Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fast Christmas Cards and a Journal

I am still moving faster than a speeding woman, so this is going to be as succinct as I can make it while still making it thorough.  I have given myself a time limit of 15 minutes to write this post.  Let's see if I can make it!

First, I was in a gift exchange at my polymer clay guild, and I gave this journal I made as one of the gifts in my box:

Actually, if you put a lot of 3D stuff all over the cover of a journal, it ends up acting like a thick cover because all of the 3D stuff pokes up from all over and it doesn't interfere with writing at all.  I say "actually" because I know someone just thought, "But she can't put all that 3D stuff on the front of a notebook!"  ^_~  Anyway, the filler is a bunch of graph paper that I hope the recipient can use to envision some gorgeous new creations.  Sequins are one of my favorite supplies for bling-ing (word?) up paper crafts.  I like to string them on in a huge clump and then tie them on like I did here.  I think they look so festive!  They're gorgeous glued on, too, in place of rhinestones.  And SO much cheaper!

Here are the promised card formula photos.  I use this basic design background over and over and over and over and over again, and not just for Christmas cards.  As creative as everyone says I am... (And I am, I don't deny it, not because I'm some egomaniac, but because sometimes it just doesn't make sense to try to be "humble", whatever that means, because when you ARE good at something, you just are, and you shouldn't mince words about it to make other people more comfy.  Everyone is good at many things, and I think more people would uncover their potential if more people would be willing to just be obviously good at what they're good at without trying to make it look like they don't think they're very good.  But that's getting too deep into philosophy, and we don't have to go there right now.  We're talking about card formulas and I have 6 minutes to finish this post.)

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  As creative as everyone says I am, I am also a mom with two boys (10 and 5) and I have 34 people on my gift list.  Most of what I make I make because it doesn't take time, not because I'm lazy, but because my life simply does not allow for long stretches of me reveling in the creative process.  This is why knitting and spinning have become such a HUGE presence in my life, because I can be knitting or spinning while on the couch, spending time with my family, watching TV, or playing games, or knitting while driving in the car, or waiting at a restaurant, in a line, etc...  I get to be creative without being over in my little corner.  It's great!

Okay, 2 minutes now, but I had to go take care of something with the boys, which took at least 2 minutes, so I'm saying four minutes for this.  ^_~

All of that said, I like to do fast, easy things.  And this card is my fastest and my easiest.  I think it looks pretty durned good, so I will share with you some finished photos and the exact measurements of the pieces I cut, which I don't see a lot of people do very often.

LOVE the above card... I love this new punch from Stampin' Up.  I love how rich it makes the accent for this card look.  So when I had yet another person to quickly throw a card together for this morning, I took pictures so you could see.

The base cardstock card (not pictured) is your typical 4.25"x5.5" card base, made from an 8.5"x5.5" piece of cardstock.  The other pieces are made to fit with a little 1/8" border all around...

Here is the formula:

Two main pieces, usually slightly different, with the "denser" one on the bottom.  Cut them 2 5/8" high by 4" wide.

3 accent strips, usually from the same double sided paper (flip it over for the smaller strips, or you can use two different pieces).  I make a 4" wide piece and then cut off three strips: 1/4", 1", and 3/8".  Flip the 1/4" and 3/8" strips over to show the other side.  The wider strip goes on the bottom.

And some kind of accent... Like I said, I'm in love with this punch, but this part could be anything.  I like to do something that has a sentiment as part of the main accent of the card so that I don't have to figure out then where my sentiment is going to go after the accent is attached.  It makes it all very easy.

Oh, and as a random accent that doesn't take a lot of time, I like to round the upper right corner of the top paper and the card itself.  I also usually ink all my edges, but I do it FAST.  I don't pay attention.  I just hit all the edges.

 Glue the two pieces, lining them up to make roughly the same border all around.  Good news about this card, too, is that if your join in the middle is not exact (and it rarely is), it doesn't matter.  Focus on getting the border all around even.

Glue the strips down, first centering the 1" piece over the middle join of the two first pieces.  (This is why your join doesn't matter as much... but you don't want the two pieces beneath overlapping each other, because THAT would show through.)  Glue the 1/4" strip above the 1" strip and then glue the 3/8" strip below the 1" strip.

Center your accent.  I glued the first punched piece down flat and then used 3D adhesive to pop the second piece up.  You can stop here, but I usually add a couple of things.

Like... pearls!  I love pearls.  I love the Stampin' Up pearls.  I save these strips for when I'm in a rush, and around this time of year, I'm always in a rush.  A happy rush, but a rush nonetheless.  I add the strips of pearls, and I purposefully let one pearl be slightly underneath the popped up piece so that it gives the illusion that there is a strip of pearls going across the entire front of the card underneath the accent.

Anyway, there it is!  I only went 5 minutes over.  ^_~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Faster than a speeding woman...

This time of year is crazy.  Let's not mince words.  I can't believe I am even doing this.  But I mailed all the long distance presents this morning, only forgot to include two things, and proceeded to bake over 100 cookies cookie press style because we bought one last night because Stephanie Pearl-McPhee inspired me with her Cookie Boy post... and now how could a mom with two boys resist that?

Here's a fly by of my last several days.

Christmas cards for the boys' teachers and their bus driver.  This was with the build a blossom punch, and inspired by the latest Stampin' Up! catalog.  I used their jewels and pearls, too, and one of their antique brads, and a stamp from the "Tiny Tags" set.

I ALWAYS decorate the backs of my cards.  The 25 is from the Merry and Type set and this is one of the newer Stampin' Up! punches, which, if such things were possible with inanimate objects or crafting supplies, is my soul mate.  I have more pictures using this punch coming up hopefully tomorrow.

This is a neck warmer made for a relative I won't mention just in case the person is reading the blog.  I find this unlikely, but you never know.  This is Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in a stunning blueish colorway that leaves me almost (ALMOST) speechless with adoration.  Manos is getting closer and closer towards becoming one of the yarns I sing.  (Malabriiiiigooooo being the first one.)

A hat crocheted for my bestest sister friend since seventh grade.  She saw the baggie I made (pictured below) and loved the colors, so I made her a hat with the leftovers.  Seriously, I had 2.5 feet left when I was finished.  It's my handspun, a lovely 50/50 soy silk/wool blend which used to be bright yellow and red, but is now this fun colorway after I overdyed it with sky blue Wilton paste dye. It's the Green Berries pattern from Warm Earth by Yumiko Alexander who just so happens to be a beautiful human being and one of my favorite fiber friends.  Seriously, she hangs out all the time at Tempe Yarn and Fiber and asks us for opinions on her designs and everything.  ^_^

This is the baggie I made with my handspun using the Counterpane Accessories Pouch pattern from Handknit Holidays, one of my favorite books.  It's my notions pouch now and I swear the lining took longer to sew in than the bag took to knit.  I'm not a seamstress.  But, hey, this is only like my second time installing a zipper and I did an AMAZING job.  (It never hurts to pump yourself up... Why wouldn't you?)  It's also the first time I've EVER touched my knitting with a sewing machine, which was terrifying, but I had to just do it, right?  It turned out fine.  Most of these things do, actually.

I hand stitched the lining in.  Look at these stitches.

Seriously, this was so much of my life for two days.  I just feel ridiculously proud.  Partway through this project I yelled at my husband, "I don't WANT to do a good job!  I want to do a CRAPPY job!"  It took sooooo long that I'm not giving this to the person I was originally intending it for.  Not that I don't love her with all of my heart, but she will NEVER fully appreciate what went into this, between the handspun yarn and the sewing with a SEWING MACHINE on my KNITTING which was knit with my HANDSPUN YARN and then the HAND STITCHING inside.  I don't mean to get emotional, but you know what I mean.

Here's another shot of the notions pouch.  This is my most beautimous love right now.

Okay, that's enough.

Wait.  One more.

Yep, it's mine now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This is what my afternoons look like right now...

That's pretty much it.  Merry Christmas!  ^_~

Friday, December 2, 2011

Imagine Advent Calendar, Neckwarmer

I made some stuff and I'm posting it before I get too bogged down again.

Here's an Advent Calendar I made from card stock and decorated with papers and images from my Imagine:

Here's a neck warmer I knit for my hubby out of Malabrigo Twist (my favorite yarn ever) for our dating anniversary.  We've been dating for 9 years now.  Yes, we got married in there somewhere, but we still celebrate dating because dating is different from marriage and no married person should ever stop dating their spouse.

Until next time!  ^_~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Long break... Update!

 I've taken a hiatus from a lot of blogging lately, and I am honestly not sure if I'll ever really do this a lot.  I just have a lot of stuff going on!  And blogger has been so weird lately... I try constantly to post comments on my friends' blogs, and it never lets me.  Maybe it's my browser.

Anyway, I figured I'd do a quite montage of my crafting highlights over the last five or six months.  Above and below are shawl pins I made in June, I believe.

19 knitted strawberries for my son's play food stash, made in July from a free pattern on Ravelry.  To get to it, you can see my project page on Ravelry. (I'm KathyCanuel on there, and everywhere else, I suppose, but usually with a space between my names.  ^_~)

In August, I improvised a cute crochet chef hat for Elliott.  He's a bit obsessed with play food and cooking and kitchen stuff.

My first knitted shawl, also completed in August:

I got an order for a trinity link ring, which was a new challenge for me.  But I love the way this turned out, in September.

In September, I got a new bible from my husband, and I added bling to it by gluing crystals on the cover and by adding this cluster charm on the ribbon.

Also in September, I made my first real knitted garment (I've previously done a very bulky cardigan for my son and a little baby sweater, but I don't count those) for my sweet older son.  He gets cold in his classroom at school and they have a uniform policy that states that if they're wearing a cover up inside, it must be navy blue and it must NOT have a logo, and it can't be made of sweat material.  You would never realize just how hard it is to find a plain navy blue cardigan.  So I made one.

In October, I made two more signs for Tempe Yarn and Fiber, to mark sections of yarn in the store.  I had a lot of fun with both of these!

I also made a lot of really, really cool pieces for my trunk show.  These earrings are my super fave.  I don't think I have to point out which pair I'm talking about.  ^_~

In October, I also managed to knit two entire sweaters for my sweet husband for his November birthday, shown here.  He was so excited to get them, which makes it really easy to knit stuff for him.

So far this month, I've finished my second lacy shawl, also made from a free pattern on Ravelry, called Echo Flower.

And I have another trunk show coming up in the beginning of December!  I'm keeping busy.  So busy, in fact, that I apparently have no time to post about it.  ^_~

Friday, May 27, 2011

More JT Imagine Cartridge fun

This time I used the JT Cartridge on my Imagine to make winter layouts and a birthday layout for my son. Again, I'm posting them here because I've got to put them on the web somewhere or I can't add them to the Cricut board.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I made with the JT Cartridge...

I wanted to just post this on the Cricut message board, but I had to enter a URL for my images, so I need to post them here first. Basically, I used my JT cartridge in my Cricut Imagine to print papers and make a box and then I decorated it and made a card, too. I also made the box bigger than the DS game that was the present so that it would be tricksy packaging.

I finished the box with yarn from my remnants stash and added extra knots and stuff to make it messy and more boy-friendly. Hopefully it all worked out.

Interesting, I think...

Interesting that:

1. Thad is currently engrossed in "The Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan. He's reading it on my Nook. I barely suggested he might like to check it out and he jumped at the opportunity, I know, because of the technology more than because of the book. Of course the book is proving to be quite interesting or he would have stopped staring at the immobile screen (except for page changes, of course, but that's not really very exciting) long ago.

2. Thad refused to even start the Percy Jackson series by the same author, for which we own paperbacks of the first four books. (Waiting for the fifth to come out on paperback so that my set can match. I always do this to myself.) I wonder if he'll be interested in reading those once he's read through "The Throne of Fire"?

3. I can't read "The Throne of Fire" right now because someone is using my Nook.

4. I don't mind this because my 10 year old is choosing to read instead of playing a video game. Not that I feel that video games are entirely a waste (at least they're engaging his mind, right? Not like mindless watching of TV.). I just like that he's choosing a book, even if it's presented in a non-traditional form.

5. He's going to a birthday party this evening and I have yet to prepare the present/card... I wonder if a 13 year old boy will appreciate stuff made on my Cricut Imagine? I wonder if a 13 year old boy appreciates anything?

6. If I continue buying series of books on my Nook, I never have to worry about the "waiting for the paperback" thing again. This pleases me.

7. Adam's surprise and super secret anniversary socks are moving along well, even though it's pretty slow. I'm throwing myself into working on them every morning. I'm not sure Elliott will recognize me after this is all over if I don't have a dark gray sock in progress in my hands. I have heard a million times that "slow and steady wins the race", but I'm really hoping eventually for some "warp speed and steady" to enter my fingers. This project is dragging.

8. I think that's it... I have to go make packaging for a present for a kid I'm sure will throw it all away within 2 minutes of opening the gift.

9. I will still make the packaging, moved by some inner compulsion to always give my best even when people will fail to recognize or appreciate it.

10. God and I just had a moment of mutual understanding on that one. Touche, Big G. Touche.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spice Jar Tooth Fairy House

I'm both really proud of and really embarrassed by this project. It's a house for the Tooth Fairy made out of an old spice jar.

I'm trying to trace back to what made me think of doing this and all I can figure is that it started with Thad losing a tooth yesterday morning. He put it on a piece of paper on the counter with the cutest little note: "Mom, please put my tooth somewhere safe. Love, Thad" This empty jar just so happened to be sitting very close to the note. I had used it up in our glorious Chipotle style food night and I was trying to figure out what to store in it.

Suddenly, as often happens, my mind suddenly rushed with a huge mesh of ideas. I thought of the Tooth Fairy. I thought of the wonderfully cute fairy doors I read about on Yarn Harlot's blog. I looked at the spice jar and thought of old fashioned apothecary jars. I thought of a safe place for a tooth. The Tooth Fairy's house, right? And also the idea of a wonderful little place that we could put a tooth where the Tooth Fairy could go in, stretch her wings, relax, grab the tooth, then leave money before leaving. Sort of a Tooth Fairy exchange place. And it all kind of meshed in my mind and this is what happened:

(The tiny door knob fell off during sanding, but I'm going to fix it.)

(I've always been obsessed with chandeliers, so Tooth Fairy had to get a chandelier for her crib.)

And even though this was technically made as a safe place for Thad's tooth, somebody else thinks it belongs to him.

(For the record, Thad, being a wise and advanced age of 10, no longer believes in the Tooth Fairy,
but we still have fun with it.)