Thursday, March 23, 2017

Butterfly Spinner Card - Layer it Up Challenge

I started to write about all the things that I didn't do right on this card, then I thought to myself, "Wait a minute, let's turn this around and talk about what you learned making this card." Because I learned a lot. Just as I did when I made the "Sands through an Hourglass" shaker card, I had to figure out a lot of things to make my butterfly spin, it actually made my head spin for awhile.

I must let you know that I got (borrowed) the idea for this card from Shelly Hickox' Halloween card which had Karen Burniston's Midnight the bat spinning in the middle.

First, you have to have some strong thread to support the butterfly. The best thread I had was some black buttonhole thread - it's pretty strong. Yes, it's black, but clear fishing line, for example, will stretch and wouldn't work. That was one of my first decisions.

Then you have to securely anchor the thread on the butterfly front and back. I used a strip of adhesive tape as well as glue to stick the butterflies together. Now the string is secure within the butterfly.

You have to have a butterfly that will spin within the opening of the card. I picked the smaller butterfly of Tim Holtz Butterfly Duo steel rule die.

I was going to color it with the Ranger crayons, but I thought if someone is going to wind up the card, the color might smear which led me to the decision to emboss the black edging on the butterfly and color the butterflies with my pens. I embossed it using the drop shadow technique from the December 2016 tag (the last tag which I am still sad about).

The pages of the card must be decorated. Since I intend to enter this in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge which is "Layer it Up", I did several layers of stencils to give the background some dimension. There was a steep learning curve here. I love so many of these projects where you can clearly see layer after layer - a stencil layer, texture paste, colors merging beautifully with colors. I have not been able to do that though I have tried. On this project, I first stenciled the Papillon stamp then used one of the new Tim Holtz leafy stencils that just came out. I did several layers with this stencil using a couple of greens and the final layer was the Distress Oxide Peeled paint. In the process of layering I kind of lost my Papillon stamp.
LESSON - Work on layers, keep playing with them until you can start to get some dimension in the backgrounds.

I planned to make a similar lining for the inside of the card, but for some reason I cut the paper in 2 pieces and made one side without making the other side at the same time. Then I found it difficult to make the insides match. I couldn't remember what I did on the first side I made.
LESSON - Make pages that need to match at the same time or make them as one page and then cut them when you are ready to glue them down.

Next is the challenge of anchoring the thread in place. Do that when you glue down the inner panels. That way you don't have to thread a needle and work it through the card to glue the thread down.
LESSON - Think about the order of things when you are gluing.

ANOTHER GLUING LESSON - If you want your flower stems to go behind the fencing the card, it is important to glue them down BEFORE you glue the fence down. Seems like a simple concept but it was easily overlooked.

Those are the major lessons that I learned on this card.

I think the card is a little busy and my decorative elements are a haphazard in the spacing, but overall it's a fun card and at least the butterfly really spins and the fence pops up as it is supposed to. I haven't put a message inside yet, still thinking about that. I am planning to send it to my friend who is having breast reconstruction surgery next month.

I have a 4 second video showing the butterfly spinning that I'll upload when I can figure out how to do that.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Origami Wallet - "You've Got to Know When to Fold 'Em"

This month's Frilly and Funkie challenge is "You've Got to Know When to Fold 'Em" which made me think it is time to share a simple craft that I have been doing for years that I think people might be interested in. First, a little background. I work in a Pediatric ER and sometimes we (the staff) want to let a child know that they have been very brave so we give them a special prize. For years I wrote "Best Patient of the Day" on a label, stuck it on a urine cup and put a dollar inside and gave it to the best patient. One of our patients grew up to be an EMT and told me that he still has his "Best Patient of the Day" urine cup with the dollar still in it because it meant so much to him.

The Origami Wallet - sticker holder. Nothing fancy, just an easy, easy craft to share with a child
Start with a 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbook paper
I tried to think of something a little more fun for kids so I googled "origami wallet" and saw an example made with 6" origami paper. Clearly, that was too small so I figured I could make one with 12" scrapbook paper. That's really how I got into scrapbooking stuff - from going to the craft store frequently and buying pads and pads of scrapbook paper. The other nice thing about this size wallet is that stickers fit perfectly inside.

Here are instructions. I think you can probably make one just from looking at the photos.

Step 1. Fold the paper in half

Step 2. Fold each half to the middle just to the crease line. Try not to fold past the crease line.

Below are the 2 halves folded to the middle.

Step 3. Fold each corner down to so that the fold makes a right triangle that just touches the crease line.

Step 4. Do that for all 4 corners.

Step 4. Fold the flaps back down.

Step 5. Flip the paper over so the folded corners are underneath.

Step 6. This is one of the harder steps. Fold the end up to reveal the folded in corners. The only thing hard is that you fold it just to the tip of the triangle made by the folded corners is visible.

Step 7. Do the same thing with the other side. You need to have it overlap the first side you folded up so you can tuck in the corners to anchor your wallet. See the overlap below.

Step 8. Completed wallet. Ta Dah!! When you close the wallet fold it where it already has the center line crease, no need to make new creases.

Step 9. I found that when I gave it to kids without taping it, the first thing they did was unfold it. They can't help it. So now I tape it in 3 places - a tiny piece where the ends are tucked in and in the middle to hold the paper down inside the wallet.

You can see where the tape holds the tucked in pieces.

Small piece of tape to hold down the paper in the middle. That way stuff doesn't slide in that area which would be hard to reach without unfolding the wallet.

See how nicely stickers fit in the wallet. A dollar for "Best Patient of the Day" fits when folded in half. Usually I hide the dollar behind the stickers so it's more of a surprise for the child.

This is so easy to make and the kids love them. I just thought someone might find the idea useful so I am sharing it on the Frilly and Funkie challenge this month. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New and Improved Steampunk House

I fixed up a couple of issues with the Steampunk House - the base is flattening out mostly on it's own,  added a door frame, added leaves to the flowers AND I took pictures outside on a sunny day to get better color photos of the house.

I took the photos in the shade (my shadow) on a bed of violets. The color is much more accurate here.  I also cut a door frame to match the window frames and I think it highlights the door so much better. You can't really see it here, but I added a few leaves to go around the purple flowers. They just look more finished with some leaves around them.

Just a brief update on the Steampunk house. Now I think it is done.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Steampunk Cottage for St. Patrick's Day

I struggled to think of a design for a St. Patrick's Day house since I had done several of them last year and I wanted to do something different. I have purchased a lot of craft supplies in the past year (serious understatement) that needed to be used. One of my most recent purchases was a set of gear dies from Tim Holtz' 2017 release. I also found some gear Sizzix texture fade folders that I thought would make a good background for the house.

I used one of the house custom dies from last year because I wanted to make the house pretty quickly. Anytime I make a house in less than a week, it's seriously speedy for me.

So here is the Steampunk Cottage for St. Patrick's Day.

I used lots of different elements to decorate the house. I experimented with the new Tim Holtz Ranger Distress Oxide inks - more fun. It really does give a lot of dimension to the colors on the house. This photo has the most accurate color representation.

I put the house on wheels just because I had to have an excuse to use the new Idea-ology pulley wheels. I think they are so cute and add a fun element to a steampunk house. My cardboard base is not exactly flat. It was until I glued the house on top. I am hoping it will flatten out when the house sits there for awhile.

I used the smallest flower from the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die. I cut the flowers out of watercolor paper because it is so nice and heavy and has lovely texture. The paper also absorbed the Ranger Wilted Violet stain beautifully. Then I used an embossing tool to give the flower it's shape and rolled the ends of the petals around a small crochet needle for the curve of the petals. I dabbed some gold paint in the centers of the flowers.

I love the flowers.

I think I may replace the door. It is a little too small for the structure, but I am still debating about that. As you know, a house is never done.

I am going to share this project with several challenges.

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Bit O'Green. I used lots of greens in this project: Distress Oxide Peeled Paint, Ranger Mowed Lawn Distress Paint and Stain, Twisted Citron Paint and Stain, Peeled Paint Paint.

A Vintage Journey - All Aboard - Happy Birthday. I think this is my third entry in this challenge, but it is the first one where I have managed to incorporate wheels for the "All Aboard" aspect of the challenge. I have never entered 3 times in one challenge before. I am inspired.

SanDee and amelie's Steampunk Challenge. This is one of the very first challenges I ever entered over a year ago. I don't often make a project with Steampunk designs but when I do I like to enter this challenge. There are always a lot of cool things in this challenge.

Paper Artsy - Doors, Windows, Architecture Challenge. Well, my little house clearly has a door, windows and architecture (even though I should have made a bigger door). I've never entered the Paper Artsy Challenge before but I have enjoyed their inspiration.

Emerald Creek Dares - Splatter Some Fun. I only splattered a little bit on my house, some by accident. Mostly I splotched things. I splotch a lot. And splotching is fun as well as spattering. There are some cool designs here as  well.

That's it for today. I hope you enjoyed seeing my Steampunk Cottage. I smile every time I walk by it. I think it looks better in real life (really, I will get a good camera and learn how to use it soon).

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a good day. Lucy

Addendum - I took some better pictures which are on the March 19th post. I also added a door frame which looks so much better.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Rose Cottage for A Special Girl

I needed a gift for a friend's daughter so, of course, I made a house since that's what I do. Sometimes I am inspired and feel like everything comes together and the house looks really good. That is what happened with this project, I think.

I made a very simple gable house from a pattern I call the Steep roof house. I love the shape of this house - the same basic shape as the Sea-Worn Beach House. Then I made a second piece for the gable extension on the front. I knew I wanted it to be somewhat rustic so I made paneling with green cardstock that I painted with gesso, Ranger crackle texture paste (my new favorite crafting item), and Ranger Mowed Lawn distress paint. I think it's rustic without being dilapidated. I outlined it in a few places with Ranger distress crayons in Vintage Photo just to make the lines between the planks show up a little better. I glued the planks on before I cut out the window just like Tim Holtz showed us in his video on making the Village Manor. 

I wanted the windows to pop so I cut out the windows from the Village Manor and the Village Bell Tower in a light weight cardboard and painted them with Ranger Picked Raspberry (I thought it was pickled raspberry for the longest time). I used the smaller, less elaborate windows from the Village Bell Tower die on the front side windows because of lack of space.  

The roses are from all sorts of little rollup flower dies on pink cardstock edged with picked raspberry paint. There was a bit of gap between the house and the base which required the roses to obscure the gap. 

The roof is from the Tim Holtz Village Rooftops die made of watercolor paper painted with gesso and a layer of Ranger Distress Spun Sugar. The door is antiqued with Spun Sugar paint as well. I probably should have used Picked Raspberry for that though. The little front step is a piece of wood I scavenged from my brother's shop. I painted it with Distress Pumice Stone paint. 

The base has a spot cut out for 2 LED lights so the house will light up. It's about 5-6 layers of corrugated cardboard glued together with the very top layer smaller than the others so I could made it curve a little and look like a hill. I used some left over brown packing paper for paper mache to cover the cardboard. I painted it a darker green that was kind of shiny and too bright so I toned it down with some Distress Grit Paste, a little yellow, Distress Mowed Lawn and then splotches of the darker green to look like a lawn that was just starting to grow in the spring.

I needed a picket fence for this country house so I used a die from La La Land that cuts cardboard pretty easily and glued 3 layers together painted with gesso and Martha Stewart Mother of Pearl paint. It's white with just a little sheen to it. 

After I saw the photos, I realized I neglected to paint the edges of the paper on the roof. I went back and did that. I also took pictures while some of the glue was drying. Sometimes when I am giving a house as a gift I have a deadline that I must meet and I have to take pictures while the glue is still wet.  

I am going to share this project with 4 challenges:
A Vintage Journey - All Aboard  This is a birthday challenge for A Vintage Journey celebrating their 3rd year. My project is a birthday present for a 3-year-old who turns 4 tomorrow. It's vintage but not too grungy. Perfect for the challenge, I hope.
Stamps and Stencils - Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep which is a celebration of birds. I don't have many birds on this project, but just like last year on my Easter houses, I added a bird on the top because I know the little girl will enjoy having a birdie on her little house.
Country View Challenges - Inspired by Tim Holtz - The basic house shape is one I designed myself, but many of the other aspects of the Rose Cottage are inspired by Tim - the crackled siding, the roses, the rooftop, almost all of the colors, the grit paste on the lawn, etc. I guess the big thing about his inspiration is that his products and teaching let our imagination carry out things we couldn't have done otherwise.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope the transition from winter to spring is going well for you. Our weather is confused which means it confuses the trees too. Mostly I worry about the peach trees in my area of South Carolina because we have a few very cold days coming up after seriously spring-like weather for the past couple of weeks.