Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vietri for IC Challenge

 I have emerged from my self-imposed exile, where I spent days upon days in my 'art studio' (aka 'junky space where I craft') meditating on my first projects as a member of the Dirty Dozen and what I could improve on.


Oh, Lord...I barely got through that one without crying so hard the tears ran down my legs (TY, Susie, for teaching me that one!!)

I've been in the old craft room, yes. But ruminating? Meditating? Only if those words came to mean "Eating ho-ho's while doing some online shopping with the new credit card my DH has no clue exists." If that's the case, then by all means, yes...I was DEFINITELY 'meditating.'

The IC challenge was Vietri. My aunt Ruth owns a shop in Manteo (the Outer Banks) and has sold a few pieces here and there. I've loved this brand for a LONG time. Here's my inspiration piece http://www.vietri.com/natura-acorn-large-oval-platter.

I took espresso paper and translucent embossing paste and a tree stencil and embossed the image on the brown paper. When it was dry, I covered it with 3 coats of acrylic white paint.

My original intent was to sand off the top of the embossing and let the brown peek through. Unfortunately, I learned too late that 3 coats of acrylic paint is a bit too much for my SU! sanding block to handle.

Never fear, though...remember that mama done bought herself a Dremel and that sucker not only has a sanding attachment, it's ELECTRIC!!!

Not ONLY did it make short work of sanding the top layer of paint off the embossed image, it ALSO does wonders on sanding down toenails, gel or acrylic nails and rough paper edges.

Ed. Note: While your paper edges will be smooth if you use the Dremel, there won't be much paper left after the fact. Not to mention the first 2 or 3 layers of skin on your fingers will join the scraps of paper fluff on the floor, as paper is a little too flimsy to be using a Dremel to sand it. If you do this then, like the author of this post, you deserve it for inventing crisis in which to justify your use of power tools. That is all.

At the end of it all, I tied a chocolate cotton (?) ribbon around it and ran a piece of copper through my big shot, over a leaf on the SU! Bigz die. I heated it with my heat gun (it would've been better had my DH approved my request for the acetylene torch I've been begging for, but it was not to be...at least for NOW-evil grin) and attached it with mounting tape.

I'm not sure how I pulled off 6-pretty intense-projects in less than 10 days, when it takes me 2 days to make a card and get it photographed for the IC challenge. But I AM trying to catch up as best I can, you can rest assured. Just be patient with me as I get my groove back.

Besides, you can only work so fast when one hand is constantly holding a ho-ho.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Color Challenge Guest Designer Redux

Oh, boy. What a day.

You know, there's nothing more in this world that irritates me more than a great day being constantly interrupted by need for parenting.

I have three boys. Every day, I leave them food AND water (hey...they have their own bowls!) and I have purchased every game system and handheld electronic ever invented just so I am free from parenting.

Don't look at me like that. You tell me a more thankless job than parenting. Go ahead! See? As a parent, it isn't possible for you to do anything right, understand 'what it's like' because 'it wasn't like that when YOU were my age' and last but not least "you wouldn't REALLY abandon us at Wal-Mart, would you?"

Wait. That one didn't belong there. But, for the record, I assure them that I would NEVER abandon them at Wal-Mart.

I'd make sure it was Target, or somewhere similar.

Every kid needed something 'this second' today. One broke a rule and didn't get to stay after school for one of his activities. He made it a point to skulk around and give me looks as if I had sentenced him to be drawn and quartered. The middle one wanted to show me magic trick after magic trick and every single time I looked for the youngest, I caught him trying to slip outside without pants.

SIDENOTE: The youngest is high functioning Autistic. For a long time, I thought (and was told) that autistic kids had a sensory aversion to clothes and liked to be naked. I don't buy that anymore. Because, if you think about it, who really WANTS to wear pants anyway?

Just as I was getting a handle on the color challenge, the DH calls and asks if I'm ready to go to the PTA meeting.

Needless to say, I was a little...okay...maybe quite a bit late in getting my card in. Which isn't the most polite thing to do since you happened to be asked to appear as a Guest Designer AGAIN by the challenge hostess.

I also might've been a little behind because I spent 2 days trying to figure out how to one-up myself after building a CAROUSEL!! How am I supposed to do that??? Sigh.

The colors were difficult for my card because I went the Christmas/Wreath route. Finally, in desperation, I sponged orange and yellow and a little red and stuck the wreath on 2 pieces of mounting tape and called it a day.

Thanks so much for asking me back this week!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fabrege' Eggs

I found this tutorial here http://artfullymusing.blogspot.com/2...ge-making.html and she has some real beauties. She also made a 3D egg and, although there's no real tutorial, I'm going to try my hand at that as well. Her egg 'design papers' are collages and they can be purchased if you like. The rest was me finding out about (and falling in love with) Dresden gold ornaments and accents, as well as finally playing with changing the colors of metals that I learned here at SCS a long time ago and never did!! But I'm also dabbling in a little bit of mechanics and engineering with mixed media and I have to tell you...I'm simply enthralled.

Monday, September 29, 2014

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, adieu

Oh, how I hate this is the last challenge in which I am a Color Challenge Goddess!

Sorry...not 'Goddess'. I meant "Guest Designer". Got a little mixed up. They both have the letter 'G' and some vowels.

For my final project, I bring you the Color Challenge Christmas Carousel! At just over 12 inches, this sucker is the largest project I've ever papercrafted.

For now. heh heh

Remember last week's challenge? Of course you don't!! That was my PLAN!! I had to do something to erase the shame and failure I felt after throwing a tantrum (and then my project!) and having only a couple of hours to come up with an ornament. I'd appreciate if you'd believe that I did all that on purpose, and that I really didn't produce something that lackluster...that it was only to lower your expectations so I could spring THIS on you. It would REALLY make things easier for me if you'd be so kind as to believe that bull hockey.

Now, for those of you who saw my "Ibuprofen in a Pez Dispenser" listed as one of my techniques, I'll have you know that I was making a joke. I would NEVER keep something like Ibuprofen in a Pez Dispenser!

It's my anti-anxiety meds that go in the Pez.

Before you start yelling at me about safety issues, I'll have you know that my children are never at risk for accidentally taking any meds from said Pez. My children go pale and threaten to apply for a foster parent if I so much as TRY to make them take a VITAMIN. So, no danger there. Besides, keeping my meds in this way actually HELPS the medicine work more effectively! I mean, really..,how anxious can you really be when you go to take your meds and you have to tilt the head of Homer Simpson and have him regurgitate a pill through his neck? It's downright hilarious!

Keeping a med-filled Pez Dispenser is also convenient. Just ask my Mother-in-Law. No, really...you'll have to ask her. She's not really speaking to me. But hey...had SHE kept her 'nerve pills' in a Pez Dispenser instead of sewn into her bra lining (which I-trying to be helpful-put into the washing machine) then she would've had her pills and we would still have our twice a year visits!

What? I'm a little choked up! I am NOT laughing! You're imagining things.

I also maintain it's much safer to keep my meds stored in my PD. It's not like anyone would think to steal it...they're looking for cash and ACTUAL medicine bottles! In fact, I don't think ANYONE would EVER steal a Pez Dispenser. What would they want with it? The candy?? Those little brick-like (in shape AND consistency!) pellets that look like what a chipmunk would eat and a rabbit would poop? GAK!

Well, my friends, it looks like I've not only come to the end of the challenge, but the end of this story. Which I had no intention of telling. But the strangest things happen when I drink wine and then decide to spray paint random embellishments metallic gold!!

In closing, I've got to thank the Color Challenge Coordinator, Hostesses and DT. Barbara, Margaret, Karen, Becky, Vicki and Mary, I will NEVER forget this experience and the fact you asked me means more than you'll ever know. I want to send all of you big hugs and MUCH love! This is the FIRST time I've been selected to do anything like this and it meant the world to me. Love also to Pat, the other Guest Designer, and one fine artist! Today, Pat and I will bask in the glow of glory. Tomorrow, we'll be sobbing on each others shoulder.

Not for long, though. I've got my Pez Dispenser and I'm NOT afraid to use it.

By the way, THIS is my craft room after being hunkered down for 3 days with this project and a few smaller ones going on. Welcome to MY world! LOL

The DARK side of crafting...


My Last Resort

So, I'm sitting here today and I called out for my husband's help. I try NEVER to do that. Mostly, with marriage being pretty much a game of 'one up', unless I'm really far ahead (which is usually the case) I try to not tap into that credit line by allowing myself to get indebted to him. But I finally had to break down and ask for his help in fixing my webcam so I can produce my FIRST crafting video (which will probably make me insufferable...well, more insufferable than usual...) and I knew that to make this happen, I’d have to tap into the reserves to get a little technical help.

I’d like to point out how incredibly desperate I am to do a video. The last time I cashed out all of my ‘one-up’ balance was when I broke down and finally begged him to install a program on my computer that would make it possible to unzip that 772 vintage collage files I’ve been collecting for when I’m brave enough to venture into mixed media. I’m telling you, it hurt.

I’d JUST come off a stellar week of hitting the jackpot of ‘one up’ points almost daily. There was the speaker in the attic that fell and punched a hole in the ceiling (I’d TOLD him just two days before that he should go check the attic because I heard some thumps) and then the meeting he missed with our insurance agent and, the coup d’├ętat, he forgot to pick up one of the kids from school.

I’m telling you people I could’ve opened my own CRAFT store with the bonus points from THAT week!


Now, I’m waiting for him to come solve all my webcam and software problems. I could hear the unbridled joy in his voice as he called to me to wait and that he’d be there to help me and that he’d also hang out edit the video for me.

If I weren’t so anxious to show everyone how marvelous I am on video, I’d be sick. SICK, I tell you.

So, flash forward to Monday afternoon.

It has been a downer of a week up to this point; the unzip program crashed, my video software isn’t handling marvelous-ness, apparently, and my children are still plotting against me. When they’re not asking for a ride somewhere or money or contacts that make their eyes red. Seriously. Red eyes. Santa is totally you-know-what this year.

But despite all that, I had ONE thing going for me. I kept thinking, “I’ve got this awesome card that I can’t WAIT to preview at the color challenge!”
I’d been working on it Friday and Saturday. It was 2 stairstep card with an entire 5 and ½ inch flat panel in the back. It sported a staircase with evergreen branches and poinsettias running down the railing, a window with greenery on top that looked out to a winter blue snowy skies and evergreen trees topped with snow (thank you, liquid applique!) and I’d just assembled the huge fireplace (with evergreen, Christmas ornament garlands, etc.) to take up the wall under the staircase on the second stair, when tragedy struck.

Side note: Ok. It wasn’t like an ‘Act of God’ or anything. I had a massive glue incident and I overreacted.

The first mistake I made was to panic and start pulling things apart. Of course, this would be the FIRST time that Glossy Accents completely dried in 2.5 seconds instead of the usual 7-10 and when the first rip occurred, I MIGHT have lost my temper and it COULD be that I ended up throwing my challenge entry against the wall at 7pm on Monday night when said entry is due in 3 hours. It’s POSSIBLE that I used words that were so bad that my own grandma would’ve been motivated to rise from the dead just to cut a switch and beat my tail.

PERHAPS it resulted in me (while still spewing a litany of profanities) having to pull together a chipboard ornament in 2 and ½ hours when something like this takes me a day of thinking about it and a couple of days to put it together.

Whatever the case MAY have been, I now present you with this ornament that is CASEd because I saw it a long time ago but have no idea who did it and, if I may be so blunt, I don’t care at this point.

In short, it’s been a long, long, LONG week. I NEED to go to bed, then arise in the morning to see the promise of a new day (as long as I see said promise after I have sufficiently caffeinated myself and taken the meds that that are pretty good about preventing me from tearing up challenge products..well, for the MOST part.) The bottom line is, I have to stop being an overachiever. I can’t do everything for everyone. I need to take better care of ME.

I see now that I really shouldn’t have pushed myself so hard.
That’s right…there was NO reason to force myself to get through an entire week completely sober. I certainly won’t make THAT mistake again!!

Just So's Y'all Know I WASN'T KIDDING!!!

 I want to start by thanking Mary and Peggy for not subjecting me to the Rack, expulsion or...even worse...a terse email, as the chaos (which is my life!) impinges on their running of the color challenge.

I love Mary and Peggy. I love all the girls at the CC. I'm sure that NONE of them expected the 'crazy' that seems to accompany me everywhere I go. Suffice it to say, however, that since next week is my last as a guest designer on CC, I am now working on TWO projects (with blank spaces for designated colors...and yes...I CAN do that! heh heh) and will not subject anyone (including ME) to last minute accidents that force me to look at a sentiment stamped askew for the rest of my life. Not to mention subject my OCD to said sentiment and work IT up into such a frenzy that I want to go fetal in the corner-with wine and chocolate (or bypass all the niceties and go straight to the Xanax) and rock myself to sleep.

I'm posting this because....(furtively looking around and lowering voice) I wanted you to know that I MAY, once and a while, exaggerate...um...things. SHHHHHHHH. Keep your voice down!

However, while I may 'take comedic license' (show biz and media word for 'lie like a rug') with the events of my life, I want you to know that there IS a bit of truth behind it.

Here lies the (unfinished) wreckage of my CC project for today. It's STILL lying on the table to my right, where I flung it in frustration before barreling down the path of the CASEd Christmas Ornament from a person I don't remember. I snapped this shot and as I began writing this, my DH walked in and said, "So. That's it? You know...it really doesn't look bad at all in the picture. You can't tell anything's wrong with it. You can't even tell those fold things (the first two stairsteps) are torn off and that you just pushed them together for the shot. You know, you could've just thrown some other stuff on it and faked it. It's not like you have to send it in to have anyone authenticate it."

With that, he walked out.

Sometimes, I wonder if he feels the homicidal vibes that are directed right at him...usually following moments such as these...and then I realize that he can't possibly sense them.

Because if he did, his A** would be running out of the house AND state, faster than you could blink.

I hope you appreciate this little peek into the 'cray-cray' that is my world. Don't get me wrong...I love it. I wouldn't survive in a traditional household. The DH says HE would and, as always, I encourage him to find one as quickly as he can. But for some reason, he stays.

Probably because HE'S the one with the big 'one-up' account balance, now. ;)

**NOTE**The sentiment that drove me (and my OCD) to distraction HAD to go. I ripped the flower and lace off and put new Honey paper (which turns to peach when you damped down the color with vanilla, it seems) on it. I have no idea what to fill the space with, but better a blank space than subjecting the two of us to that sentiment which brought neither 'Peace' nor 'Joy'. :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Secret Garden #2-Nancy's Place

My very good friend Nancy is one of the people who keeps me crafting and I love her for that!

Even if I'm feeling a little burned out or frustrated because NO ONE is reading this blog, or like my MOJO ran off and filed a restraining order on me or the times when I look around at all the craft stuff I've accumulated and never figured out how to use and I don't know how to smuggle it OUT of the house now that DH is working from home, Nancy is ALWAYS there with a pat on the back and a sweet comment.

She really seems to like my work alot. Which IS troubling at times. Because, let's face it...my work is certainly not THAT stellar or groundbreaking. I wonder if Nancy's support is due to her having terrible taste in art or is due to her feeling sorry for me? Or both?

Like I REALLY care which one it is...she LOVES ME! HAH!

In all seriousness, I adore her and she IS one of the most supportive friends I've got. So, when I asked her what she would have in her Secret Garden, she said, "A swing and a brook".


Nancy's tree was made from clay, as was the swing bottom. Both were painted with different browns of distress stain. The brook is made of glossy accents and microbeads, the moss surrounding it is real. I LOVE the little turtle and frog playing around there! The book is Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and, if you look closely at the leaves on the upper left, you MIGHT see a tiny Fairy flitting about.

Thank you to Nancy for this inspiration! And an even BIGGER thank you for your support!