Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preview for "Based on a Book"

I could not believe this Monday's challenge on Simon Says Stamp - it's "Based on a Book". I was so surprised because I am working on a book project for Houses for Habitat which I might actually be able to finish this week. Of course, it is still an out-of-season Halloween house, but it's pretty cool. See what you think.

Here is a brief preview.



I love this Tim Holtz stamp which came out last Halloween season. I decided to make a house based on this design. I greatly simplified the house, but I think you can see the resemblance. I also decided to hand draw the windows to retain that aspect of the house stamp.




Here is the house in the "book" I am still deciding on background elements: Is the twilight sky too bright, the grass too light? What color to paint the ground below the house? Do I continue the colors of the sky around the sides of the box? What about the facing page - color it like a scene or make it like a facing page in a book? Do I need a moon or a cloud or something hanging from the sky - a witch or a bat? What about a tree? What is the best fence and how do I incorporate it in front of the house (maybe behind)? Etc, etc.

Then there is always the issue of the front cover and spine - how to decorate these parts? That's why my projects take me weeks. It's not the actually making of the project, but the decisions about what to include.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

"Transport It" Challenge - Bike trip page

I've wanted to make a mini-scrapbook with my favorite photos from my bike trip ever since I came back. I've been busy doing other things, but this week's Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is "Transport It" so I decided to make at least a page for this scrapbook.


I used a page from Eileen Hull's passport book and stenciled it with the United States using the new Distress Oxide ink/paints. Very fun. Then I cut out my favorite photo of myself from the trip - my favorite partly because I remembered to suck in my belly when my brother took the photo. I also used one of Tim Holtz' new mini motivation stamps because it is so appropriate for how I felt on the trip as I crawled up the mountains every day. I used some Idea-ology elements that were perfect as well.

It's not anything fancy, but I like it.




Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have a lovely day.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Halloween Houses for Habitat

Good news! I talked to the director of development for Habitat for Humanity in my county and got permission to sell my houses as a fundraiser for their group. I am very happy about that. My goal is to make between 20-30 houses and have them on display at a local art gallery during the month of October this year. That's actually a lot of houses for me to make by that time. I've got several left over from last year that didn't sell and now I've finished 3 so far.


That explains why I am making Halloween houses in February. Here is my most recent house which doesn't have a name. I was going to put this house on wheels and call it "Moving Day" or "On the Move" but I can't find the type wheels I want (which is the Tim Holtz Idea-ology mini-pulley wheels because they aren't available yet). I wanted to enter it in the Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge "Transport It". But then I figured that the moving concept doesn't really match the house so I dropped that idea. The Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge, however, is "Anything Goes" so even my out-of-season house fits that challenge.


Often I use the Tim Holtz "Branch Tree" as the tree in the background but I figured if I am going to try to sell it at an art gallery I should draw an original tree at least some of the time. This one I drew on cardboard, painted and cut out with an exacto knife. It's a little more fragile than my usual trees, but more artistic (I tell myself).


I also wanted the fence to be less prominent so I build up layers of cardboard to put the house above the fence.


I made the rusted tin roof again. It is so easy and pretty realistic as well.


The house shape is cut from a die I had custom made. It's much thinner that most of the house dies I have, but I made it that way to I could use it on smaller bases, in a book or a configuration box. Also I can add an extension while keeping it as a smaller house.

That's it for now. I am working on a project for the Simon Says Stamp "Transport It" Challenge which I hope to have done before the Monday deadline. I hope you are doing well and thank you for looking at my blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Roses for "Fantastic Florals" Challenge

The Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge this week is "Fantastic Florals" - perfect for learning how to make roses. It wasn't too long ago when I read a tutorial on making roses on Jennie's Live the Dream blog. I needed an excuse so I could experiment with the technique and the challenge is well timed. What did I learn?, First, that it's not too hard to make pretty roses and it's fun.

I decided to make some cards for two friends I don't see very often. Here are the cards below.



I tried to stencil a rose background with Distress Spun Sugar stain that I blotted on the top of the stencil. Error. The stain is too thin so it soaks under the stencil and just made a large pink blob. The good news is that I used the stain on top of the stencil to make the background below. That worked very nicely on watercolor paper.

The sentiment is from Tim Holtz "Simple Saying" Stamps.



The final challenge to this challenge is to figure out how to mail these without squashing the roses. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

The French Bake Shop

I bought a set of stamps last year that I thought would could be turned into a nice little bake shop. I finally came up with a design that I like.

Here is the French Bake Shop or La Patisserie.






I am sharing this project in Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge "Use Your Favorite Tool". My favorite tool?? Dies. I love dies. I love things that cut stuff out for me. The ironic thing about this project though is that the house itself is the simple gable house that I cut out by hand. Here I used dies to cut out the windows. Second favorite tool? Cardboard! Maybe it's not a tool, but it is the substrate that I use for almost all my projects. I LOVE CARDBOARD. As I said in a post a long time ago, I am a cardboard connoisseur.

Third favorite tool? Stamps. I am beginning to appreciate stamps and what you can do with them. There's no way I could have gotten the lovely bakery items in the windows without stamps. These stamps are designed by Claire Brennan of Gina K designs.

I painted the house with Ranger's Spun Sugar Distress paint and Walnut Distress paint for the doors and woodwork. The awning is Ranger's Picked Raspberry and Tumbled Glass. I stamped the bakery goodies on clear acetate with permanent black ink that I heat set gently so the acetate would not warp, but the permanent ink would actually dry and not smear. Then I painted the stamped side with more distress paints. The smooth backside of the acetate was glued to the front of the window. I did that to protect the paint and stamp outlines which are now on the inside of the building and can't be scratched.

What would I do differently next time? There's always something to do to improve every project. I would make curves on the roof to match the awning. That's not really that hard to do. The front awning itself would look better if it was cut out separately and gently curved and backed so that it stands proud of the front of the shop. I think the window on the door would look so nice if is was cut out too. The baked goods actually look better when they are backed with white. I might try stamping them on velum to see if that would make them show up better because they have such nice detail.

That's it for this week's Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge project. I am working on some flowers for the Wednesday challenge which is "Fantastic Florals".

Friday, February 10, 2017

Valentine Cards to be mailed

I have 2 cards to show you today. There should be 4 cards, but I mailed 2 of them before I took a picture. I had 2 of them all nice and sealed to go and realized that I didn't take any pictures. I am entering 2 challenges with this card (the first card below), Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge which is "Young at Heart". A dog is always young at heart and keeps us young as well. The Frilly and Funkie challenge is "Be My Valentine".



I used a ray of sunshine stencil in the background and tried to color it like the sun was setting. It worked out pretty well. The dog is included in the design because I am sending this card to a dog lover like it is a valentine from her dog. It's the same idea for the one below.


I am experimenting with techniques so I used some texture paste on another Tim Holtz stencil and then colored the dried paste with the distress crayons. I realized that I could do kind of an ombre effect to draw the heart in the background. This card is messier than the others. I'm not as pleased with it. I still think it's kind of cute, I just needed to work on some details more. I had to finish tonight because it has to go in the mail tomorrow. 

I hope you have a Happy, Loving, Creative Valentine's Day. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Birdhouse Cuckoo Clock

My project this week is a birdhouse cuckoo clock. I like this one very much. It ended up looking more like what I envisioned than the clock houses usually do. I used some Stampendous Stamps for the birds and made the birdhouse out of the same pattern as I made the doghouse in the previous post. I'm experimenting with texture and color so this one is much brighter than most of the things I make.



I put it on a blue cardboard background cut from the Sizzix Tim Holtz Plaque and Postage on the edge die.  The house itself I covered with a texture fade die that I colored with the Tim Holtz crayons. The color is so nice and smears so nicely. Smearing color is always fun.

The large trees are from a classic Sizzix Christmas tree die and the small ones are from a new Hero Arts Christmas die.

The weights at the bottom of the clock always end up being a challenge for me. I thought about making some hearts to hang below but then I thought that was too cutesy. I considered flowers, but I didn't really have any dies that I thought would work. My friend, Alison, has a great design sense and suggest pine cones which is what real cuckoo clocks have hanging down. She thought a real pine cone would be good, but I am committed to my cardboard to I drew and cut out an abstract pine cone shape. I think that works too.

I made this house with the idea of several of my favorite challenges in mind. I'm sharing with the following online craft challenges:

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - The Color of Love

Creative Carte Blanche - Love is in the Air

Mixed Media Mojo - Love is in the Air

Stamps and Stencils - Texture, Crackle and Paint 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

In the Dog House

This week's Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is called "Pets Corner". I had just the idea for it - using the Crazy Dogs series by Tim Holtz. Of course, I had to make a house as well - a dog house this time.



I made a very simple gable house pattern which is versatile and will be used on other houses which you will see soon. I covered it with cardboard that I had painted to look like old wood and cut out the dog house front. I made simple yellow shingles by cutting some cardboard.

I stamped 2 doggies - one for inside the house and one outside. It finally occurred to me that the dog in the house looked like he didn't want to be there and the dog outside the house felt like he was free and clear and would never be in the dog house. I made some word bubbles conveying these thoughts.


For me, this was a relatively simple project which took less than a week. I've been making another house from the same pattern at the same time. The decor on it is more elaborate, however. I'm going to post it on a few different challenges. I might get it done today, but probably tomorrow.