New Year’s Craft … Resolutions?

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As I think I mentioned in my last blog post, I haven’t been doing much papercrafting in a long time.  Life circumstances limited my free time, and also I was concentrating on my creative writing for a while.  But now with the new year, I want to get back to crafting.  I feel the lack when I don’t do it.  It is nourishing to me.

So there are a few things I’d like to do in the new year — not really resolutions, per se, but activities to set myself up for more crafting in 2017:

  1. Weed my magazines: “weeding” is what we call it in library science when we remove unused and beat-up books from the collection, and that is what I’d like to do with my papercrafting magazines.  Go through them, and discard (recycle) the ones I don’t want or no longer need.  Flip through each one and remove any projects I do like, keep them in a binder, and recycle the parts I don’t need.  I also have many catalogues from various companies that are obsolete, and several jewelry-making magazines that I no longer use.  I have a stack of unread magazines on my dining room table and it is time to make room for them.
  2. Pre-cut some word dies: I like the look of die-cutting, but I really don’t enjoy the act of die-cutting.  I hate wrestling my brute of a Big Kick around, and my electronic cutter, an eBosser, has issues of its own.  So I think it would be productive to just buckle down one evening, watch some TV, and mass-cut some dies for future use.  Especially word dies, which I can easily cut using my Spellbinders Sapphire, which is a small-format die cutting machine.  It’s cutting surface is only 2.75 inches, so it’s tiny, easy to carry, and perfect for cutting word dies and other small dies like banners and small images.
  3. Plotting out dates for card mailing:  If I have any actual craft New Year’s Resolution, it is to actually send more of the cards that I make.  I often forget people’s birthdays and other important events. So, I copied some planning pages from a card-making book I checked out from the library, and I should spend some time going through my address book and the calendar, and noting down birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates for card-sending.  Then I will have one place to glance at for my card mailing info, and I’ll be able to use it indefinitely.
  4. De-stash and send RAKs:  That’s a “random act of kindness.”  A couple of the papercrafting groups I belong to on Facebook have lists of people who would like to swap stash or receive RAK packages from other members because they want to replenish their stash, usually for very good reasons — one woman’s house burned down, for example.  So, I can help these people.  I have a fair amount of stash I would like to clear out: some things I bought duplicates of by accident, or I used them and decided I didn’t like them (but someone else might), or I just don’t use them anymore.  After over ten years of crafting, I have so much stash, I can’t always find what I want when I want it any more.  Time to thin some of it out.
  5. Prepare a package for the Matthew 25 charity: I heard about this program where you can send your used prescription pill bottles to be donated to Africa, where pill bottles are very hard to get.  Just having a bottle helps people, who often travel great distances to visit a clinic, to transport their medicine safely, and its easier to take it at home if it’s in a safe, single place.  Hard to believe something so simple can make such a difference in someone else’s life.  So, I’ve been collecting these pill bottles for a while — the husband and I both take regular maintenance prescriptions, so we have a lot of these bottles coming in regularly.  But my cat Isis has found this stash, and thinks these pill bottles make excellent toys (and they do).  She has dragged them out of the box multiple times and scattered them all around my office. Time to pack them up and send them on their way.
  6. Cut down my 12×12 paper?   I’m not sure about this last one.  I have so many scrapbook paper stacks that they won’t all fit in my shelves anymore.  But I do not do traditional scrapbooking.  I mostly do cardmaking.  I have no real need of 12×12 paper.  I bought most of them before I realized 6×6 pads were available.  If I were to cut them down into 6×6 squares, they would be possibly easier to store, and more useful to me.  But it’s a lot of work and I’m not sure I should undertake it.  What do you think?  Has anyone done this? How did it turn out?

I’ll keep you advised on how these projects turn out.

Finally, a post!

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I made a card:

 

first-card

 

First card I’ve made in months and months!  I was having a dry patch for a while — sometimes you get tapped out and you need to let your creativity rest.  And, my schedule changed at my job — I was working more nights and weekends.  And then I was concentrating more on creative writing for a while — I sold two short stories this year.

But I missed cardmaking.  I had to clean up my office, too, so around the Thanksgiving holiday I started doing that.  I pulled my basic tool drawer out to organize it, and I was surprised at the pleasure I felt just touching and seeing my papercrafting tools, my bone folder and scissors and stamps.  Many happy memories.  It made me want to craft again.  So, once I was done cleaning, I pulled out an Annie’s Craft Club kit I had long wanted to use, and made the first card in the kit.

It’s not great — there are several mistakes, I’m out of practice.  But it’s good enough, and it was a card, and I made it, and I was happy.

After that, I was able to quickly knock out a few Christmas cards using the One-Sheet-Wonder technique.  With those, and what I had left over from last year, I had enough cards to send out to immediate family and close friends.

Now, I’m trying to decide, now that the pressure’s off, should I make some more Christmas cards for next year, or put all the Christmas stuff away and move onto new things?  What do you think?  What are you doing?

Either way, I’m glad to be back to papercrafting, and hope to be posting projects on the blog more often in the new year.  Happy new year to all.

 

 

 

 

I’m Doing Panels at Contraflow V This Weekend

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Today Contraflow starts, our local science fiction convention, and this year I’ve put myself forward, and I’m going to be on a couple panels. Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, 2 PM — Dreams and Creativity

Saturday, 9 PM — Writer’s Block: Myth or Madness

Sunday, 11 AM — Cultural Appropriation or Building Diversity: An Exploration Of Issues Involving Real World Cultures In Fantasy and Science Fiction

Brandon Black must have written that last title, I think. 🙂

I’m excited about “Dreams and Creativity,” because two of the five stories I’ve sold, were based on dreams I had. So I have some stuff to say about that.

If you’re going to the con, some see me. I’ll need your support.

New (to me) Challenge Blog

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Hello all.

I’ve found a new (to me, anyway) stash-crashing style challenge blog.  It’s called the Retro Rubber Challenge, and the challenge is to use your old stamps — stamps that are older than one year.  You can read the rules here.

They rotate between Sketch, Color, and Theme challenges, and you have two weeks to play along.

This is a good challenge because many of us get so hung up on buying new, new, new stamps and sets that we forget all about the older ones that we used to be just as enamored of.  We buy a stamp thinking, well, I’ll be able to use it forever, but we seldom do.  We move on to new acquisitions.  Craft hoarding and acquisitiveness is a real problem among crafters, I think, why is why I started my blog in the first place, to combat that tendency in myself. I hope it has helped some of you as well.

Here is my entry in their current challenge, which is a sketch challenge:

 

ATC Hexlove

 

The focal piece in the sketch is a circle, but I thought, why not a hexagon?  I love hexagons, such a balanced, pleasing shape.  Once I had that idea the card came together pretty quickly.  I’ve enjoyed doing the ATCs, so I’m continuing with that.

The stamp for the challenge is the background, the Hero Arts Hexagon Background. And the first time I posted about it was in May 2014, so it is definitely more than a year old.  I used Deco Foil for the embellishments.  I love Deco Foil! And a Tim Holtz sentiment sticker.  An appropriate sentiment, because I love papercrafting, and right now I love ATCs.

Wish me luck!  In the challenge, I mean.

Supply List

Crescent Cardboard Mixed Media ATC blank, silver

Hero Arts Hexagon Background stamp

Staz-On Teal Ink

hexagon chipboard, unknown (Maya Road?)

Recollections double-sided adhesive sheets

Glossy Accents (adhesive)

Green and Blue Deco Foil

Tim Holtz Small Talk sentiment stickers

 

Final ATC

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Here is my last ATC, squeaked out on May 31:

 

ATC Paisley

 

My unconscious tribute to Prince?  I’m still sad about his death.  He was still young.  He died not of a drug addiction, but inadequate pain management.  Shocking that even a fortune in the nine figures can’t buy you good healthcare in this country.

Well, anyway, I named it “Paisley Park.”

This is an acrylic paint resist technique.  The substrate is Ranger Sticky-Backed Canvas. I thought it needed support, so I mounted it to illustration board.  The woodblock stamp was stamped in Tarnished Brass Distress Paint, and the Distress Stain over it is a mix of Shaded Lilac, Seedless Preserves and Dusty Concord.

The woodblock stamp and the metal embellishment are from Michaels/Recollections, their “Boho” collection.  The rest of the stuff is just from my stash. None is NBUS, sadly.

So I ended up doing 29 ATCs in 31 days.  Didn’t quite meet the challenge, but good enough, I’d say! It’s been fun. I’m going to continue to do ATCs for the time being.  I have enough greeting cards stashed for now.  I’ve been trading some of them with people on Facebook.  That’s fun too.

Weekend ATCs

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Here are the three ATCs I created over the weekend.

I wanted to do a Zentangle card during the challenge. The card base is pre-cut Bienfang illustration paper — it’s pretty thin, really just paper, you’ll want to back it with something. I liked the way my Zentangle snaked up the middle of the card, so I decided to just shade in the edges. I used my CG1 Copic for that and it worked well. This paper is meant to take markers anyway.

 

ATC Zentangle

 

The Zentangles I used were, from the top, Tripoli, Lichen, Moonwalk, Printemps, and Hollibaugh. Plus some random doodling. I’m not great at Zentangling, but I hope to get better.

For this challenge, I wanted to use some of my ATC blanks in unusual materials. This next card is made of wood, Birch wood veneer. They’re from Creative Imaginations, who make, or made, a lot of ATC stuff at one time. The cards have an adhesive back, so you can mount them on greeting cards or scrapbook pages, or whatever you want.

 

ATC Daisies

 

The daisies stamp is from Stampendous, and I stamped it in Versamark and heat-embossed it with Zing! Opaque White powder. It’s a little blurry — you’d probably want to use fine detail powder if you have it.

I then colored it in with Copics — R81, RV13, G02, YG06, Y35, YR12, YR68. (See, I remembered this time.)

It’s good, but I can’t decide if it needs something more, or not. Some bling — but that might just overcomplicate it. I’m letting it be for now.

The next card is made from sheet metal!

 

ATC Fish

 

The card blanks are thin, silver metal — aluminum, maybe? — from Imagine Crafts. I saw them featured in a video from the CHA show 2014, and finally tracked some down. This is the first time I have used them (NBUS).
Here, I colored the card with alcohol inks, ran it through an embossing folder, and then sanded it to remove some of the color and highlight the design. The alcohol ink colors I used (from Ranger) were Citrus, Juniper, Stream, and Sail Boat Blue. The embossing folder is from Provo Craft, from an Asian set I have.

Again, I think it needs more, but I don’t want to clutter it up. Any suggestions?

So far I have made 28 cards in 30 days. I’m two cards behind. If I keep it simple, I should be able to finish two more cards tomorrow and complete the challenge!

Gemstone ATCs

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Here are the cards I made today:

 

ATC Genstones

 

Aren’t they pretty?  I was trying to go for a look of semi-precious gemstones like lapis lazuli or malachite.

I used Copic markers on glossy cardstock. I added some streaks of silver leafing pen to imitate veins of metal in the stone. Then I embossed the cards in the WRMK “Gemstone” Next Level Embossing Folder to get the stony facets.  I have been wanting this embossing folder for a while, so I finally got it.  I added a sentiment to one, but for the second one, I thought, no, let it be what it is.

Not sure they really look like stone, but I like them anyway.

Supplies: 

Ranger Glossy Cardstock

Copic Markers, random blues and green (sorry, forgot to note down the specific colors)

Silver Krylon leafing pen

We Are Memory Keepers “Gemstone” Next Level Embossing Folder

Tim Holtz “Small Talk” sentiment stickers

 

ATC – Love

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ATC Love

 

This is my latest. It’s not great but it’s done.  I’ve had this “love” diecut sitting on my desk for quite a while — it was intended for a spectacularly failed Valentine’s card.  So I finally decided to do something with it.

I spattered the black cardstock with Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Mist, Heidi Swapp Gold Color Shine, and Viva Pink Glimmer Mist, which you can’t really see — it faded into the black cardstock.  I also added some dots of glue and foiled them with red Deco Foil.

I was surprised and annoyed to discover I don’t have any gold Deco Foil (seriously, how did that happen?) so I foiled the wood veneer heart with Rose Gold Minc foil.  It looks much more glittery and metallic in real life — it’s hard to get that on camera.  As does the “love” diecut, which is red glitter paper covered with Glossy Accents.  The camera is pretty unforgiving here.

So, that’s that. On to the next one.

10 Distress ATCs

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I saw a video of a crafter called Justine Hovey mass-producing some ATCs with Distress Ink backgrounds, here. I quite liked them, so I thought I would do that as well for my next batch of cards, as well. I haven’t played around with my Distress Inks in a while, so I thought that would be fun.

It was pretty fun. Some of them turned out really well, and some, not so well, but none of them are terrible, so far.

Here they are:

 

ATCs Distress

 

 

I did ten, like Justine, a nice round number. The card bases on these are a mix of Bienfang and Strathmore Bristol paper, and Ranger Specialty Stamping Paper. None were great — the Bristol paper didn’t blend so well, but the Specialty Stamping Paper, which is a matte clay-coated paper, really resisted the inks and stayed wet and smudgy for quite some time. I ended up with a lot of dirty thumbprints and off-color smudges, which I worked hard to blend out. I don’t think they’re all that visible, but I know they’re there! That kind of sloppiness really aggravates me. But the Distress ink just stayed so wet on the paper, it was hard to work with. I stamped the focal images with VersaFine Onyx Black, and that stayed wet for a long time too. In fact I had to lay them out to dry overnight and shut my office door to keep the cats from jumping up and smudging them. (My cat Isis likes to lay on my crafting desk, even though she knows full well she’s not supposed to.)

The little word stickers are from the Tim Holtz “Chit Chat” and “Small Talk” sets that I have been using lately. Chit Chat is individual words, Small Talk is brief sayings.

And since it’s me, I had to bling most of them up a bit.  I can hardly let a card rest without some rhinestones, enamel dots or glitter glue.

Let me break it down for you, what is what, starting from the top left:

  1. Bristol Paper. The was the first one I made and I think it turned out quite well. Squeezed Lemonade and Cracked Pistachio Distress Inks. The stamp is “Daisy Cluster” by Stampendous. Stamp and Cracked Pistachio are NBUS.  This ATC is nice and simple and I had to force myself — force myself — not to bling it up and ruin it with overembellishment.
  2. Bristol paper. Cracked Pistachio and Peacock Feathers inks. Stamp is the “Feathers” set from Hot Off the Press. NBUS. Again, I think this one is fine without bling.
  3. Bristol paper. Tattered Rose and Spun Sugar inks. The stamp is from the “Hearts” clear set from Inkadinkado. NBUS. Blinged with glitter glue.
  4. Bristol paper. Tumbled Glass, Broken China, and Peacock Feathers inks. This is kind of an odd one. It’s a peacock feather, if you can’t tell. The stamp is a carved woodblock stamp from the “Boho” collection at Michaels. The kind of thing that comes from India. I stamped it first in VersaFine, and it didn’t come out so well. Then I stamped it again with my Calypso Teal Dylusions paint, which just happened to be sitting on my desk. Also did not turn out so well. I’ve read that these stamps work better with paint than ink. Or maybe fabric dye. Maybe it needs to be broken in, I don’t know. But I colored in the stamped image with my Marvy markers, to make it a little clearer what it was. Well, I do like the background. The stamp is brand new, so I can’t really say it’s NBUS.
  5. Bristol paper. Shaded Lilac and Wilted Violet inks. The stamp is from the “Butterflies Cling” set by Inkadinkado. NBUS.  Blinged with Wink of Stella.  That may have been a mistake.
  6. Bristol Paper. Moved Lawn and Abandoned Coral Distress Inks. The image is from the same stamp set as in Number 3. The bling are some heart gems that were a gift from a fellow crafter.
  7. Specialty Stamping Paper. Blueprint Sketch, Salty Ocean, and Mowed Lawn inks. You can see I tend to prefer the blues and greens. I have the most of those Distress colors. The stamp is from the Penny Black “Dazzlers” set. NBUS. Love those stamps! Glad to finally use one.
  8. Specialty Stamping Paper. Peacock Feathers, Wild Honey, and Peeled Paint inks. I was displeased by the way this background came out, so I stamped a pattern all over it, to hide it. The pattern stamp is “Swirls” from Tim Holtz/Stamper’s Anonymous. NBUS. I like the way it turned out, but it took forever to dry. I then added a printed chipboard butterfly from K & Co.  All in all I think it turned out pretty well.
  9. Bristol Paper. Picked Raspberry and Spiced Marmalade inks. Stamps — “Flower Blocks” from Clearly Besotted. NBUS. Bling: Rhinestones.
  10. Bristol paper. Twisted Citron, Cracked Pistachio, and Mowed Lawn inks. Quite like how this background turned out. Stamp — “Mod Flowers” from Inkadinkado. Colored it in with my Cobalt Green Stamper’s Big Brush pen and added an enamel dot.

So, obviously, some of these are more successful than others.  But that is part of the point of ATCs — to experiment and try new techniques, materials, without fear of commitment to a major project.  And also, I filled one-third of my quota for this project in one go.   Not bad!

My favorites are 1, 2, 7, 8 and 10.  Which is yours?