Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's HOT

It is freakin' hot here! The high today was 86. It's after midnight and it's 73 degrees out and the humidity is 83%. Last night's low was only 68. The forecast for tomorrow is 90 by noon. We have the air conditioning off and the fans blowing. It's tolerable, but not optimal.

In order for me to feel cooler, I wanted to look at a nice refreshing picture. Here is one of John and I in 2003. We were on a boat in the Caribbean getting ready to snorkel off the coast of Cancun. Doesn't that water look fantastic? Oh, it was! Don't you feel cooler now? I know I do.

Oh get this: San Diego Gas & Electric has asked everyone to set their air conditioning to 78 in order to save energy and avoid blackouts due to overconsumption of power on the grid. Let me just say that I think that is a bunch of horse *&!#. They did this to us (California) about 5 years ago and they had rolling blackouts. The actually turned off all the power in huge areas for a period of 1-4 hours at a time in order for the grid to save power. They said it kept the State from shorting out or losing power or some stupid thing. Guess what happened after all that happy crap? They raised our rates! Big time!! I believe they, SDG&E, PG&E and oh hell, what is the other one...... anyways, they're all in cahoots to extort money from the people. Simple as that. Hey guys, remember Enron? hehehe The heat is getting to me. I'm getting cranky. I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Entry for Kim's CJ

These are my pages for Kim's circle journal. I hope by the time she reads this blog entry, she has received her CJ because her CJ is awesome!!

Kim's instructions were to do one side of this 4x4 coaster into an art doll of ourselves and to tell some stuff about us. I'm rather tickled with the art doll I made. The body parts are stamped with a stamp from Grand Adventures. It is called the Spirit Doll stamp. This doll was made with the small spirit doll. I also have the large spirit doll stamp. I think this doll really looks like me. If you know me, don't you agree? Well, ok, maybe my head isn't that HUGE but the rest of my body is pretty accurate.

The flip side of the 4x4 coaster was to be filled up with quips of our simple treasures. I had a hard time getting started, but once I got going, I had to pare down the list. I think we get so used to some daily things in our life that we don't realize they really are treasures. I'm not exactly thrilled with my layout on this side of the coaster, but since I was the last one to make her pages, I didn't want to copy others' layouts. They're all so awesome. It's tough to follow such great crafters. You wanna know who they are? Ok, if they have a blog, here they are: Ethel, Angie, Lisa, Clarissa and Kim. So after I finished up Kim's CJ, I posted a picture of my Mini Me on the SS and now I'm doing a Virtual Swap. A virtual swap is where the people who want to do the project, in this case, make a Mini Me of themselves, the let me know via email or PM and I snail mail them some images. Once they've completed their Mini Me, all they have to do is post it in the gallery on the Stamp Shack. It's just fun to see how each person interprets the project.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wool beads from roving

This project has been on my mind ever since Julie told me about it. She saw it in a magazine and we knew we had to try it. Ok, so here's what it is. It's wool beads from roving. Roving is wool from the animal - sheep, goat, camel, dog - that hasn't been spun into yarn. This first picture is a bunch of different kinds of roving that my friend, Cindy gave me. It's all been carded (cleaned up) and twisted into the hank. I don't know if that's the technical term, but that's what I call it. Most of these hanks have been dyed. Some with kool-aid (yes!) and some with natural dyes. I'm anxious to try them all. Ok, so here's what you need to get started making these beads. You need the roving of course and believe me, you don't need very much of it to get going. All this roving will make a truckload of beads or wood projects. Next thing you need are the felting needles. I got 3 needles for $5 at the quilt show, but you can also get them from the Heart to Hand website. In the close up picture, can you see the end of the needle by the VERY SHARP point? Click the picture to see it bigger. See how the needle shaft is barbed? You can't feel it, but it is cut out so that when you put the needle into the roving, it packs it in. More details coming up on that. Ok, so to get started on a bead, get yourself a hank of roving. In the first picture, you can see I used a fairly small amount of the roving. Oh, his pretty roving has some sparkly stuff it in. Way cool. So, ok, you got our bit of roving, now what? You go to the kitchen or bathoom and run some hot water. Once it's hot, take your fluff of roving and put it in the hot water. You know what happens to a wool sweater or pants when you put them in the washer? Uh huh, it shrinks! That's exactly what we want here. To your now wet roving fluff addt a tiny bit of soap. Just use your liquid hand soap, it's fine. Now start rolling the fluff between your hands in your palms and do it EASY! Don't press hardly at all. It will just start to bind up roll up by itself. As the water runs out between your hands, then put the fluff in the water again. You're going to do this a lot and it's going to take a long time, maybe 5 minutes to make one bead. You need to roll out all the water from the bead. You'll notice that the bead will get tighter and tighter as you roll it between your palms and as you get nearer the end, you can roll it a little harder. The reason you don't want to roll hard initially is that the roving will not bind up in a ball, it will just bind to the adjoining fibers and be flat. That didn't come out right. It's hard to explain. Just don't rub too hard is all. Once your bead is to the firmness of your liking and the water is all out, you set it aside to dry. Once it's dry, you can play with it a bit. Since this was my first bead, I though I'd just go for it. I got a teensy bit of green roving and balled it up (dry) and set it on the round bead. I got my felting needle out and started poking the green roving into the bead. This took awhile since I didn't know what I was doing, but I quickly got the gist of it. You poke and poke until you get the shape you want and the roving is poked down into the bead and even with the surface of the bead. So as you can see, I added more green and some red roving dots. Those little red dots took hardly any roving at all. If you try this, you'll be surprised how far your roving will go. Then I took some cotton thread and added some seed beads. I buried the ends of the thread inside the bead. Oh, I did't use the felting needle to add the beads, I used a regular hand sewing needle. This little bead was made with a much smaller hunk of roving. It is very tight and I love how the variegated colors came out on this bead. According to the article in the magazine, you can embellish these beads with various items: feathers, glass beads, wooden beads, etc., just let your imagination run wild. I'm going to find the magazine with the beading article in it and edit this post. Come back and see. You know you want to.....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sneak Peek

I've been working on a new project type. I've caught the canvas bug from Julie. Ever since we made that quick Somerset project here and then took the class at Stamping Details, I feel like I want to keep making this stuff.

These aren't done on canvas, but on 5x7 chipboard. I just felt like painting in pinks and beiges one day. I've been taking it slowly and adding one thing at a time until it feels right. These are three different projects. Yes, it's the same white fence. I still have a piece or two left, so you may even see it again!

I'll post these projects as I finish them. I just wanted you to know I have been working on SOMEthing.

Happy Birthday to Tony

Last Friday was Tony's birthday. Tony is my son and he just turned 27. For his present, I contributed towards a 30gb Zune player. It plays tv shows, music and a bunch of other nonsense. Oh ok it's not nonsense. That generation sure loves their gadgets, don't they? This is his birthday card this year. I started out with plain white cardstock and used my Adirondack color wash spray inks to make the background. I love Fall colors, don't you? I used some of the background paper to stamp the Paula Best stamps on and emboss in Pirate Gold EP. I matted them on black. Then I took another scrap of the background paper, and covered it with the olive green radiant rain H2o's. It's very sparkly. I adhered the black paper with the stamped images to the green background and then ran my gold pen around the edges. I added some adhesive mesh to the background and some gold peel-off's to the corners. I stamped the justjohanna sentiment to black cardstock and then edged it in gold. I used some gold 22 gauge wire and bent it into swirlys on the ends and attached it to the card and then attached the sentiment on top. I really liked making this background paper. It's not as fancy as Julie's but I like it just the same.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

OMG it was so hot today

I got up this morning around 7 and it was nice outside. Nice and cool. So I went back to bed until 9. lol It was getting hot by 9, so I closed all the windows and turned down the AC. I started chores and it wasn't cool enough, so I turned the AC down again. By the time I was done monkeying with it, I had it running at 68. I know, I know, who needs it that cool? But you aren't here and it was freaking hot upstairs in the craft lounge. Besides, I don't keep the AC that low every day. Oh, and I'm paying the bills, so there. Tony came over today. He had gone to the beach in the morning. Said the water was perfect, but the sun was too hot. Was home by noon. He came over and John and I took him out to dinner for his birthday. I am having a hard time with my baby being 27. 27???! That is too close to 30. How can he be 27 when I'm still 39???? Actually, I'll be 50 this year, but don't tell anyone. We went to dinner to the Thai place in restaurant row. It was very good. My first Thai dinner. I liked it and would definitely go there again. I'm working on some very different art (for me). I'll be posting it in a day or two. I know I've been just putting down words in this blog and that's boring, so pictures coming soon, I promise. See you tomorrow, sports fans.

I'm just an old softie

I was really tired after the Scrapbook Exp yesterday, so I didn't do much but watch tv and then I went to bed early. I must've been in a sappy mood because I watched a couple of romantic comedies. First, I watched "Just Like Heaven" with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. I just love Reese Witherspoon and will watch anything she is in. She was her usual cute self in this one and I loved the character she played. She was a doctor who was injured and put into a coma from an auto accident and the landscape architect, Mark Ruffalo, moved into her apartment. Reese is a ghost who communicates with Mark. Sounds hokey, but it was really nice. This movie was reminiscent of "City of Angels" with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. Same type of movie really. The next movie I watched was "The Break-Up" with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn. When this movie came out, I though I'd never watch it, but it was pretty good. I especially liked the ending. I was glad it didn't turn into "The War of the Roses". I like both of these actors and they did a pretty nice job in this movie. It's one of those movies where you can just chill and watch. Not much thinking to do, just enjoy. This movie also had one of my other favorite actors in it, Vincent D'Onofrio, who played one of Vince Vaughn's brothers. He's on Law & Order right now and that's the main reason I watch that show. So I got my dose of romantic movies in. Maybe I watched them because John was off camping with his boy scout troop this weekend. I guess I missed him.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Scrapbook Expo

Pam and I went to the Scrapbook Expo in San Diego today. It was superb. We started our day with a class. We took a Digital Scrapbooking class. He was a great teacher and gave us a great overview of Photoshop Elements to add photos and elements digitally to make a scrapbook. He was quite funny and reminded me of Hal Sparks a lot. I'm thinking of doing my scrapbooking digitally. We'll see. Oh, this guy, Gabriel was his name, was from Epson, so he and his assistant had a few of their large format printers there. The 12x12 size. They are so cool. They run about $400 and take, get ready for this, 11 ink cartridges! Before you say "holy crap", those cartridges run about $8-9 each. Ok, now you can say it. We saw examples of the printing and it was extremely nice. So, on to the good part - the shopping! I ended up leaving about 200 bucks there. I should've been with Julie, Heather and Tami. I would've spent a lot less! :) Pam got a bunch of stuff, including a Zutter binding system. Woo hoo! I got a couple of the new Basic Grey 6x6 packs, Recess and Mellow. They are so cool. I got a bunch of Crate Paper, too. I got some really cool peel-offs from this one booth. They are very similar to the ones I used in the Magenta class. Oh, and THEN I got some really cool vintage stuff from Crafty Secrets. Check out that site for sure! I got some cotton scraps in a Halloween designs and a bunch of other stuff that is just OH SO CUTE! Stay tuned, they will be showing up on my cards very soon. On the way home, Pam and I went to Old Town for Mexican food. We were going to go to the Old Town Mexican Cafe, but the wait was over 30 minutes, so we walked cross the street to Fred's Mexican Cafe. It was so delicious! Better than the OTMC. That was our day. Now I'm going to go put his stuff away. Oh btw, I did not buy any stamps!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I got an award!

Wow, what a surprise and an honor! I've been awarded the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award by my gal pals, Jennifer and Kim. How cool is that? It's so neat that hey thinks my blog rocks. Well, their blogs rocks, too! Now it's up to me to nominate five chicks whose blogs rock. Here we go in no particular order....
  • Julie's blog, The Land of Lost Luggage. If her blog isn't on your feed list, it should be. Her art is eclectic and fun. I love how she mixes all types of mediums and papers. She is inspirational, funny and she is also a great friend. I wonder if she likes being called a chick? Oh geez, I see she's already been nominated. Well, I nominate her again because Julie rocks big time.
  • Pam's blog, Stamping with Serendipity. This gal just knows how to make beautiful cards. She often has an inspirational quote at the end of her posts. I look forward to that. I find Pam to be a positive influence in the cardmaking world.
  • Emilia. Oh, my, you really need to check out Emilia's blog. Emilia is from Taiwan and she makes the most interesting cards. She uses rubber stamps in ways I've never seen and she makes it so much fun to visit her blog. I've just checked some other blog posters, and I see that fun Emilia has already been nominated, but I'm nominating her again because she rocks!
  • If she hasn't been nominated yet, I'd be surprised. Asela's blog definitely rocks. Check it out and check out her coloring. She does awesome art with her Prismas. She does really cool tutorials, too. Oh, and did I mention she designs stamps for a major stamp company? Yes, she rocks.
  • It seems that most of the rockin' girls I'd want to nominate have already been nominated, so my last post will be unconventional. I can't really nominating this blog, but just wanted you to try it. Go check out PsychoKitty. You really must add this blog to your feed list. This blog is written by Max, a very sassy black and white kitty with a ton of attitude. He rocks, but he's a boy, so no award, Max. Sorry. You still rock, though. Stinky Goodness for you and if you want to share with Buddah, that's ok with me.
P.S. All this talk about blog feeds... Check out Julie's post about blog feeds. It's the coolest thing around!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Views in Encinitas, CA

I felt like taking some pictures today, so after I visited with Mom for her birthday, I took a walk up to the bluff. The bluff is only about 100 feet from the driveway. Lucky, huh? This first picture is a view looking NW. The weather was so nice and warm and a nice breeze was blowing. There were lots of surfers out, but the waves weren't too big. I saw quite a few surfers at Swami's. This guy was surfing right off where I was standing, at Boneyard. That's "J" Street, for you non-locals. Know why the beach is called Boneyard? Because back in the 70's, it was taken over by nudists. Oh my! I remember days when the Sheriffs used to "patrol" the bluffs. From what? The nudists? Ha! Down the street from Mom's are these houses. Yes, they are houses and people live in them. They are the famous boat houses, built by Miles Kellogg in the 1920's. My family has lived on Third Street since 1962 or something like that, so the boat houses were just something we saw each day when we walked to school. They do stop traffic and they are cool to look at, don't you think?
Next stop is "The Dip". This is further up Third Street, right alongside Moonlight Beach. This is a picture I took looking north down The Dip. The street at the bottom is "B" Street and if you were to turn left onto "B" street, you'd run right into the water. My sister and I used to ride our bikes up and down The Dip. Yeah, that was really fun. We just hoped we didn't wipe out down at the bottom!
That concludes your tour of Encinitas for today.

Mom's Birthday Present

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

I've been working on this canvas for about 5 days now, and after a consultation with my muse, this is what I came up with and here's how I did it.

I started out with a 9x12 canvas and painted it my favorite colors, orange, yellow and hot pink. No rhyme or reason to the color placement, I was just being "free". I'm really practicing at being "free" with my art. Ok, so after the paint dried, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with it. So I went blurfing. You know what blurfing is, right? It's BLog sURFING. I started with my favorite point, The Land of Lost Luggage. Julie had an entry there and it mentioned another blog with a lot of tutorials/techniques, so of course I went there. It's called ArtsyMama. Oh. My. Gawd! Calm down, Debbie. Breathe. Ok, I'm better now. On there, I found instructions for making ribbon flowers, so I thought I'd try that. I got out my wire ribbon and just played with it, being careful not to be perfect. So I made the flowers you see here.

Then I wanted to put something fun in the middle of the flowers and I thought since it was for Mom, I'd put pictures, but which ones? I went back on my hard drive and found the old, old (ok, not THAT old!) pictures of me, my sister and then one of our parents. I resized the pictures in PhotoShop Elements into a 3/4" circle, cut them out and glued them to buttons. BTW, I'm the one on the upper right and my sister is in the middle. I attached the buttons to the silk flowers with hot glue. Then I got some of the cool measuring tape ribbon I got up at the Fabric Barn in Long Beach. (That place is FABulous!) I took a scrap of white fencing and hot glued it to the bottom. The fence is not flat. It is wavy. Not all parts are glued down. It bows in and out. Get it? I had a tough time with the leaves, but my muse directed me to this final product and I love it. I added wire around the leaf areas for something 3D, and then strung the words on the same wire and hot glued it down. Oh, and I drew a thin black line around the edge.

That's it. I thought this was really fun to do, so I'm sure I'll be doing more.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Somerset Project

If you read my blog, you probably read Julie's blog, and if you do, you probably saw her project that we did in between our classes down at Stamping Details last weekend. Isn't it cool? When she came over that morning, she says we're going to have "class". I thought, OMG what are we going to make? Well, she gets out the current issue of Somerset magazine and shows me this project in there. I gasp. I CANNOT make that! She says, "we aren't going to make it exactly like that, we're going to interpret it our way and make it." Gasp again! She gets out this roll of HVAC metal tape and we stick it to our chipboard pieces. I'm beginning to like this... Then she says we have to write on it. Gasp AGAIN! Write on it?? What am I going to write about? She says "just some mumbo jumbo stuff", so ok, I start writing about how I used to have purple, green and yellow walls in my living room. I finish that and then we rubbed acrylic paints into the writing on the metal tape. Julie wiped off most of the residual, but I left mine on for some color. Then we started going through miscellaneous embellishments and gluing them on. I love the bird she drew on her piece. I took one of the copies of the old postcards I have and adhered it to a piece of paper that I aged with paints. You can see the rest of the junk, um I mean treasures, I put on it. The embellishments have nothing to do with the writing. If I had been experienced I may have tied the background with the embellishments, but oh well. I'm really liking this weird art. I say weird art because it's not my usual style. I like the freedom allowed in it. Mix and match, using all these unusual products, paints, glue, transfer mediums. I see all kinds of opportunities now. Thanks for making me stretch, Julie.

My interpretation

Johanna posted a sketch for August on her blog, and this is my interpretation of the sketch. I'm in love with the Basic Grey "Infuse" collection at the moment. (See the cupcake card below.) For the stamps, I used all justjohanna stamps. I used the medium scallop stamped on the pinky/orange cardstock, then cut out the circle with my punch. Then punched out a larger scallop circle with another punch and embellished it with pen. Sentiment was placed using my stamp-a-ma-jig. TFL.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's ART

Here is one of the panels I made at the class that Julie and I took at Stamping Details in Poway last weekend. It was a fantastic class. I really had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h myself to do this class, and thank you, Julie, for suggesting this class. This piece is growing on me. I really do love the bright orangy-red colors that I painted the background. This class was structured around using various types of transfer mediums. I used a transparent gel on the sun and a more opaque gel on the rest of the pictures at the bottom right. The transferes were done using Xerox copies of photos and placing the ink side of the copies into the transfer medium. After leaving it for 24-48 hours, you put water on the back of the paper copy and rub off the paper, leaving only the transferred image in the medium. After that dried, we painted over the image if we wanted to and touched up the background if we wanted. I stamped some words and the justjohanna eiffel tower onto the background. I added a Lil Davis leather frame to the front of the postcard and figured I was done.

I did start a second canvas, but I'm not finished with it yet. I guess you'll have to wait for that one. I've also started another one on my own and it's nearly finished. I'll post that one soon, too.

Thanks for looking at my art.

It's Fri-Cake Day

I used to be a baker. Well, not as a profession, but as a Mom whose kid loved cupcakes and cakes. I did take a cake decorating class at Lee Ward's. Remember that store? It was the pre-cursor to Michael's. Anyways.... I took that class and then I did cake decorating for awhile. Again, not professionally, but for friends and family. I've done a few wedding cakes and lots of birthday cakes. When my son was old enough, I encouraged him to cook and bake and he found that he liked baking, too. That's about the time that I stopped baking and he took over. We'd often get up in the morning to find that he made a sheet cake or cupcakes with some type of interesting frosting on top. I haven't baked in ages, but I still like to eat cupcakes. My favorite type is white cake with white buttercream frosting. Yummy. So here's the reason for this cupcake card... There's a story on Kim's blog about Fri-Cake Day. Fri-Cake day is what her Grandpa used to call Fridays since that was the day Grandma used to bake a cake. This card was made in honor of Fri-Cake Day. Even though this cupcake has pink frosting, I'm imagining it tasting like buttercream...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Magenta class #2

Ok, so after a yummy lunch of pizza from Rocco's, we began class number 2. This first one was stamped with white pigment ink on a piece of very heavy cardstock (sold by Magenta) and then embossed with white embossing powder. Nathalie suggested coloring a few of the background sections with a white Prisma pencil for variety. Then we took our VersaMagic ink pads (or Colorbox Cat's Eye pads) and colored over on top of the embossed image. Once that was dry, we covered the entire square with embossing ink and then clear embossing powder. That last embossing process really brought out the colors in the background. Then the cardboard was mounted on the white square and mounted to the card. Oh, before that was done, I took the snowflake flowers and embossed them down the side of the card. I added some peel-off stars and "Joy" from my provided peel-off sheet. This card was really fun to make. The present image was stamped with maroon ink on white cardstock and then colored with Prismas. Provided to us were 1" squares of thick acrylic "stones". We used a special adhesive (Magenta makes it and I can't remember the name of it) to put on one side of the acrylic block and then peeled to reveal another sticky side to adhere to the present image. Then the present image was trimmed to the size of the acrylic block. The frame around the present image is a canvas frame. I inked it up with my VersaMark inks and then drew snowflakes on top of the ink with my white Prisma pencil. After all that was done, I mounted everything to the four-fold card. Oh, the cording was adhered under the back mat before it was adhered to the card. This card was colored with Prismacolor pencils. I aged the stamped image before coloring with my VersaMark ink. I'm really not very pleased with the coloring on this card. It was the last card of the day and honestly, I was fading. Simple card really, just matting each section to the next and adding the mesh and buttons at the end. These stamps come from the Magenta Christmas puzzle set. Puzzle set because you can take each section of the card - trees, holly, bulb, greetings, and move them into different configurations to make a different look. Of course, I bought that set, too. You know I did. I love Magenta stamps. So that was Saturday. What a fantastic day. I'm so glad I got to participate.

Magenta Class #1

Oh my, what a weekend! It started on Friday evening, but I'll do another post about that. For now, here's what happened on Saturday... On Saturday, Cat's Craft Cupboard hosted Nathalie Metivier from Magenta. She came and taught two classes at the Cupboard. I took both classes. Nathalie is a very good teacher - so patient and very funny, too! I loved her stories about all the kitties at Magenta. I can't remember all their names (sorry, Nathalie!) but I remember what they look like, and they are darling! Seems those kitties are a big part of the Magenta family, even the kitty who prefers to perch up on the beams of the warehouse. I thoroughly enjoyed this class with Nathalie. If you ever see her teaching at your LSS, you definitely should sign up! Here are the cards we made in the first class... This first little item is a very cute 2" x 2" little notebook. The template for the notebook is a stamp. The cardboard covers and spine are a kit from Magenta and the directions are very easy to follow. The black swirlys are peel-offs. By Magenta, of course. There are many different themes of the peel-offs. They come in black, silver, gold and copper. Check them out at your local stamp or scrapbook store. This next little notebook was fast and very easy. The cover design is, again, a stamp with the book template. The inside of this notebook had some lovely papers, including some very nice vellum paper. We tied it together with a ribbon, and done! This next one was a bit more involved. Nathalie stamped all the imges ahead of time and that's a good thing, because on this card, we had a lot of coloring to do. This stamp can be used as a card front as shown here, or you can make it into a little book like the little green one above. Nathalie had doe hers like this and put pictures of her kitties in the windows. It was so darn cute! Anyhow, I colored the image (which was stamped in a maroon-colored ink) with Prismacolor pencils. I tried coloring the "Nathalie way", but found myself slipping into my comfortable ways of coloring. After coloring the image and mounting on the front of the card, I added a couple of peel-off's to the corners. I love those peel-offs!! Oh, and I forgot to mention that Nathalie signed my new book, "Magenta Style, Paper Magic". The book is fantastic and now even moreso since she signed it for me!