Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Contest entry

 So what are all these bits of paper for?  There's a Provocraft monthly challenge that ends April 30.  The challenge is to use 3 items, & a minimum of 3 cricut cuts.  There is a chance to win a Cricut Cake Mini machine, a Martha Stewart All Occasions Cartridge, or $50 credit on  I had Baby Bug cricut machine already plugged in ready to go, so I used it.  
 So I had these pretty shimmering Recollections brand scraps of paper and some security envelopes. An old Elmers glue stick, really old, it was gross & stringy, sticky but not dried up yet. A 6x12 cricut mat that I wrecked with a low heat iron trying to flatten out the curling edges whilst sandwiched between parchment paper.  Considering I only wrecked two & flattened five, that was a successful experiment.  I reused a really old piece of patterned paper as the base, smeared it with glue & used the old mat to catch over-gluing.  I tore up the strips of paper & covered that old paper.  Once it was covered I trimmed it square again.
I used my gypsy to weld the letters for the words "reduce, repurpose, recycle" from the "Elegant Cakes" cartridge font.  That green was 2 sided paper so I tore it in half & cut them out once from each side.  The security envelopes became those vertical bumpy vine details in the background, from "Accent Essentials" cartridge.   The security envelopes caused the blade to skip a little so be prepared for that if you try it.  I really hope that using all these things counts towards the challenge criteria.  I had the idea to use security envelopes for awhile now from Julie Fei Fan Balzer's blog, she knows how to play with her supplies & push her learning boundaries.  I really like her lesson to not be afraid to mess things up, wreck them & just get in there & try something.  Gluing the scraps onto ugly paper was an idea I read about making your own paper from scraps from a recent artist magazine, "Cloth Paper Scissors." 

The pictures are proof of my mini gardening last spring.  I sprouted tomatoes & various flowers in a plastic clamshell that came with some asian pears.  There's some other plastic containers being reused there.  Incidentally I reused my old yucky teflon pans to keep the mess off the carpet.  No more non-stick ovenware for me.  They only last 3 years & then they're landfill when the finish comes off since I refuse to cook with them with peeling finish.  I don't care if they're cheaper, I won't spend any more money that way.  Learning to be  environmentally conscious is all about making better choices.  Did you know that if non-stick ovenware is overheated they are known to release gasses that are toxic to cage birds!  Kinda reminds me of the old time minors keeping a live bird in the mines, if the bird died, everyone had to get out in a hurry or they were next.  

The tomatoes were transplanted to eggshells that I saved & dyed after the Easter eggs were dyed, less dye for the sewer system.  Tomatoes are reputed to need lots of calcuim to grow.  They were really pretty Mothers day gifts & neighbor gifts.  The ones I kept got black spots on the leaves, but my friends yielded some tomatoes.  The pictures really don't do them justice, but my home printer was running out of ink & I used what I had, so they're kinda grey looking.  They do stand out against the background & are complemented by the security papers.  I love it when things tie together the way I had intended. 

 Lastly I didn't like how the layout was sort-of floating on the paper.  I used a black sharpie marker to skim around the photos, then to rough scratch lines to box them in more, and around the entire layout as well. I figured there is still bits of black peeking through the scrap papers so why not tie it together.  The layout is composed with "the rule of thirds," three elements clustered together. I think it works even though there is four bubble vines and one heart in the middle.
I'll let you know if I win anything.

 I couldn't find the third picture to show the difference in colours but you get the idea.
May 2 came & went, no prize won.  Oh well, I had fun making it!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paper Dolls

Good day!  I have been itching to use the paper dolls cartridges for cricut ("Paper Dolls for Everyday" & "Paper Dolls Dress Up" cartridges) & then opportunity appeared.  I know a sweet little 4 year old who is very fashion conscious & would love to play with something like this.  I got busy with my trusty Gypsy to pick all the components before cutting.  I used cardstock from my stash to cut out 12 paper dolls 5.5" tall to make 2 boys & 2 girls.  The reason for the multiples is to glue-stick them 3 layers thick so they are tougher for play time.  I glued the hair & footwear on permanently so they would be less frustrating to little hands, then detailed the faces, hair, & shoes with markers.  Pictures taken with my cell phone again.  I clicked them X-Large to bring up the details since they seem to be lost in the smaller size.  I like their googly eyes, the pictures don't show but some dolls have blue eyes, or green eyes or black eyes.  I've had them in my stash forever & its satisfying to finally use them.

 Flip the dolls over & this is what the other side looks like.

Heres some dolls trying on clothes.  I resisted the urge to fold back the tabs, they are a gift & I didn't want them to look "used."
 Here are the rest of the doll clothes, some are double duty with double sided details.  I thought it was a nice thing to help encourage memory that way.  I detailed some with markers & little stickers & left some blank in case kiddo or her Mommy would like to decorate some too.  They are easy to detail right over the cut lines.

Those are sweetheart candy valentine sticker sayings like, "Kiss me, Hug me, XOX, Be mine" on the little orange-yellow sundress.  The pastel stars are fuzzy stickers, & the sea stickers are sparkly.  White gel pen really brings up the details & add nice contrast to the black.  I forget the brands of pens & stickers, sorry but they're from my "stash."

I like the t-shirt sayings, "Just say MOO," "MEOW power," & "Everybody say WOOF!"  The little blue squiggle dress started out as an oops, messed up outlining it when the marker slipped.  I kinda like it better all squiggled up.  Outlining the cutouts really gives nice definition don't you think?
Its okay to channel your inner child sometimes, thats why they call it play.  I don't think adults laugh or play enough anymore.  I'm not talking juvenile immature rudeness either.  I hearby give you permission to go goof off & play with something creative.  Go ahead, you know you wanna!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teachers gifts

Its coming up to that time of the year, summer. These are the gifts we gave last year to the teachers & school bus drivers that work so hard to help my Kiddo with his education.  I used my Gypsy to design & Cricut to kiss cut the vinyl.  "Kiss cut" is just enough pressure to cut the vinyl but not enough to cut through to the backing too.  I knew I wanted black letters over coloured letters.  On the gypsy I organized all the black lettering on one screen to cut from one sheet, all the yellow images on another screen.  It seems complicated but makes sense to not waste vinyl going back & forth.  Taking a bit extra time planning streamlines the cutting process.  Transfer tape makes easy work of getting the vinyl from the backing sheet onto the containers.

Bribes done with "Street Sign" cartridge, rewards done with "caligraphy collection" cartridge fonts.  The teacher's name is done on the other side using "hello kitty" font, but I forgot to get a picture.  This round glass wasn't easy to lay the larger vinyl pieces on, didn't think of that when I chose it.

Mr. S on the lid done with "street signs" cartridge with circles added to the edges of each letter to round them out.  Bribes uses "donjuan" cartridge, rewards uses "wild card" cartridge for the fonts.

Mrs. C done with "lyrical letters," Mrs K done with "ashlyns alphabet" Mrs W done with "storybook" cartridge fonts.  These are frosty glasses.  Other teachers were envious I heard.  
 The bus butterfly & golf clubs (not shown) were all images from the "paperdolls for everyday" cartridge.

What gift isn't complete without candy?  I kept back a few TimHortons gift card for back up last minute gifts for anyone I missed with the candy containing gifts.  I got the images all planned in about 2 hours, cut out in about 30 minutes & Kiddo helped with assembly.  When they were ready to give they each went into clear bags tied with ribbon.  I know its early to even think of June, I can't wait since that means summer time!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Older projects

These are some older projects I've done.  A good friend was recuperating from a surgery & I offered loan of a cane.  It was just sitting around & she could use it so the match was made.  We were  gabbing away over tea & a devious idea occurred.  I asked, if the cane were decorated, what would she have on it?  Bubbles?  little cars?  flames?  She replied, "Oh, definitely flames."  I asked ascending or descending?  She specified ascending so it would seem that with every strike the ground was on fire.  The idea was set.  I asked a local auto detailing shop for some scrap vinyl & together with Gypsy & "Indie Art" cartridge I cut out a whole lot of flames in varying sizes, white, yellow, orange, & red.  Again with the sideways pictures, sorry about that.

She didn't know I was doing this & I speedily delivered it on April fools.  We had a happy giggle.  We're all so happy she's mobile again. This is not a reminder to hurry up & return it, its a statement piece now, hee hee! 

I make our own dog beds from time to time.  I take an old blanket & fold it in half, marker a line down it, fold it in half the other direction & marker again (divided into quarters).  I bomb it to my sewing machine & zigzag like crazy 2 seams parallel, bookending the black lines.  Once they are cut apart (between the zigzaging) they make fine dog beds.
 Of course Boomer has to try them first.
 Looks like they are Boomer approved!

Last year I bought Kiddo a foam filled chair.  The problem is it was the last one, on sale & bright orange.  My brain couldn't leave such a good price.  I thought, oh yeah, I can dye that cover.  I bought some RIT dye, several packages of dark blue & several packages of navy blue.  I twisted that cover onto itself, soaked it & added it to a big bucket with the dye.  Thankfully I remembered to wear gloves for this.  Once it had sat for about 20 minutes, it was squeezed out some with Hubs help & re-twisted the other direction for a repeat soak in the dye.  RIT instructions were followed & this is the result.  We called it "the tiger chair" since Kiddo loves tigers.  Occasionally it is called the moldy orange.  Boomer doesn't care, despite the demonic glowing eyes, he approves.

Here's my orchids blooming last year, shared with some mini daffodils.  Yippee for spring!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 7 is National No Housework day

Every working person should look forward to this day, that includes homemakers, home based business people & everyone that has a job.  Go ahead, arrange to meet a friend or two over beverages & have a rolicking conversation about all the things you've done to "cheat" on housework.  I promise you, a no holds barred laugh-a-thon will bring immense benefits.  Laughter is medicinal after all.  We all have our dirty little secrets, no guilt no glory, right?  If you can't go out, at least do something you like for you.  

Here's a picture of my orchids in March this year.  They're such a showy riot, love that.  Sometimes one goes to plant heaven & is eventually replaced with one in bloom, all of a sudden they're all blooming again.  Thankfully there was no orchid fatalities this year.

A friend revealed that the drawer under her stove is where she keeps the broom sweepings.  I like the idea of having 2 dishwasher machines, side by side; one will always be clean, the other dirty.  In reality I groan, "yeah, right, like thats gonna happen."  I highly recommend when replacing family washer driers to get the biggest stinking front loading machines you can.  Those baby's will pay you back every time with time.  Laundry's backed up a week?  forget the trip to the laundromat, shove it in & get it done in 3 giant loads.  Oh, but the colour will get dingy you say.  That's what "Shout Color Catcher" is for, grabbing all the fugitive dye & everything turns out the right colours.  Trust me on that one, just don't bother on April 7.

An internet search reveals ideas like ride-on vacuums, "cook's night off" or "buffet night" aka leftovers.  That's nice to have these inventions & ideas.  A little robotic automated-vacuum would cough & die a fast death here I'm afraid.  I have always wanted a self-cleaning-house, when is that going to be invented?  Have you ever had a pile of dishes, like your old apartment days, smelling to fruit fly heaven & quietly added a glug of bleach to sensor the problem an extra day.  How about using woman's unscented secret, "strong enough for a man, but made for a woman" to spray his side of the bed to get out of changing the sheets an extra day, even tho the smell is (was) unbearable.  Ever gone looking for something & found what appears to be an extra cat, determined it to be a giant dust-bunny & quietly pushed things back where you found them, scientifically wondering if it will grow next time you search.  I think a tablecloth could be dedicated to a permanent collection of crap, glued on if you please.  Nothing important ever gets left on the table after that, since it is well known that it will never be found again.  I think that could be a secret-cleaning weapon; when company comes pull it off, company leaves, put it back on.  For some reason, nothing seems to attract clutter like a clean table.

This is an excellent chance to ignore "Flylady", & lower your standards for a day.  Try it & see, the mess will wait another day.  You've been training your family all year with nagging, reminders, & lists.  Just leave it.  It will only get dirty again anyway.  It's been said before, a house never really stays clean, it just gets re-set from time to time.  Can you believe there are hard core believers in "No Housework Mondays," & "No Housework Weeks" where they are not away on holidays?  Those people should make a message-board or something so we can all crib off it!

This is the first time this orchid has ever shown me her flowers!   

  Remember, cleanliness is next to impossible, especially if you live with family.   Erma Bombeck had great ideas & a realistic lovable sense of humor.  I dare you to leave a comment on your genius get-out-of-housework strategies.  Go ahead & share your laughter, no guilt no glory.