Monday, May 28, 2012


 I guess once you get started with these card making challenges, it's hard to stop!  This one is for the Penny Black Saturday Challenge 203 - Monochrome.  Just to be sure, I looked up "monochrome" because it's one of those words that I *think* I know what it means, but I'm not sure.  Turns out monochrome means: "being or made in shades of a single color."  Now I was ready to get started.

First I needed to find at least one Penny Black stamp that would work well with a monochromatic color scheme.  I used the materials shown above to achieve various shades of purple: pens, pigment ink and embossing powder, dye ink, chalk, and two colors of Twinkling H2O watercolors.  This really was a challenge for me, I don't think I've ever done a monochromatic card before.  Many people use various layers of paper and embellishments on their cards to beautiful effect, but I like cards that are one layer, perhaps two at most (though I have done cards with more layers than that).  So I came up with this card, and I have to say I'm glad I took this challenge.  It really made me approach things differently.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Circles, Polka Dots & All-around Fun

What with all of the reorganizing I've been doing in my craft room, I've discovered lots of things I'd forgotten I had, including this adorable House Mouse image.  I don't even know the last time (if ever) I made something for one of the many stamping challenge blogs out there, but I decided to give it a go when I realized that the House Mouse & Friends Monday Challenge this week is for Circles, Polka Dots & All-around Fun.  Hopefully this card fits the bill!  I colored in the image with dye ink from a variety of very (very) old - but still juicy! - Close to My Heart ink pads (just push the closed lid down onto the ink pad, then use a moist paint brush to pick up the ink from the inside of the lid).  The polka dot paper is also pretty ancient and the name of the manufacturer escapes me, darn it.  I made this card with the fold at the top; that way the card can be used for English or Hebrew.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Now there's a $10 word for getting rid of crap you've saved for nearly 10 years!  Digging through all the stuff that's accumulated in the craft room is a major project.  When the room was originally created (it used to be the garage), it had a second purpose.  I used the space as a classroom for tutoring students in English.  In addition to all of the rubber stamps, paper, cardstock, ink pads, paints, specialty scissors, brayers, embossing powders, chalks, markers, colored pencils, and assorted craft tools, I've also accumulated a huge amount of teaching materials: books, workbooks, home made games (to make learning fun!), photocopies of workbook pages (so the books can be reused), home made worksheets and study aids, printouts from teaching websites...well, you get the idea.

If you compare this photo to the one I posted earlier, you'll note that the table has more junk on it and the shelves on the wall have (slightly) less, especially the top shelf.  I filled three boxes this week: one with papers that are destined for recycling, and two with books that will be donated to the American School, which has a great library and also gives away books they don't want/need.  The thing that holds me back the most from my decluttering is figuring out where to donate things that are still in great shape.  What you can't see is that the cabinet on the left now has one empty shelf and another that is mostly empty.

Here is a view from the other side of the room.  You can see the white board I used when the room was also a classroom. After I took this photo I cleaned up a fair amount of the stuff on the table, but I still have a long way to go.  I am also trying to work out a system for cataloging my rubber stamps that, unlike my current system, will also tell me where in tarnation each stamp is stored!  Many minutes are currently wasted while searching for a particular stamp.  I also would like to find a better system for storing my paper/cardstock/precut cards with envelopes, and my various coloring media.  Clearly, I've got a long way to go.

As Liat would say: baby steps.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blast from the Past

Some of you may remember the days when I enjoyed making scenes.  Stamped scenes!  This one is from 2004 (click on the photo to see a larger version).  The cat and chicken stamps are by eat cake graphics, the stamp of the distant mountains is by PSX, and the grass is by Art Impressions; the rest of the stamps are by Joan Wear.  Most likely it was colored in with my Prismacolor pencils and some chalks for the larger areas.

Stamping scenes can be fairly involved, not just coming up with an idea but deciding which stamps to use and figuring out placement.  Then you need to mask the foreground elements before stamping in the background.  Then coloring.  It's a pretty big investment of time and work.  But it's also a lot of fun, especially when you get an idea and can see it working out just as you'd visualized.  And as you can see, even in my scenic stamping my sense of humor is odd (I love puns, what can I say?).

Eventually, after I had an accordion folder full of scenes, I began asking myself why I was spending so much time and effort on something that just sat in a folder!  I do have one of my scenes framed and on the wall in the guest room, but most are tucked away.  Maybe I should take a few more out and find frames for them.

Back when I started stamping scenes I created a website (of course I did) with tutorials, a gallery of my scenes, and so on.  That is long gone, but the scenes that I created and sent to Third Coast Stamps are still online in a gallery that the company has graciously given me.  Included in the gallery is an illustrated story told in installments.  The link is here for any who are interested.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Something for Everyone

It's been a while since I've posted, so I have quite a variety of things to share. First off is this shawl I knitted for the niece of a friend. It's the Mara Shawl (free on Ravelry). I've also made one for myself. The pattern is very easy and repetitive, which makes it perfect for relaxed knitting when you want to focus on the person who will receive the shawl and not the process.
This is another page in my composition notebook, which has definitely become an art journal. I've made a number of these off the wall collages now, and they're always fun. (Click on the photo to see a larger version). I also do other things in the book, including trying out new techniques I discover on the Internet. Every time I work in this notebook I think of my dear friend Caroline, who gave it to me.
This is a page from my altered book, which is getting close to completion. I'm very happy with the way this page turned out, especially the quote. I colored in the picture of the woman (taken from the newspaper) with chalks.

Of course I've got a bunch of other projects in the works. As far as knitting goes, I'm ready to start the second in a pair of navy blue socks. In the winter I can manage to work on dark colored knitting because I have a nice, bright task light near the couch. But as it heats up in the spring and summer I find it too hot to knit with a bright light shining over my shoulder, even if I have the air conditioning on, so my work on this pair of socks has become limited to daylight hours. I'm also working on a pair of socks for Liat. All of my other knits in progress have been ignored for many weeks, but I know I'll get back to them sooner or later. I've got many ideas I want to try out in my altered book and my art journal, and I'm already preparing another outdated reference book for altering. I'd love to make a supply of greeting cards to have available, too. And I haven't forgotten my clean up the crafts room project! (I just haven't done much about it yet, darn it). Hope you're all enjoying lovely spring weather!