Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bike Tour Update

I've tried to post pictures from my trip here using my iPad but I can't seem to do so. I will posting photos on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bike Tour 2016 - A Downhill Tour of the Sierra Cascades

I am getting ready to go on my bike trip. I leave Thursday morning and start the ride proper the next day.

I would be able to be very crafty for a couple of months so I will have to content myself with creative imaginings. I did get an iPad pro with a pencil so I can draw at least.

The journal I keep will be on the website - Crazyguyonabike.com. My title is "A Downhill Tour of the Sierra Cascades" so named because if you look at the map and ride from North to South it looks downhill. Of course, that is not the reality. This route - the Sierra Cascades - is actually the hilliest route that the Adventure Cycling Association has mapped. That's ok. I can handle it, slowly no doubt, but I will plod along and finish. This route goes from the US-Canadian border at Sumas, Washington to the US-Mexico border at Tecate. From there I will ride to San Diego and then take a train back to SC.

My specific journal on crazy guy can be found on this link - A "Downhill" Tour of the Sierra Cascades.

I have a lot to do. Talk to you later.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Haunted Houses for Halloween 2016

Well, the Halloween houses are done for this year. I am pretty happy with the collection. I always hope to do more, but every house takes so long. I think I did one house that took only 2 days, but most take 2 weeks or more.


I really enjoyed experimenting with the Tim Holtz Village dwelling house dies. I learned how to modify them and I absolutely love the roof dies. That really helps with the personality of the houses and makes the roofs so much easier.

I'm selling some non-Halloween houses as well that I will include in a different post.

Have fun creating, ok?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Possessed? No Re-Possessed - The Haunted Manor #2

I've just finished my second Haunted Manor using the Tim Holtz Village Manor die by Sizzix. I decided (as I always do) to make it a little different from the first Haunted Manor. I made a Clock Manor and it evolved from there.

I turned the rectangular base that the mansard roof sits out so that the wide face is forward. That leaves more room for the 13 hour clock. I had to cut out a v-shaped section for the gable front to fit it. I just used the same angle as the ones on the sides since the pitch of the roof is the same.

See where I cut the v-shape for the gable front
I struggle with using color. I am so much more comfortable with black and grey and dark colors. My choice for this house is Ranger's Distress Stain in Peeled Paint over my drawing of random boards. 

One unintentional detail you may notice here is that I didn't exactly glue it on straight. That's ok - it's a haunted house anyway. 

Because I turned the upper part sideways, there was no room for a chimney on the roof so I made a chimney that goes on the side. I colored it with Distress Fired Brick color which was a little too pink for my liking. In order to tone that down I distressed it seriously with Black Soot which is appropriate for the chimney.

Since this Village Manor has come out there are more and more projects that you can find on Pinterest or Instagram. I will truthfully say I borrowed some ideas from what I found. One idea was not on the house, but on the new die "Lost Zombie" also by Tim Holtz and Sizzix. Nicole Wright on her blog, Canadiannickelscrapn.blogspot.ca made a project called "Zombie Walk". The zombie has chains on his wrists. I thought it was a seriously cool detail. Since I mostly make houses I wondered how I could add a chain to the house. Also her Village Manor house had lots of boarded up windows. That got me thinking as well - what if I chain the door closed? I had to experiment for a while to get the tiny chain to drape around the little brad doorknobs, but I was finally able to do it.

Then the other really cool die that has come out is the Gothic Gate die - which lead me to think about chaining that gate shut as well. Finally the idea evolved into not a "possessed" house, but a "re-possessed" house. Kind of funny for a haunted house to my way of thinking.

The other idea I borrowed was from Annette Green's Whimsical Haunted Village. She made 3 adorable houses with Graphic 45 papers and the Village Dwelling sets of dies. On her Manor house she used the shutters under the Manor window piece which I really liked as a detail. I was only able to do it on 3 windows because the front windows are too small and one side of windows my haunted manor is obscured by the chimney, but it looks really good on the side where it is visible. You can see it on the photo above. Annette is teaching a class called Whimsical Haunted Village in September in Florida - not even very far away from me. If I wasn't riding my bike, I would be heading that way. I bet the class will be a blast.

Well, I am just about done with my crafting before my trip. I plan on taking all my little houses to the hospital tomorrow to start selling them. It's kind of a pain getting all that together, but I really need to get it done.

Oh, here are some updated photos of the first Haunted Manor - I added a bat and an owl. I think it helps the house from looking so stark.

Ya'll take care.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Rook's Book - Creative Carte Blanche Challenge

You know I love to make books, even if they are kind of wonky. This book is definitely a little wonky, but still pretty fun to make and the inside looks cool even if the outside looks funny.

Here are some photos of previous books I've made:

This book actually opens and closes pretty well, but it probably took me a week to get it to work.
Same book as above. 
This book is glued shut. That was easy.
Another book base that does not open. This is one of my favorites.
This book doesn't open either, but there is a light in the back which allows the owls eyes to light up. 
So I just got a new phone for my bike trip and of course I had to buy a sturdy phone protector. Well, wouldn't you know it, the box the phone protector came in looked like a book to me.

I had been planning to make a diorama or something with one of the new Tim Holtz stamps - the Manor stamp which is so beautiful and detailed, so I decided to make a book instead. The challenge with making a book is making it so that it opens. I can do it, but that's where the wonkiness is most apparent. You will witness that in just a moment. I also wanted to make something for the Creative Carte Blanche challenge this month which is "Sun, Moon, and/or Stars". I've done a couple of challenges that involved celestial bodies so all I did was submit my most recent halloween house with a moon stuck in the back. This time I wanted to make something where the moon (the celestial body in this case) was a more integral part of the design.

Here it is - I'm calling this project the Rook's Book because Spellbinders called this embossing folder - The Noble Rook. A Rook is a sociable bird in the crow family that has grayish-white face which is supposedly easily distinguished from a crow though I find that hard to believe.

Cover in open position- that's because it really doesn't want to close.
Inside of the Rook's Book
Close-up of the Rook's Book
I recently took the Tim Holtz' Summer of Creative Chemistry classes and decided to use some of the techniques I learned about - sort of. Mostly I embraced his major point which is experiment with your materials. As a result the background used Distress Crayons, inks, stains, sprays, paints - a little of everything. 

I stained and embossed the house almost exactly as Kim Mathura described in her tutorial because I think the way she did the Manor looks so incredible.

I cut out 4 layers of the gate, glued them together and then glued them in front of the house. The gate is also highlighted with a black shimmer wax so it would stick out a little better. I used a bat suspended on a string for a little movement in the sky.

The inner cover is new Tim Holtz stamp what makes a lovely background to the owl stamp. It looks like old wallpaper to me. I will be using that stamp over and over.

Well, that's it for now. I hope to post some details on making some of the Haunted Holtzville houses in a day or two.

Have fun and be safe with the scissors.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly - August 2016 tag Inspiration

As I was riding my bike today, I was on the lookout for the yellow butterflies that love the Joe Pye Weed. I was finally able to some fairly decent photos when I was on the downhill (thank goodness) portion of the ride.

These are Tiger Swallowtail butterflies and they are everywhere which I love. This first photo is a just a picture of Joe Pye Weed after the butterfly flew away. See the color is kind of odd. I guess you could call it a dusty rose.

Tiger Swallowtail on Joe Pye Weed

My brother and I got going kind of late so we only did 30 miles but it was all in the mountains around here with about 3500 feet of climbing in 90 degree temps. Several times on our rides lately we have gotten rained on but not today, though I would have welcomed it. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Tim Tag August 2016

Finally finished the August Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016. It is actually a card I made for a friend of mine who has 2 more months of chemo. The card was inspired by all the butterflies I see when I ride my bike. It is stunning to see them dancing everywhere. It just makes me happy. Lately they have been gathering nectar from Joe Pye Weed which has this odd light purple color on flower stalks that are 4-6 feet tall. I didn't think I could copy the color so most of the wildflowers are meant to be Queen Anne's lace which I love as well.

I am new to using a lot of the products used in the 12 tags so sometimes I don't get it. I was able to do the techniques, but I didn't realize how overwhelming my background was. It needed to be much more subtle. When I reviewed other tags I finally realized this, but my butterfly and flowers were glued down at that point and I really didn't want to make any more (as I still have Halloween houses to make!!)

The other kind of goofy thing I did was sew around the edge by hand. My sewing machine is 2 feet from my crafting area, but I didn't feel like moving my box of tools and cleaning the craft table just to put a few stitches on the card. As a result I did a blanket stitch all around the card. It looks ok, but I think some simple accent machine stitching would have been better.

Well, there you have it for August. I don't think I'll be able to do the next couple of months tags as I am going on a 2400-mile bike trip which is very exciting. I'm taking an iPad Pro that I can draw on and I'm going to take pictures of inspiring houses for my little cardboard houses as my creative outlet. I'll be posting a blog somewhere, haven't decided exactly where yet, but I will let you know.

Ya'll take care.