Sunday, June 26, 2011

I'm Back (Finally!)

Hellooo!  I did not actually drop off the face of the planet- I just dropped off of the blogosphere temporarily.  The last couple of months have been crazy busy- end of the school year and all of that.  I also went through sort of a creative slump...couldn't find any inspiration, and even when I had projects to do, I struggled with them.  I did a card swap for the PBS Swappers for masculine cards, and it was NOT my best work.  I did take pictures, but I'm not sure I want to post them here!  I might later, but they're on my husband's camera, which is currently in Utah with him and the kids.  So maybe someday!

While I was off being uninspired, I thought maybe I could use some help with ideas, so I browsed through some  books at Michaels, and finally decided to purchase one.  Treasuary of Tips and Tricks by Paper Crafts & Stamp It! has over 650 projects and ideas in it, according to the little snippet on the front cover.  I have barely made a dent in looking at all the stuff in there, but wow, there really are a lot of neat things!  Did you know that you can make scented cards by adding Kool-Aid mix to your embossing powder??  Neither did I!!  But I do now!  Anyway, I think being able to browse through some of these ideas helped kick-start my creative juices again, and now my brain is overflowing with ideas!  Ah, if only I had more time.  Well, at least I have some direction now.  I've branched out into experimenting with stamping and heat embossing, and that has been fun!  I had a little mishap with my first heat embossing tool when I first started out, though.  I bought it a few months ago at Craft Warehouse, but had not had a chance to try it out.  I got a new stamp that I wanted to experiment with, so I stamped my paper, sprinkled on the embossing powder, and turned on my brand new, just out of the box heat tool.  I held it over my stamped image, and just as the embossing powder started to melt.....the tool made a clicking sound and seized up.  I used it for all of 15 seconds, and it burned itself out.  Fortunately, the folks at CW are very nice people, and even though I had NO idea where the receipt would be, they let me exchange it for another one.  I finally got to use it this weekend, and I am happy to report that it worked just fine!

So here is what I did with it.  This is for another card swap for the PBS Swappers group- for basically any type of card.  I always seem to do birthday cards, so I wanted to do something different this time.  I picked up a package of stamps for pretty cheap at Michaels, one of which is a "Best Wishes" stamp, and decided to use that one.  I also found this really neat wildflower stamp, and thought it would be perfect for what I had in mind.  I had seen a sample card at Michaels awhile back that I really liked- it had puffy white dandilions silhouetted in white against a mottled blue background.  So that is what I used for my inspiration.  Here is the result:

I used watermark pigment ink to stamp the image onto white card stock, then heat embossed it with clear embossing powder.  I then dabbed on two colors of stamp ink with a sponge dabber to create the mottled blue and green background color, then just wiped the ink off of the embossed image with a paper towel while it was still wet, to keep it white.  Then I added the Best Wishes sentiment with the stamp, using the same blue ink that I used for the background.  I added the dragonfly as an afterthought, but I really like it!  I had been experimenting with dabbing the ink onto vellum, so had this piece of scrap vellum with the blue and green ink on it.  I punched the dragonfly out of that with a MS dragonfly punch, then dabbed on some silver pigment ink over the blue/green that was already there. I made the flower using various flower punches and used a white pearl for the center.  I am really happy with how it came out! Here are some close-ups:

And here are all of the finished cards.

And OH!  I just rememered that I never shared about my new crafting space!  Ever since I started crafting, I've had to use the kitchen table.  My supplies were stored in various places around the house, whereever I could fit them, and it was pretty inconvenient whenever I wanted to craft, since I had to haul my stuff in from other rooms.  I dreamed of a crafting room all to myself, but when you have 2 kids in a 3 bedroom house, it is just not to be.  However, we had a playroom for the kids.  The kids are not little anymore though- my son will be 15 this coming week, and my daughter will be 11 in September, so they really didn't have much need for a room full of toys that they never played with anymore.  My husband was given a mini pool table by a friend, and as he's always wanted a pool table, I agreed to it on one condition: that it does not take up an entire room all by itself, just to play pool.  I wanted to find a way to use it for multiple purposes.  So my clever husband built a tabletop for it.  It is the perfect surface and height for my crafting!  Plus, he found a removable net that can be put on it to play ping-pong- how cool is that?!  The kids are thrilled with their new game room, and I am thrilled with a place to keep all my crafting stuff in one place, as well as be able to spread out and work on my projects.  Here is the finished room:

Some of my storage space:

We're still doing some organizing in there, so hopefully someday I will be able to have entire shelves to myself and not have to share with ping-pong paddles and the like!  I have only done two projects in here since it was done, and it was soooo wonderful to be able to have everything at my fingertips!

Well, that's all for now!  I just joined another card swap for next month, Christmas in July, so get to start thinking about holiday-themed cards next!  I already have a few ideas, so am looking forward to playing with them a bit.  See you next time!

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