were smores. I especially look forward to the evenings up there because of the stars. I swear when you walk out of the cottage is it like you just stepped into a planetarium. The stars can be seen from the opposite shore all the way behind you where the tree line is. Being so far from any town the sky is pitch black so there are thousands of stars to be seen. I love laying back in a chair and watching the satellites and shooting stars. I try to get up at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning just to look at the stars. The mornings were just as beautiful with the mist on the lake from the cooler nights and warmer water. You can see a few of those pictures further down.
It was my son-n-law Brandon's birthday so I tried to keep it masculine when I made his card. I used Tim Holtz'z paper Vintage Shabby and a few strips of scraps to add some color. I layered the designer paper onto chocolate card stock but it looks a bit more rusty in the picture- turned out better in person. I had been looking for small sentiment stamps and I found a bunch at the convention in Novi last month. The happy birthday is one of them.

Onto some more vacation pictures. You can click on any of the pictures to get a larger view. See how the fall colors are already starting. You can even see the reflection in the water. Two ducks just happened to get in the photo. My dad and taken the DH and I for a nice slow boat ride around the entire lake. The sun was shining and it made for a perfect ride.

This is just a picture to show you the trees up behind my parent's cottage. Like I said the lake sits down in the valley and when the trees are in their peak fall colors, this hill is breathtaking. The sun was just starting to set so it dabbled the trees with a bit of sunshine. Notice how calm the water is in the evening.

I went out on the dock with my coffee and camera one morning and took this picture of a fisherman getting ready to head out to do some fishing. The misty morning is a favorite of mine.

There are a few family of loons on the lake and they put the finishing touch on a beautiful evening around the fire with their calls. There is nothing more relaxing than staring at a bonfire and listening to the loons. If this piece of heaven wont take away the stress then nothing will.

I also caught this fellow at the foot of the dock looking for his breakfast. I sure am glad I didn't have my toes in the water that morning.

We spent an evening picking apples in an old abandon copper mining town called Central. We used to do that as kids and I really cherish the memory of being able to do that again with my dad. I'm sure my mom was somewhere looking down on us. Back in the 1850's it was a roaring town of about 1250 people. My grandmother would spend her summers up there in her younger days. There are a few of the old houses still standing (barely) but guys use them as hunting camps for deer and bear season. Yes I did see the tell tale poop piles of bears. I felt safer since we had the dog, until I turned around and saw him sitting up at the road next to the car waiting to get in- some watch dog!

After picking apples we headed through the woods to Eagle Harbor. This is the Eagle Harbor Light House out on the point on Lake Superior. You can just see the white light coming around in the tower.

And here is another wider angle picture as the red light is coming around. Breath taking, isn't it? The long grey building on the left side of the picture is a hotel and dining called The Lake Breeze. My mother and grandmother used to work there in the summers when my mother was a teenager. My grandmother was the cook and my mother waited tables and helped with the rooms. My grandfather died in 1950 when my mother was only 14 so my grandmother had to work and she did what she did best-cook. She sure made a great pasty.

I really hate the drive up there. It takes us 10 hours in good weather but I am always thankful I did when I get home. There is no place like it. Everything is richer and more colorful and life seems to move a bit slower up there. Just the place I needed to be.

Have fun and enjoy!