Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring Renewal

I know, Valentines and Easter went by and I neglected to post. Much happened. Some good, some bad and some sad.

First, my lovely Mac finally went belly up. But I managed to save my files and now have a new PC. So, it has taken some time to figure the new computer out. It is much like buying a new car, the dash is reordered and you keep reaching for the gear shifter (automatic) in the wrong spot. I have shelved the old Mac in hopes of getting a new Video Card, since it had all my licensed and very expensive software and quite frankly, still ran pretty well after 4 years of college (2007). The new laptop is fine, I have nothing against PCs, but admit not too fond of Windows 7 (yeah, I said it). Not to mention again, that expensive graphic design and photo software that I no longer qualify for the student discount for.

Shortly after the Mac broke, I received a very sad phone call. My brother died on Valentine's day from complications due to his Type I Diabetes. He was 32 and a web developer in Virginia. There was an age gap when we were kids, but as we got older, we grew closer. It is hard to explain, but it was more than a sibling dying, I held him and took care of him as a baby and as a teen, was his babysitter and nanny. Watching him graduate from high school.... Sorry for the run on sentence.

The biggest thing about my brother was his humor and strength. He was diagnosed as a young teen and had a very difficult time with it. He never married, or had children because his health was always so delicate. Even still, he touched so many people, was generous and always had a smile, or a joke for the world. His life taught me much about HOW to live and what is truly important. It really is about who we love and how we love, not about how much monetary or material success we try to achieve.

There was some good as well. I also got a new camera recently. I went from a Nikon to a Canon, and the "new car" analogy works there as well. Above is one of the first images I took. Trying out all the features and the two lenses, I did something simple.

Tulips are my favorite flower. I like that they are still "alive" in the vase. For a few days, I get to watch them open and close and seek out the light. They burst from the ground, seemingly dead, tired brown bulbs, that wake each Spring with a burst of fresh green and satin petals. They shine and smile and say Life Goes On. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Valentine's Altered Canvas

How do you get 11 photos in a 12 x 12 inch space? Easy! Frame everything!

I have a habit of collecting bits and pieces of this and that. Tiny brass doll house frames, old 35mm slide mounts, chipboard, photo mats, ribbon and the finished piece even has a framed fortune cookie paper fortune above the paper "love".

I started by picking a color scheme, and then pulling everything but the kitchen sink. Then I set about altering nearly everything. The canvas was painted black and then a Ranger gold metallic paint dauber was brushed along the top outside edge. The Prima paper flowers were sponged with ink because they were too pink before a bit of Tim Holtz' Distress Ink in Vintage Photo (used that technique ALOT in this project).

The slides, the photo mat and the cut out were stamped in CTMH Bamboo with a paisley Tim Holtz background stamp, the heart is the same stamp in Ranger's Cranberry ink. Everything got sponged with Vintage Photo ink. Overstamped the mat with a script stamp, the slides with some words from various Inkadinkadoo stamps.

The chipboard and Grungeboard wings were first colored with Ranger's gold metallic dauber paint. The Believe got a second coat in a pouncing motion to make it look like beaten brass.With a bit of glue and gold foil, I added some sparkle to the Love, the edges of the heart and most of the wings.

I found some brass filigree flowers in a jewelry store, these are attached with tiny brass screws - didn't realize they made screws that small.

Photos were taken by friends over the past 18 months, converted all of them to black and white and shrank them to fit various frames, slides and the film strip. Ribbons, trim and even a few red rhinestones finish off the piece. 

I created the word Love by using Cricut Craft Room and my Classic Font cartridge. It allowed me to weld the letters together, and slant the word, even add a swirl to the bottom of the L - that later got covered...oh well.

The keys were sticking to a simple color palette: black, red, ivory and gold. ALL metallic elements are brass or gold. All the photos are black and white, making even really small ones (tiniest is .75 x 1 inch) "readable" - they are also of the same subjects and in similar pose. Instead of journaling, I took red ink and stamped the month the photo was taken.

We're both divorced and over the past 18 months, he's taught me to believe in Love again. Happy Valentine's Day Love!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tea Time Birthday

My sweetheart's little girl turns 8 soon. She is into "tea parties" and her father lovingly goes along with this past time. As a birthday gift, I am making some tea sandwiches (egg salad, chicken salad), scones and mini quiches, perhaps a few mini tarts. I also made a couple of tiny tea themed crafts.

These tiny tea lights are made from printed scrapbook paper and some embellishments. The tea lights I chose come in a tin holder. Obviously, you would not leave one of these burning unattended. They were quite simple and easy to do.

Measure your tea light. I cut a strip 1.5 inches wide and scored .5 inches from the top edge and folded this down, so that the "inside of the cup" is printed. Rolled and glued around the tea light. The "saucer" is a 2.5 inch circle. I cut a ring from chip board about .25 inches thick and 2.25 inches in diameter and used this to emboss the rim of the saucer for a bit more dimension.
The handle is a 1 inch wide strip, folded in thirds and glued to create a slightly wider than .25 inches. Adhered first inside the cup, curled and adhered to the bottom, then trimmed. Adhere the tea cup to the center of your saucer.

I bit of velvet ribbon bands the cup. I made a simple ribbon bow, a paper flower with a half pearl center. The chipboard crown is from an old scrapbook embellishment. You could use a sticker or charm or just leave it as is. You could use a slip of paper as a place card as well. Each teacup used just a 6 x 8 inch piece of paper, so you could make many of these for a luncheon!

I found tiny flat wooden coffee stirrers and with some very tiny stamps, put "happy birthday" and a tiny daisy flower to decorate the tops of the stirrers. There will just be 4 of us for tea, so stamping a half dozen stirrers was not a daunting task.

For her gift, I am making a felted tea cozy that "folds" over the teapot. I also made a simple banner with her name on it - later a decoration for her room. I found some cute "faux" crystals to hang.

This teacup was made from a bit of cardboard tubing, some chipboard for handle and saucer. Just a larger version of the tea light tea cups and filled with tissue and hard toffees.

I encourage everyone during Winter's bleak days to brighten them with a spot of tea!