Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Orchids

 My Mumzie picked this sunny yellow orchid for me.  It reminds us of the freshness of daffodils, except the blooms last a lot longer.  The faint purple freckles barely show up but it is a new & different addition.  By comparison the older one has tan looking whiskers.  
This is also new, a sweet 2.5" dwarf orchid.  I really should name all these pretty orchids.  They've been nameless so long. Now that they're published on the internet, maybe they should have identities?  Anyone have creative name suggestions?   My new 6" cricut plushie doll had to hop in there for a picture too.  These things are the newest Cricut collectable.  I don't plan on getting all the available merchandise, but I did want one.  People are having fun dressing them up with lace & pretty things, Lil'C is a bug afterall & doesn't care about nakedness right now.  Such a rebel!

Do you have any good ideas for April Fools Day?  I'm stumped...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cards & things

Good day!  I can't wait for spring.  

All todays post pictures were taken with my cell phone camera, not too shabby for 2 megapixels eh.
Over the last few months I made some cards & remembered to snap a quick picture before sending.  I don't recall the paper brands used.  Does branding them as "from my stash" count?  They've all been happily mailed away.

This is a card I made with my gypsy "Smiley cards" free download cartridge.  The hat, glasses & buttons were an odd colour & I used glimmer mist to make it more interesting.  I learned how to make "shape cards" from Sheila at "She's a Sassy Lady" blog.  She has great free video tutorials to learn how to get more use out of the Gypsy.

Sorry this is sideways, I have no idea how to flip it.  It is a belated birthday card for a family member.  Pretty suspicious looking characters huh.  I used Gypsy & "3-Birds on Parade" cartridge.  

Gypsy & "Lite Handy Man" cartridge.  The silver paper was furnace tape.  I like how shiny it comes through.

These are flower cards made using the inside cut away portion of flowers from the "George & Basic Shapes" cartridge.  I made a pile of flowers from different papers to stick to the wall with poster putty.  I forgot to take a picture of those, they were so pretty.  I saved all the centre oval shapes & with a simple glue stick they made a sweet parcel of gift cards.  Never mind Boomer's tail there, he just had to assert himself.  The shiny centre is leftover tear drop shapes from a dollar store package.

I like that these are plain but pretty.  I hope they make you smile.

I saw a sweet checklist at Michaels craft stores I really  liked.  I have no idea who authored this list but it makes me happy.  It reminds me of the fun emails that float around.

To Do Today:
Spy Something Silly
Laugh till it hurts
Take a Risk
Tell a Secret
Sing out loud
Rock the boat
Shake things up
Flirt with disaster
Buy something frivolous
Colour outside the lines
Cause a scene
Order dessert
Get carried away
Have a great day

April 7 is National No Housework Day, I'm so excited!!!  It should be a national holiday, hee hee!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Challenge projects

I participated in a recent online Cricut Circle message board challenge last weekend.  I should've been doing other stuff, but we won't talk about that.  I really needed a creative break.  I've never participated before, there was so many amazingly talented entries.  I enjoyed the kickstart to get busy, use my supplies, make something new, use cartridges I hadn't used yet & use some scraps up too.  I didn't create them in sequence but I will show them in sequence of challenges issued.

Thursday's challenge was  to create a scrapbook layout or card based on the templates provided.  This is my entry.  I used "Wrap it up" cartridge for the headphones image & used silver ConTac shelf liner for the background scallop circle.  I traced the silver with a grey jelly pen to define it from the white background a bit better.  The silver still fades against white, oh well.  The fancy looking black detailed stuff is preprinted packing tape, I have no idea what brand.
 I used the same silver ConTac shelf liner paper but scribbled with sharpie marker to define it better before sticking it on.  I think it would be a great teenager card.

This is my entry for the Friday challenge, to use minimum 3 of 4 colours.  The colours looked like fushia, lime green, bright yellow, & plum purple.  Neutrals (black, white, cream, Kraft)  were also allowed.  I used the "B is for Boys" cartridge for the keys.  The polka dots are more of that nifty pre-printed clear tape.

Saturday was a tutorial to make a sweet note card gift set.  I goofed up some measurements & just went with it.  For some reason the overlay papers on the front of the holder (dark green border with a pink polka dot sheet on top) are smaller than the ones on the back, hmmmm.  Oh well, not gonna waste the effort.  I had seen somewhere else people used eyelets as pivots so I thought that was a nice way to make these note cards do double duty, writing surface on the front & inside too.

Sunday's challenge was to use something "wet" like paint, ink, shimmer ink sprays...  I had these lil birds sitting around, test cuts really.  I like to do test cuts with new cartridges to check the cartridge is working properly.  The bigger bird is from "B is for Boy" the little chubby bird is from "Lovely Floral" cartridges.  Again with the preprinted clear tape for the top & bottom strips. I really like how easy & effective that works out.  The pink paper is a scrap of the notecards pink polkadot paper reverse side.  After using the paint around the white edge of each bird, I doodled with it, "Smooch" paint in the colour "molasses" & kinda want to add some silver or pearl detail dots, maybe later.  That paint is like liquid eyeliner & a little  unpredictable as to when it will be more or less juicy on the brush, but its nice to play with.

Monday's challenge was to use a frame.  I've seen tea-light holders all over the internet & for some reason really wanted to try making one.  I used my Gypsy & "Accent Essentials" cartridge to pick out a square with a circle of circles & welded 2 together.  These are about 3.5" tall.
 These are the sides of the tea-light holder.  I rubbed a pink Zig marker around the edges to soften the glaring white core of the paper.  The best thing about double sided paper is I did this project twice  to maximize paper usage & they will be different from each other.  Yay!

Here they are scored & folded.  I have a Martha Stewart scoring board & it makes easy work of scoring paper.  Plus I like it as a background for pictures.
 I've learned to use the macro setting on the camera, step back & zoom in for better lighting on indoor project pictures but this didn't cooperate & shines yellowed.  Mysteries abound.  I needed bubbles in a row so I welded a border that was 4 humps on a flat line (Accent Essentials cartridge) back to back.  This is the silver ConTac paper again, easy cutting & its pre-glued.  I like the waste paper, it looks lacy somehow so I will save it for awhile.  You can pay big bucks for stuff like this but a little pre-planning & there it is, part of "the stash."  I  <3 my stash!  Or maybe its the crow in me that likes shiney glittery things, hmmm...

 I folded the bubbles in half before applying.  I rub my thumb over the edge from the shiny side to the back & it separates easily from the backing.  ConTac shelf liner needs to be burnished well to stick to paper, especially for this type of use.

I had seen on other tutorials online to do build 3 sides, then put the base on & then do the final side.  Makes sense & it is good advice.  You can see where the paper tore away a little & the white core shows thru, oh well, nothing to be done about that.
 Voila, tea-light holder out of paper for a battery tea-light.  I have trust issues, I would not trust this to any real candle because of fire risk.  I didn't want to silver trim the top edges, I think it would make it too industrial looking.  Hmm, a scalloped top edge would be pretty I bet.  Wouldn't it be showy filled with jelly beans or sparkly raffia with chocolate eggs?  

This is the front & back of my calling card.  A calling card is a 3X3" card, sort of like a business card really. They are used to trade contact information & to enter contests.  This is my avatar picture of Boomer, our siamese-Lynx point kitty.  He's just licked his tongue after gobbling nummy treats.  My home printer isn't being too cooperative so I will have to fish out the picture & go get wallet size pictures done.  I did doodle around boomer's face for detail.  The pink circle is from "cricut everyday" cartridge but I hid the inner circle so it would be solid.  I need to make about at least 45 more of these by April 1.  
So, I've shown you my "goofing off."  Make sure to go reward yourself with goofing off between jobs too!  When's National No Housework day again?  I can't wait, hee hee hee!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

C'mon spring!

My Orchids are doing their best to herald in spring.  They don't mind hamming for the camera.  They're happy to show their pretty faces to the world wide web.  I had to turn them all around for this debut.  There's two pots that haven't bloomed yet, & one that I will showcase in a later post, she's never shown me her flower before. 

Do not be afraid of orchids, they are so easy to look after.  They want a bright morning window & don't mind cool evenings.  They don't like super hot summer heat so partially closing the blinds helps them.  I water them every 7-10 days, every other week they get well diluted orchid fertilizer.  Sometimes they get fertilized every week, they don't complain.  They're so slow growing that it takes forever before they want re-potting, messy but easy to do.  I like using kids hair clips to hold their stems.  When there is no flowers they remind me to be patient, they're resting.  When one dies off for unknown reasons, I eventually replace her with one that has a few flowers & they all seem to wake up again with blooms.  I'm no expert, I just appreciate their glorious long lasting celebration.  I hope these pictures brighten your week.

Remember: April 7 is National No Housework Day

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zombie Things

Fun Zombie party contest details?  These were some mighty fine events I tell ya!  Everyone knows Zombies aren't the smartest things, but they can be very funny!  Instead of announcing best bowling score, there was a prize for worst bowling score.  The bowling teams didn't know about that until after the bowling was all done of course.  There was also categories for Best Costume, Foozeball Winner, & Best Burp, which a Mom won, hee hee hee!  The funniest competitions were the Best Zombie Face, Best "BRAINZZZZ" Statement, and Best Zombie walk.  The Best Zombie dance was hysterical!  Overall everyone won something, had a blast running around & laughed their guts out.  Competitions were the best way to goof around & keep the Zombies occupied while waiting for pizza.  No one wants to deal with hungry Zombies for too long, it wouldn't be pretty to have them turn on the few brave adults supervising.

What zombie party is complete without Zombie survival kits, aka loot bags!  I used my gypsy to design & cricut to cut out letters from clear contact paper.  "Happy Hauntings" cartridge for the Zombie-like font, & "Street Signs" cartridge font for the survival kit wording.  I don't recall the settings but "kiss cut" was what I did, enough pressure to cut through the vinyl but not cut the backing.  Kiddo helped me apply the lettering & he had this great idea to use his blow pens for the detail.  Smart kiddo this one...

This is a "Sprayza" red marker attached to the blow pen.  Some of the clear letters had black sharpie run over them for contrast before applying to the survival kits.   
A close-up picture.
Some of the completed survival kits, waiting for pinyata candy.
This could be our last birthday party, but it was definitely the best!  I can't believe I missed having a competition for messiest pizza eater, that would've been great too!  Cheers & I hope you have a great week.

Don't forget to mark your calendar, April 7 is National No Housework Day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zombie Things

What is this?  Some good guesses were: something ceramic? something bone? a bat? a stick? 
All  will be revealed at the end of the post...

Ahhh, free-bee 18" beach ball, your fate is set to be repurposed.  Yes, those are my orchids in the background.  I like that they need watering once a week, occasional fertilizer, yet they bloom in a showy way for almost 3 months.  My kinda plants!  Lets never mind the miscellaneous piles sharing the same table shall we.

Lowly paper mache, so simple, so inexpensive, so messy, so perfect & most importantly, so easy!  An internet search refreshed my memory on the details & paste recipe, one part flour, two parts water ratio.  I did add some cinnamon to cut the funky smell of wet newspaper.  As the slurry gets thicker its ok to cheat & add a bit of water to keep it going.  The ball is propped up on a bowl to keep my sanity.  Bigger strips of newspaper get faster coverage but don't cover curves well.  Squeegee-ing each strip between fingers before applying cuts down the sloppy drippyness & speeds up drying time since the whole thing is less soggy.

I'm an impatient kinda gal.  I thought about setting this thing outside to freeze dry & it occurred to me it might not stay round.  A heat gun seemed to be a ridiculously slow option, I tried & I got bored.  An industrial heat gun was not attempted, I didn't want to risk a fire.  But the lowly hot air popper was just sitting there, begging for work.  No need to turn the house into a sauna turning up the furnace, thanks hot air popcorn popper!  I propped it on a wooden spoon to improve the blowing angle.  If you try this, stay nearby. I got 3 layers done in about 2.5 hours.  I was able to run 2 loads of laundry & make myself some lunch too.

I used some advertising papers that were a bit stiffer & traced a plate for the template for the spikes.  Once all the circles were traced & cut out, they were folded in half & cut, taped into cones & then taped to the ball.  

3 more layers of papermache were done for a grand total of 8 layers.  I did set it near the heat vent for drying, poor lil popcorn maker needed a rest!  
After an overnight dry-out, I happily cut into this thingie to pull out the ball.  Puncturing it was satisfying somehow!  

 Here's the candy haul, 2kg bucket & a bag of graveyard parts I scored after Halloween.  Hooray for sales!

 Before filling it up, I made a cardboard washer for reinforcement inside, lowly zap straps to the rescue to hang it up.  In hindsight I should've added 2 more"washers," incrementally larger.  Once full it is heavier than it  appears.

I layered in some newspaper before adding non-toxic all-purpose white craft glue to close it up.  No need to glue the contents to the inside I figure.  I used the same glue to add some more newspaper over top to make it all smooth again.  I figured glue would be a better bond at this point.

Here is the zap strap closure.  Humble zap straps, tough & strong.  Good thing too since this thing weighed almost 8lbs when it was fully loaded.

Painted with acrylic paint, black base & silver points.  Kiddo did a good job painting eh!  He used a kids blow painting "Sprayza" set to put the red on the points, his own great twist on this creation.
Each kiddo got 5 whacks at it until it dropped & was beaten into submission.  People are doing amazing things with paper mache, who knew its not just for kids crafts anymore!  

In answer to the question at the beginning of this post...
A mannequin arm!
 Its great as it is, but to be a dismembered arm it needed cosmetics.
 Acrylic paint to the rescue!  Four different colours of red & a couple different browns really improved the effect.  This was the fastest of the project details to achieve, just dig in & smear paint on.
 another view, same arm
Pictures taken with my cell phone, not bad for 2 megapixels!  I used gorilla glue to put the hand on at the wrist, but it didn't hold.  It made  a great club to beat the pinyata just the same.  The Zombies were thrilled!
One more Zombie post coming, have a great week!  Oh & while I've got you, don't forget to mark your calendar, April 7 is National No Housework Day!