Saturday, June 1, 2013

Purging high

Wow, it feels good to have so much scrap stuff OUT of my scrap room, and money in my bank account! I ever-so-slightly exceeded my goal of $200 in sales, combining my garage sale a couple of weekends ago with a community garage sale (with 5 other scrappers' stashes!) at a friend's house this weekend.

Of course, with school ending soon, I have relished my remaining time at home alone by completing a whopping 4 layouts from 2011. Some great, some not-so-great, but DONE :)
The Fourth, 2011...K & Co "Americana" paper pad, Sizzix star die, October Afternoon letter stickers
I wanted to put a shirt on my sister's boyfriend, but figured it would only draw more attention to him. Look away! Seriously, though, he is such a sweetheart, and they were both a big part of our Fourth that year. I couldn't not include him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2; K & Co "Urban" paper and epoxies, Studio Calico paper and chevron stencil, Maya Mist spray ink, Jenni Bowlin journaling label, Tim Holtz film strip embellishment, Creative Imaginations HP epoxies, 7Gypsies triangle labels, crown washi tape from Gauche Alchemy, blue pearls from Queen & Co.
 I'll admit, this is not my favorite LO. I should have printed out the photos on the left in a smaller format, as they are from inside the dark movie theater, taken with my iPod, so...not the best quality. Certainly not 4" x 4" quality. I was going to line up the patterned paper horizontally, but when I turned it along the side, the whole layout clicked better for me. Especially since my feature photo is a tall, narrow one (Tess in the theater lobby with Bellatrix). I could have left off the photo on the bottom right, as it is from day camp (not movie night). But what's done is done. Sometimes you just have to call it a day and move on!

Stampin Up! hearts punch, Krylon silver pen, Ali Edwards arrow stamp, My Mind's Eye "On the Bright Side" chevron paper, CTMH heart stamps, SU white craft ink, Studio Calico "Anthologie" and Thickers "Nutmeg" letter stickers, Sakura white paint pen, polka dot washi tape.
This is my favorite of the four. BH &G's Scrapbooks Etc. "Page Planner" special edition made it to the keeper list  in my recent destash, and it is my go-to resource for single-page sketches. It can be hard to find those sometimes, and every design in this edition is easy to adapt.

Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type & Pink Paislee Captivating letter stickers,  American Crafts pleated flowers with button centers, October Afternoon label sticker, Basic Grey scalloped border sticker, LOTS of washi tape (Gauche Alchemy, Queen & Co., etc.)
I learned the washi tape chevron trick in Lain Ehmann's free webinar with Monica Bradford of Scrap Inspired. It reminds me of a homey quilt pattern, perfect for the subject matter.

This past Thursday I went with my mom to a fabric store in South Lyon called Lake Street Merchantile. Every quilt shop features their own favorite fabric lines, and this one specialized in two of my favorites, 1930s feedsack reproductions and modern lines from Moda (she also carries Civil War repos and lots of wool felt "primitives" projects).

I brought along fabrics that I needed to match up with solids and other patterns, perhaps fat quarters, and I was not disappointed! The solids I purchased were all from a company I'm more familiar with for scrapbooking papers -- Basic Grey. They have a line of "grunge" solids that add great texture to any project. Craft crossover! Love it. I will share photos when I take some, preferably in the daylight ;) as it is evening now and I'm not going to get true colors indoors ;)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Energy

Took a break from Project Life (caught up through March 2013) one Friday at a crop, and just started doing regular 12x12 layouts again with photos from 2011. I had originally printed out 300+ photos for a weekend crop in October 2011, and then pretty much stopped scrapbooking in 2012. I'm planning on putting together this digital photobook for 2012 and calling it done, but since I still have all these 2011 photos printed, I'm taking time (and my renewed mojo) to get them scrapped.

So, here's what I've accomplished in the last two weeks (not including the two I just finished this week...more on those later).
On the Diag...Piggy Tales Hickory Dickory Dock papers, Making Memories  glitter letter stickers, various floral, label, and rhinestone embellishments
 I've had this LO sketched since August 2012. That made it only about a year old at the time. But then I did all of January 2013 with this line, and didn't want to look at it for a long time. Until recently ;)

October Afternoon  & Thickers letters, Club Scrap transparency, Webster's Pages and Jenny Bowlin labels, and every. cherry. paper. in my stash (to be fair, just two, but man. that's a lot of cherries). 
 I almost used the back of the background cherry paper (it's plain red-peach colored), but liked the texture of the cherry pattern better. Oh! and I used my new cherry blossom washi tape from Mega Meet. Now I never want to do another LO with cherries. Ever.

Everything from Webster's Pages Hollywood Vogue collection. Except my handwriting.
Tess's transformation at the hands of a skilled beautician was nothing short of amazing. She's since cropped her hair, which makes it look nice and thick, but wow. Was her hair ever long! But it was also quite damaged, so I'm happy she's gone short. Between brushing that mess, and the amount of chlorine her pale hair could suck up in a summer (even after deep conditioning, it still smelled of chlorine), short hair is just easier on her overall beauty routine. She was younger here, and believe me, as a pre-teen, she has quite the beauty routine now.
Lo-Fi...not quite as fun as the A Beautiful Mess app, but good enough on my desktop.

Hopefully I'll share the rest of my completed LOs soon. Last weekend I had a garage sale, and sold over half of my unused stash. With everything priced at $1 or 10 cents, it went quickly, and I was delighted to watch every out-of-date stamp set, paper pack, and embellishment walk away. I can breathe again in my scrap room! I will sell what's left at a community garage sale in Chelsea next week. Then the rest gets donated to the Ann Arbor PTO thrift shop. They sell craft stuff there, which is awesome. This time I'll be glad to donate instead of purchasing (mostly fabric, books, and office!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Why I'm drinking the Kool-Aid in 2013

Week 3 of my own version of Project Life
I'm just a week behind on my own version of Project Life -- Echo Park and American Crafts page protectors, and a paper/embellishment pack for each month out of my stash (I would go crazy using the same set all year...sorry, Becky!) -- and today, working on Week 3, I realized why I love this process.

I thought last week was kind of dull. Oh no, I thought, only week three and I'm already giving up! I finally sat down today and processed my photos, thinking I hadn't taken that many, when suddenly I had TOO many. Despite a slow start to the week, due to recovering from an awesome scrap weekend with friends, things not only picked up, but in going over everything that happened last week, I understood how rich life is, even when it seems dull.

That's a prize.

Each month I'll use a different paper pack, and embellishments, if they are included. January is the Hickory Dickory Dock collection from Piggy Tales. I ordered it during a summer warehouse sale; for $15 plus shipping (not knowing what set I'd get, only that it would be a new release), I was really happy with the colors and theme of this set. Although it's a bit summery (overblown roses, dragonflies, and lots of butterflies), the pale colors work really well for winter. There's stripes, and a number of different polka dots and two diagonal patterns. I also received ribbon, letter stickers, jewels, buttons, and pearl brads.

February's kit is already I bought at a sale of Rhonda's: Walnut Grove, by Pebbles, Inc. So many kits and paper collections come with a page of tags, journaling boxes, and stickers...this one came with a set of Thickers. Pinks, reds, blues, sweet yellows...perfect for February.

Are you doing Project Life? What works for you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fingerless mitts and other obsessions

Leaf-patterned fingerless mitts...pattern at Ravelry
Made in Plymouth Stone Cotton
Sooooo....yeah. Got back into knitting big time this summer, slightly before and during Ravelympics the Ravellry Games (whatever). No, I have not made any more quilt squares, although the box is back on my dining room table, ready to get itself together sometime in the new year. I still need to finish my Ravellry Games project, a Union Jack done in intarsia (never done intarsia before, that was the point of choosing this project...even if I didn't medal). Tess is eagerly awaiting the new cushion for her bedroom. Given my gauge issues (I knit loose...REALLY loose), however, this may become more of a wall hanging.
As a matter of fact, I was drinking tea while working on this.
I choose the Union Jack in honor of the summer Olympics, and because I've wanted to try intarsia for a while...I do, after all, have a rather large stash of Rowan Summer Tweed that is supposed to be a intarsia. Not that I really *love* intarsia (also the point of this try intarsia on a small scale), but what else could I do with the wild mix of Kaffe Fassett-ordered colors for this blanket? That would be a hell of a lot of washcloths.

The one thing a Union Jack flag has going for it? Uneven diagonal lines. Yes, those are supposed to look crooked like that. Thank you, United Kingdom. This design allowed me to drink and knit (not always with the greatest results, naturally) and do duplicate stitch later to cover my mistakes. Fourteen rows to go...! I want to finish this in 2012.

Scrapbooking? What's that? I am still working on 2011 photos (I printed out 300+ for Scrap Camp last year, after all, and only got through about 50). I am doggedly sticking to my chronological plan, but haven't taken my Fridays for myself in a while, so I haven't made much of a dent in those this year. I didn't attend Scrap Camp in 2012 because I sacrificed my crafts budget to pay off new, desperately needed bifocals and bifocal sunglasses. One more (interest free) payment to go...I have expensive tastes.

My only resolution for 2012 was to learn crochet. I finally did that this summer, with a real live teacher, at my friend Kelly's house. I picked up the Tunisian Crochet class at Craftsy and am working on finishing the sampler's an enjoyable alternative once you know crochet basics. Can't wait to work on the class shawl -- it's gorgeous. other resolution was to stop playing Zynga games on Facebook. I gave it up January 1st and haven't been back. I'm pretty sure that's how I was able to pick up my first intarsia project, and learn crochet.

My new obsessions this year (not craft-related, although I made them craft-related!) were the movie Avengers (and the villain, Loki), finishing season 2 of Downton Abbey (almost there!), and BBC Sherlock. In fact, I spend most of my time over at the 221b group on Ravelry, and have a swap to finish up in the new year.
Amigurumi Loki...hanging with his mermaid friend (found her at the AQS show in August)
The benefits of learning crochet!
Where will 2013 take you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Happy/Not Happy

I'm happy to report that my laptop is back in operation (after being operated on, much like me). My "T" key is still sticking (amongst other my space bar...really, space bar?!) but I can now access those photos that were stuck on my hard drive when hubs took apart the laptop. He has a Ph.D in electrical engineering, but I still had my fingers crossed...
Surprise! Not a scrapbooking layout. Nope, I finally found a quilt pattern that will make great use of my HUGE collection of 1930s reproduction fabrics (a favorite of mine, I've been "collecting" them for years, and Mom added from her own collection after she made a stunning applique quilt with some).

Michelle, one of my Friday night crop regulars, is always lamenting the end of (yet another) scrapbooking magazine while quilting magazines flourish like mosquitoes around a pond. I think we are down to one scrapping magazine (CK), while the new (!) Quilty recently caught my eye. Despite being connected to Fons & Porter (Quilty founder Mary Fons is, obviously, related), I bought the first issue in hopes it was more beginner-friendly and modern, rather than complicated with old-fashioned piecework like F&P (yes, this from a collector of 1930s repros. Irony -- dig it).

Before my laptop meltdown (adapter issues...the battery is not charging, and still isn't, despite E's excellent engineering...apparently this is a common issue with Dell laptops), I had put together eight 6" blocks. Each one features a solid and a 1930s print. The solids are from a 1930s collection from Keepsake Quilting. I purchased a sampler of quarter-yards back when I found a Dresden Plate quilt at an antiques market, looking for a good solid for the back of the unfinished antique quilt. Now I get to use the solids in my squares, along with my collection of prints. Fun!
Psst...that one down front is an "actual" 1930s print, not a repro. Mom got a collection from my Aunt Brenda when she was down in Franklin, TN visiting her, and gave them all to me to do something with. I'm delighted to sneak a few into this quilt!

The kids are at day camp this week, so amid the laundry, housecleaning, grocery shopping, etc. ETC. I hope to sew a few more squares. The lap quilt-size they feature takes 39 blocks, so I have some serious straight-line sewing to do.

Paper: Club Scrap (ancient!) and Studio Calico. Letter stickers: Memories Complete and October Afternoon. Journaling card, Elle Studios via Jessica Sprague (digital file print-out). Ribbon: Making Memories
 Now back to some regularly scheduled programming...scrapbook layouts! Hmm...seems I am a Jekyll & Hyde scrapper...I love throwing simple LOs like the one above together, with minimal embellishments, then I drink my elixir, turn around, and make something more arty-farty like this:
Paper: Pemberly (and antique music sheet) by Kerrie Lynn (SIStv). Letter stickers: Doodlebug, October Afternoon, Studio Calico. Patterned tape: 7 Gypsies. Journal spots: Jenni Bowlin, October Afternoon. Brads: Colorbok. Maya Mist in metallic blue. Vintage ribbon.
 ...and I love them both! Hipstamatic and  Instagram prints just beg for the mixed media look, don't you think?
We just got back from a trip to Washington, D.C. (hot, HOT, cRaZy HoT, as we were forewarned!) which was a delight. I should have brought better walking shoes, though. The last day (Tuesday) I missed going back to Air & Space because my legs refused to go any further. I sat at the carousel in front of the Smithsonian castle and slowly melted instead of taking the walk. Funny, I did not have any knitting or reading material with me. It was most relaxing to just sit & veg.
My favorite "horse" -- a dragon, of course.
If you've read this far, you might have noticed the new look on my blog. I am not happy with it. I spent a day working on a header to go with my old style, and in the process I lost the old background and the link that lead me to the site that hosted it. I must do some searching now to find that style site again, and find out WHY I could not upload my header. Does anyone know what happened to the Minima template for Blogger? I have a feeling when I find the style site, they will have a link to that old template. Maybe Blogger was having a bad day for uploading image files (NOTHING would load that day...which is how my old background got deleted...somehow...) If you know of a good site for Blogger template tutorials, hook me up. I need a re-design, BAD, and I can do it myself with a little help. Thanks!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Orpheum Bell at The Ark, Ann Arbor, June 23, 2012
Survived my surgery just fine, but recovery is slow. I overdid last night; we had a babysitter lined up and I had purchased concert tickets for us to enjoy (E's birthday gift), but E was worried it would be too much for me. He even suggested he could scalp (!) the tickets outside the venue, which is when I took action and said I'd hang in there for the show.

The band is fronted by a friend of his, another Russian expat, although this one came to the States when he was about 9. You can hear the music they play at their website, Orpheum Bell. I'd describe it as The Civil Wars with 3 times the members, fronted by Tom Waits, and heavily caffeinated ;) Several of the members played more than one instrument, and those varied wildly - from violin to banjo to spoons, accordion to harp to trumpet - we laughed every time someone brought out a new instrument to was comical, but awesome.
More Than A Puddle
Studio Calico bg paper and journaling label,
various pp from My Mind's Eye and Echo Park
Hambly rub-on, Tim Holtz filmstrip, old transparency
MM glitter letter stickers
Back to my usual programming ;) This page is a recent favorite of mine. It was a challenge in one of Ali Edward's books (this one, I think...I have them all), using triangles of patterned paper to mimic a quilt. I didn't notice the large rectangle I created through the middle of the layout until I glued everything down and stood back. Pretty cool, huh? This page records a flood of water over a nearby road that was the deepest I'd ever seen. I used Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's rain stencil to tie some of the papers together.

Easter Sunday, all supplies by Authentique, Blissful collection
I had these Authentique papers pulled for another LO, only to realize they were not at. all. what I was looking for. They worked perfectly with Easter Sunday photos from inside our church. All of the embellishments are Authentique, as well. From a sketch in Memory Maker's Quick and Easy Scrapbook Pages.
Easter Bubbles - Basic Grey Plumeria papers
This is straight-up Becky Higgins sketch work. My friend Kelly, whose house I scrap at every other Friday or so, has the Best of Becky Higgins' Sketches, and I borrowed it while there. She couldn't believe how much it was selling for on Amazon - I had heard upwards of $200, but the most recent listing shows $54.50 for a used copy, $95 for new (!!!). I don't really regret not buying this when it first came out (I was too busy collecting Ali Edwards' books) as it's taken me a while to "allow" myself to play with BH sketches - they seem to need more advance planning (photo sizes, placement, etc.) and I'm more of a spur of the moment, play with 4" x 6" photos kind of scrapper.

It's taken me a long time to allow myself to *crop* photos, but these had plenty of empty space (grass, mostly) that gave me the freedom to cut many of them down to the 3" x 4" size the sketch showed. Overall, I'm happy with this - although I have the opposite problem of my Good Friday LO...*no* "extra notes, LOL. Well, I finished this near midnight at Kelly's, and decided "done is better than perfect." Oh, and I got to use the Plumeria papers I bought recently. Using recent purchases always makes me happy :)

One last photo - my Kool Aid dyed yarn. I've decided to name this colorway "Morning Glory," because it reminds me of the ones that grow near my front porch.
I'm pretty sure 110 yards will make me a French press cover - this is not the pattern I'm using; mine is from a UK magazine, uses sport weight yarn like what I dyed, and features a little lip for the spout. Adorable! You'll just have to wait until I have a finished project photo to show you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yarn and DIY

I have been in a bit of a DIY mood lately, starting with cleaning out the garage to make room for bikes -- Tess started riding a friend's bike after a sleepover, and E went the next weekend to get her one (via Craigslist). We have a wooden bench by our inside door in the garage that had piled up over a 2-year period with junk emptied out from the car, most of which turned out to be pure garbage. Took some old riding cars down to basement storage (Ben hasn't ridden on them since his friend across the street moved away) :( and lined up my bike, Tess's, and Ben's in a sort of fashion that lets us get by and into the house. Which is, you know, useful.

This sad freebie table was next to the bench, and also piled with junk. I picked it up curbside and meant to paint it a while ago...clearly that did not happen. Until now!
Curbside freebie. Score!

First, I washed it up with TSP, then sanded it, then rubbed in a bit of Murphy's Oil Soap (man, I love the smell of that stuff. E, however, does not. Also, paint makes him wheeze. Thus...*I*get to pick the colors).
Krylon's Ivy Green
Before I could spray paint it, I had to apply a coat of Kilz primer (the dirt was still showing through the green, even after cleaning & sanding). Waited for that to dry and went to town with the green! I have to work on my spray painting skills...there are a lot of drips down the sides. The top is nice and smooth, though. Right now it's in my dining room, holding plants. Next up? A metal, tiered plant holder I picked up curbside around the same time (different curb). This one is going to take a bit more time & elbow grease:

Steel wool: check. Rustoleum: check. Now...what color?
Piles of cashmere goodness. Mmm...
Went thrifting after a doctor's appointment (no surgery, not yet...couple more weeks...just a consultation) and scored a men's XL (!) cashmere (!!) sweater for $2.50. Despite warnings online to practice unraveling a *bulky* sweater first, I went to town on the seams of this with my surgical seam ripper (see below) and worked hard to find a good long thread to pull.
Finally using the surgical seam ripper I bought at a sewing show 15 years ago!
So far I have many small balls of crinkly cashmere "yarn ramen" that I have to connect together and rinse (sweater has that old-man/thrift store smell, despite the dry cleaning tag still on, I need to relax those crinkles). I'm hoping I can spit-join the pieces to get decent yardage. Even after finding a good thread for the back of the sweater, the yarn is fine enough (and I wasa bit too eager with the seam ripper!) that every once in a while it would break. I have a lot of small yardage to join up.

Another craft that has been intriguing me lately is dyeing my own yarn. I have 2 skeins of Knit Pick's Bare yarn in sport weight that I bought years ago up north (Alpena) at a yarn shop. They had taken off the tags and marked it as their own (!) and I was disappointed to discover (later) she was selling yarn this way. I really thought the skeins were from her own sheep (the store owner had her own sheep, and certainly marketed the KP yarn as if it were her own). I had the store wind the skeins into center-pull balls, but then put them away for a while.

I rolled out roughly 100+ yards this way:
Turns out the banisters upstairs are a bit more than a yard apart. Handy! 

I found several online tutorials for Kool-Aid dyeing (this one has awesome color combos) and unsweetened (important!) Kool-Aid, 5/$1 (see? cheap) and went to town this morning.
Solar dyeing...with Kool-Aid

We'll see how this looks later. I mixed 3 packets of Ice Blue Raspberry (I hear it's a weak color, and I wanted a good medium blue) and threw in half of a dissolved Grape packet to deepen the blue a bit. The Lemon Lime makes a good, bright green, so I just used one packet of that to 8 oz. warm water.

Hoping the blue dye wasn't too hot when I added it to the yarn! Don't want a half-felted skein.

I didn't like the way the yarn was laying in the jars, so I switched the green a blue to plastic ziplocks...the jar in the middle has a bit of yarn in pure Grape (purple). We'll see later how the yarn soaks up and blends the different dyes. Should be interesting! Next up: pink and orange, one of my favorite color combos.

I am all about the crafts & DIY this summer...Our first project, once both kids are done with school, is to sort & clean up their rooms and hold a garage sale later this summer. Ben has a hard time letting go of things, but I'm hoping if I set it up as a friendly competition between the kids (they keep the money from selling their own things...which means some serious organizing and tagging before our sale), it might help Ben let go of a few toys. He's informed me several times he is "done" with Cars stuff (sniff!)...a full 2 years ahead of when Tess told me she was done with princesses and the colors pink and purple. Sigh. They grow up so fast...