Tag Archives: handcrafted

Give Me Wings

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Last weekend I spent a glorious afternoon crafting with my friend Margaret. I brought all my new paints and some collage goodies and started on my second Hello Soul, Hello Mantras mixed media piece.

After a delicious lunch we got started. Margaret was working on a batch of greeting cards while I was painting and collaging.  The teacher of the e-course, Kelly Rae Roberts, said in one of the videos that working with a friend was a good way to be a little distracted from the the piece and to not overthink the process.  Crafting with friends is one of my favorite things to do.

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I’d been to the Farmer’s Market in the morning and picked up a bunch of spring flowers and wanted to use the colors from the bouquet in my painting.

Before starting on the piece, I wrote my intention down to keep in mind as I was working. I planned to just jump right in and start getting messy!

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After smooshing and dripping and scraping paint onto the canvas, I used gel medium to collage some scraps of paper onto this painted background. These included postage stamps, sheet music,  a parking slip from a fun shopping trip in Berkeley, a Christmas tag and a piece of a pretty liner from an envelope. Using a heat tool to dry the paint and gel medium between layers helped move the process along.

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Paint is layered over some of the collage pieces, integrating them into the painted background. Feathers are one of my special or  sacred images so I included one on this piece.

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After stamping the mantra, I embellished the letters with curlicues and dots. In this picture you can see other details:  the butterfly with halves from two different sources, the edge of a page torn from a calendar, a piece of corrugated cardboard with a heart in it, lace, and washi tape.

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The next day I painted over the stamped mantra. The added curls and dots weren’t working for me. Or more specifically, though I loved dots on the overall piece, I wanted the mantra to be clearer and more readable. Some lighter paint behind the words helped  them to stand out.

Other finishing details include a small dragonfly, another heart with more text, a small bird sticker, two small pieces of paper with a dictionary definition of the word “breathing,” and flower silhouettes stamped in black ink.

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you’re enjoying these pieces because I sure am! I’ll be posting more soon.

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Cobalt & Magenta Valentine’s

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Who knows when inspiration will strike, but recently it was a vase of flowers that inspired the color choices for my Valentine’s this year.

I picked out a brilliant bunch of magenta anemones at the Farmer’s Market and put them into a cobalt blue glass vase.

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I’m afraid my skill with a camera is not up to the challenge of capturing this combination and making it look as rich and wonderful as what I’m seeing.   Even as the flowers started to fade, they deepened to a darker shade that was lovely.  I bought the same kind and color of flowers two weeks in a row.

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Anyway, I started going through my paper and did a little shopping so I could put these two colors together.

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I added brown paper tags and hearts, vintage buttons and some sweet little heart embellishments.  Not shown are some off-white and cream-colored sheet music, textbook pages and other vintage ephemera from my stash that I used.

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Although these cards are more focused on paper, I still use rubber stamping and I pulled out my Valentine stamps.

I knew I couldn’t really capture the color of the cobalt blue glass, but I added richness to the card designs with sparkly blue glitter tape and shiny gold paper and ink.

My friend Carson recently showed a technique for a “Braided Paper” background on her wonderful Pine & Plum blog, and I used that for a batch of Valentine’s.

Cut strips of paper in equal widths.

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Put adhesive on a piece of paper (this will be covered by the paper strips – I used thinner copy paper rather than card stock).  I like the Tombow Mono Adhesive tape roller.

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Lay the first two strips to create a V on the paper.  The ends of the strips can go off the edge and when they’re all glued down, just turn the paper over and trim off the extra.

Cover the paper.  I did a long strip and cut it to size for several small cards.

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Once all the base paper is covered and you trim the strips, you’ll have a beautiful piece of paper that looks similar to a braid.

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Here are finished cards using this technique.

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These small cards will go into little glassine envelopes I found at Paper Source and I’ll be sharing them with friends at work and in my choir.  Heart stickers and washi tape decorate the outside.

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I am making more cards, some this same small size (I used place cards) and some more standard size  and all will be using similar collage designs and the same colors and embellishments.

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Thank you for your visit.

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Little Tag Cards

Angled Green Tag Card

I was putting together a birthday card for a good friend and for inspiration, I looked through the pages of a  calendar given to me by another friend.  The artwork in the calendar, by British artist, Sarah Lugg, had beautiful collages based on small tags full of fine little details.

With her images in mind, I started to pull out bits and pieces of paper, stickers, washi tape, and trim that were all or partially green, and layering them to create a series of tags.

6 Green Tags

For some of the tags, I traced the tag shape onto paper or card stock and cut it out.  For others, I layered the ephemera directly onto a tag.

Layered Green Tag

On this tag, for example, printed paper with a bird design is overlaid with a scrap of dictionary page and the definition of “celebrate”.  A tiny bit of sheet music is near the top and a gold-printed branch has been cut out and adhered in place.  I colored in a bit of the design with a green marker and stamped a small green clover with “good luck” to complete the tag.

The large card includes a small duck feather, little adhesive jewels, a bit of green twine, a postage stamp, a piece of a color swatch, a scrap of a map showing Yosemite, and one of my favorite little rubber stamped images of a tiny key.

As usual, I signed the back of the card with my lowercase initials and, in this case, added a small paper heart.

handmade

This Little Tag card was so fun to make that when my mom requested a birthday card to send to my brother, I did another one.

In this card, I chose to go with fall colors and oriented the tags horizontally. The background card looks almost black in this picture, but it is dark brown with a green envelope.

Brown Tag Card

With less time spent crafting the card, the tags don’t have quite as many details, but I’m still very pleased with the results.

A beautiful butterfly sticker from my Cavallini & Co. “Flora & Fauna Stickers.”

A bit of butterfly

The little acorn was trimmed from another old calendar that I’ve been saving (look for the pear on the first card – it was cut from the same source).  Orange-striped washi tape is along the bottom edge of this tag.

Celebration

Rem’s ham radio hobby provides me with interesting postage stamps from around the world.  This one is Italian.  The background paper is wrapping paper printed with designs from Japanese kimonos.  A scrap of textured copper paper is on the upper edge.

Italian Stamp

I love creating these Little Tag cards and have already started another batch of tags.

6 Green Tags

Thanks for stopping by.

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Templates for Baby Clothes Cards

Plaid Dress & Denim Overalls Cards

I finally got the templates finished for these two cute cards!  You can see more versions of the Baby Dress Card here and the Baby Overalls Card here.

I saw lots of paper at JoAnn Fabric and Craft’s yesterday and couldn’t resist this denim blue and red plaid combo.  It is thinner paper than the card-stock I used when I made them the first time around, but it made two cute cards just fine.

The templates are on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.  Print out the template at 100% size, on regular copy paper, cut out the pieces than put them down on the paper you want to use for your card.  Trace around each piece.

Trace Template

Here is the Baby Dress Card Template, and here is the Baby Overalls Card Template.

For some versions of the dress I used scallop-edge scissors for the hemline.  For this plaid version, I just cut it out plain and simple.

When I cut out, I cut just inside the tracing lines.  When you trace the overalls, use a pencil to firmly draw in the details of the pockets and waistband.  Later, you’ll go back with a marker to color in those details.

Fold the dress at the shoulder line (on the template I show that as a dotted line) and align the front and back.  It may not be perfect, so just trim where one side overlaps a bit.

Trim uneven edge

Cut out all the pieces, than glue on the pockets.

Glue On Pockets

The back of the overalls have one little place to fold: the straps that come over the shoulder from back to front. Fold where the dotted line is shown on the template.

Fold the t-shirt, lining it up carefully and trimming if the edges are a little uneven.

To construct the Baby Overalls Card, have all the pieces cut out, with pockets glued in place.  You can see where I’ve traced the front pocket and waistband seam details.

Overall Pieces

Put the back overall piece down with the inside facing up.  Put adhesive on the top part, including the ends of the straps, but only down as far as the waistband.

Glue on Overall Back

Carefully set the folded t-shirt piece in place, lining it up so the straps come up over the shoulder.  Back of t-shirt should be attached to back piece of overalls.

Gluing T-Shirt

Now put glue on the inside of the front piece bib area, down to the waistline. Line the legs up together.  Carefully set in place and adhere to front of t-shirt.

Closeup Front of Overalls

I used a fine-point dark blue marker to add stitching lines and a gold pen for the buttons and buckles.  A fine-point black pen adds a little detail to the buttons and buckles.

A folded bit of patterned paper makes a bandana for the back pocket.

Back of Overalls

The dress and apron are a little more straight forward because the dress forms the whole card with the apron or pinafore being added as embellishment to the outside.

I didn’t include straps for the pinafore or apron on the template.  Cut narrow strips of matching paper and glue to either side of apron or pinafore and glue separate strips to the back of the dress.  You can also use ribbon for all or part of the apron strings.

As with the Overall Card, I used a narrow dark-blue pen to add stitching lines, and gold and black pens for the buttons.

Close Up Pinafore

In the  earlier Baby Dress Cards, I used a white gel pen for some of the little details.

Front and Back

For the denim and plaid pair, I left the insides of the cards plain.

Inside of Cards

You can also use the Overall template to create a onesie.

Onesie

For the petticoat in the Baby Dress Card I traced the dress and cut a slightly smaller version, omitting the sleeves.

Inside Purple

I’d love to see your creations if you use either of these templates to make your own versions.  Send me a photo and I’ll add it to my Reader’s Gallery.

From the back…

Back of the Cards

or the front, these are both really cute cards!

Front of Cards

Thanks for coming by and reading my post.

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Baby Overalls Card

Baby Overalls Card

I decided that I needed a partner card for the Baby Dress Card I posted recently, so here are a pair of little baby overalls.  I think both cards are especially cute because of the details.

This card folds at the top, like the Baby Dress, with a t-shirt cut from another color of paper. Dark blue and orange markers added the seams and stitching details.  I used a silver pen for the snaps on the legs and a gold pen for the buttons and buckles.

The bib pocket, back pockets and belt loops are cut from a scrap of blue paper and glued on.

Bib Close Up

Back Pockets

For the inside of the card, I cut out a little white onesie.  A few details with blue and silver markers finish it off nicely.

Onesie

I’ve been working on a pattern for this card as well as the Baby Dress card but I’m down with a cold virus, so that will have to wait a little longer.  I will post a link when I have these patterns ready to go.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the template for the Baby Overalls Cards.

Here is a link to the post with another version of the card.

Standing Overalls

Thanks for the visit.

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Chocolate Nutella Fudge & Truffles

Chocolate's for Valentine's Day

I love chocolate.  And what is Valentine’s Day if not a reason for sharing and eating chocolate?  I also love all my reader’s, so I’m sharing this delicious recipe with you so you can make it and share it with your loved ones for Valentine’s Day.  Yes, yourself, friends, co-workers, and neighbors all qualify when it comes to sharing chocolate.

I saw the recipe here on Rachael Phillips self-named blog.  I made a batch at Christmas time but didn’t take any pictures.  I also had the idea of making it into little hearts or rolling it into balls for truffles and decided I would have to try them both to show you.  Both worked out, to a degree.

Fudge Hearts

Although I titled this post “Chocolate Nutella Fudge”, I’ve also made it with Cocoa Almond Spread from Trader Joe’s.  Both are very good but I think I prefer the Nutella version.  This is really creamy, delicious fudge.  It is on the soft side so needs some time in the fridge to set up.

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Adapted from Rachael Phillips

Fudge Ingredients

Note: The recipe for the truffles is the same as for the fudge – it just depends how you mold, cut, or scoop and roll the finished product. Truffle details follow.

Ingredients:

14 oz. container sweetened condensed milk

1 cup Nutella or Cocoa Almond Spread

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

5 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. vanilla (not pictured above because I forgot to get it out)

Optional for decorating fudge hearts:

Colored Sanding Sugar

Cocoa Powder

For Truffles:

grated zest of 1 orange (optional)

Cocoa Powder for coating

Directions:

I read several recipes, including the one on Rachael Phillips, that suggest using a double-boiler (or creating with a bowl over simmering water in a saucepan) for this recipe.  You can do that.   I’ve had good luck using my microwave when melting chocolate.  If you use the microwave, use in short bursts of time and check it frequently.

Either way, you need to combine the ingredients and heat them gently until the chocolate chips are melted and the whole mixture is combined into a smooth, velvety bowl of chocolatey wonderfulness.

For the microwave version, I use a large microwave-safe bowl and dump in all the ingredients.  I meant to add the vanilla at the end but forgot and put it in with everything else. I cut the butter into chunks.

Heat on 50% power for 1 minute than stir.  At first it’s kind of a mess:

Melty Mess

The butter is partially melted, the chocolate is getting soft but isn’t really ready.  Give it a stir and then back into the microwave for another minute on 50% power.  Your microwave is very likely different than mine.  After 2 minutes at 50% power, reduce your cooking times to no more than 30 seconds at 5o% power before checking it and stirring it.

This is starting to look better:

Still Grainy

But when you lift the spoon, you can see it’s still got un-melted bits of chocolate and it looks kind of gritty.

Spoon of Melty Chocolate

But a little more time and a few good stirs and it comes together into this smooth mixture.

So Lovely Stirring Chocolate

If you want to make a traditional pan of fudge, butter an 8×8 inch dish and line it with parchment paper with enough extra paper to come over the sides.  This will help you remove the fudge from the pan once it has set.

However, you can really step it up and mold the fudge.  You may recall last year when I made crayon hearts in silicone ice cubed trays from IKEA.  I pictured creating creamy chocolate fudge hearts but I could NOT find the molds.  I cleaned up my craft supplies last spring but didn’t recall surplussing the molds.  Rem and I went to IKEA but sadly, they didn’t have any of the heart shaped ice cube trays in stock.

But then good news/bad news!  Good news: Rem found the molds in a cupboard!  They still had melted crayon in them and I wasn’t sure about using them for food.  I figured kids eat crayons so if I cleaned them really well it would probably be ok.  I thought a few seconds in the warm oven would soften the crayon and then I could wipe off most of the melted crayon before giving them a good scrub.  I put them in the oven for just a few moments…and promptly forgot about them.  Bad news: Dianne melted the molds.  Please don’t do this at home!

Riuned, Melted Molds in Sink

But I was able to find NEW heart-shaped silicone molds online on eBay from eHappyHome, and I also had a food-grade mold from Chase Creative Molds (designed for soap) so I was ready for making some fancy fudge.

Bird Mold

The bird mold came out beautifully but the little hearts tended to stick.  Next time I would use nonstick spray before putting the fudge in the molds.

Fill the mold by spooning the fudge into the mold and leveling it off with the flat back edge of a butter knife.

Full of Chocolate Fudge

Messy Molds

Filled Fudge Hearts

Chill the fudge.  If you have the time and patience, chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight before cutting or unmolding.  Or put in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes and carefully unmold.  I’ve read that tapping the filled mold will help pop any bubbles.  I didn’t try that and don’t know how well it would work.  There were some air bubbles but I was still very happy with how beautiful the oval molded fudge with the bird design turned out.

Beautiful Chocolate Bird

The hearts were a little trickier.  When I twisted and flexed the trays the little hearts tended to stick at the very bottom, which when unmolded is the top of the heart.  Again, some nonstick spray would probably have helped here.  I was able to reshape the hearts with a small off-set spatula but I decided a little cocoa powder or sanding sugar would give them a little cosmetic assistance.

Four Sparkling Fudge Hearts

The less you handle the shapes, the better.  I dipped the side of some hearts in pink sanding sugar and the tops of others.  Some I showered with a sifting of cocoa powder.

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They’re not perfect.  They’ve got character.  And no matter how lumpy looking they are, they taste as silky and densely chocolate as the original fudge.

After filling the molds, I still had fudge mixture in the bowl to use.  It was about to become truffles!

Grating Orange Zest

I used my microplane zester and grated the zest from one orange into the fudge and stirred it in. I poured the fudge into an oval glass dish.

Pouring Fudge

I chilled it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Than, using a melon baller, I scooped up balls of fudge.  A spoon would work too.

Scooping Truffles

You can decide what size you want your truffles to be.  Mine were about the size of a walnut.

Sifted Cocoa Powder

Roll the ball between your palms and drop it into a shallow dish of sifted cocoa powder and move it around.

Truffle in Cocoa

Cocoa Coated Truffle

Pop the truffle into a little pleated paper cup and it’s dressed and ready for Valentine’s Day.

Pretty Truffles

Keep the fudge, fudge hearts or truffles chilled.  If you can keep from consuming it, it lasts quite well if kept in the refrigerator in a sealed tin or plastic tub.

Lots o' Choco

Thank you for coming by and reading my blog.  As always, I encourage and appreciate your comments.

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Valentines Inspired By…

hugs & kisses

The other day I followed a link on a friend’s Facebook page and found A Bit East-Coast, a blog by Keisha Campbell.  She had posted about having the flu and starting to make valentines.  As I’m still struggling with a bad cold and starting to make my valentines, I felt a kinship.

Actually, it was the cards that got me first.  Her photography is lovely and I was really inspired by her color scheme (grey, pink, & red with gold & silver accents) and love her designs.  I immediately started looking through my paper for grey and pink but decided I didn’t want to use red so found some turquoise and a little brown, with pink and grey as my primary colors.  I LOVE how these colors look together and like how the grey keeps the pink from looking too sweet.

Pretty Paper

I also pulled out my embossing powder because the sentiments embossed in gold looked so stunning on Keisha’s cards.  Instead of my usual card stock I found a pad of Strathmore heavy weight water color paper tucked beside my desk and collected some other embellishments and tools.  I cut the cards from the water color paper and I’m really pleased with how the heavy, textured, white paper works as a base for many of these cards.

Valentine Supplies

So: first inspiration: Keisha Campbell of A Bit East-Coast.

Grey, pink & aqua

I thought of Pinterest and decided to look through things I’d pinned.  I don’t often make the jump from pinning to actually making the things I’ve pinned.  But I loved how the first card turned out and liked getting away from my usual methods, so off to Pinterest I went.

This cute card by Kristina Werner (her blog is K Werner Design Blog) inspired this valentine.  I didn’t have the computer at my crafting desk so when I looked back at the picture I see how she raised the top layer with the heart cut-out, so I’ll try that when I make another one of these cards.

xxoo

On my first go-round I punched my heart through both the top layer and the card front and then realized I only needed to have the heart punched out of the top layer!  Doh.  Oh, well.  I made it work.

This beautiful scalloped card on Pinterest linked me to Flickr and cheironbrandon’s Photostream.  The card uses lots of different paper and a circle punch with all the little circles layered like shingles or fish scales.  She has lots of other great cards pictured on her Flickr site.  I put on the bottom row and trimmed around the edge of the circles but decided on the next card I’ll try putting the circles down off the bottom edge – seems easier than trimming around them.

Scalloped Love

Another idea from my pins on Pinterest is this dry embossed little heart.  I followed the link and read the great tutorial by Arrounna at Bookhou at Home.
I followed her excellent directions but punched the heart with a small punch rather than cutting it with a craft knife.  I recycled a piece of a cereal box, punched out the heart than used my bone folder to dry emboss the heart onto the card. Check out her tutorial, her site and her shop.

Collage Tag with Embossed Heart

I love how all the white space with the one little heart balances the busy collage tag.  I wrote about the tags here.

Here is my little template for making the dry embossed heart.

Little Heart Template

Hold the template and your card up to a lamp or window to get the heart aligned where you want it.

Let the Light Shine

Here is the resulting heart close up.

Raised Heart

Further inspiration was right at home.  Rem and I have a folding screen that I use to display cards we’ve received (or given each other).  It had been collecting cards (and quite a thick layer of dust) for some time. Dusting it and winnowing down the collection, I saw one of my favorite valentines came from my friend and fellow crafter, Jean.  The screen looks much better now, and we have room for new cards.

Folding Screen w/Cards

Here is the card I made (on the left) inspired by Jean’s valentine.  I love all the details her original has: the tiny circle tag with silver border hanging on the thread, the little red safety pin and the scrap of paper it’s pinned to.  I used a few staples, some washi tape, and added Dianne Dots as an embellishment.  I didn’t have the large heart stamp, so I copied the swooping design freehand.  I’m delighted with the results.

Copycat Card

One last inspiration for this post, but this didn’t result in a card.  Instead it was a little tip that I love and have been using since.  I recently crafted with my sister Kathleen and her friend Michelle.  Michelle creates beautiful Art Journals (more on that in a future post) and she showed me something that seems to obvious and you all probably are doing it and I’m the last to know.  She uses an open magazine to work on.  As soon as her work surface gets wet or sticky with paint or glue, she simply turns to a fresh page!

Glue on Page

Like this…

Inky, Messy Page

I’m constantly sticking part of my project upside down into some adhesive and this way I just turn the page and I have a clean surface to work on.  A friend passes the New Yorker on to me and I like how the slim magazine lies open (of course I read them first).  Inspirational!

I have more Pinterest ideas to try, like this and this and this too, and a month to go before Valentine’s Day is here.

Embellishments

I hope you have found this inspiring.  Thanks for stopping by.

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