Tuesday, 19 November 2013

autumn .. the year's last, loveliest smile - william cullen bryant

Autumn has a quiet obscure elegance as the days get noticeably shorter, the colours change and the weather becomes crisp and sharp.  Many people love the change from the heat of summer to Autumn.  Although writers and poets associate fall with human decline in vitality and the decent toward death; the falling leaves and the slow demise of nature as it prepares for its final days (hmm a little dreary dear), there is also a newness related to Autumn.  New pencils, new school clothes, new classrooms, new teachers and some new classmates and the invigorating air brings a freshness and sense of innovation (that's more like it).  

I both love and fear Autumn.  I love the colours, Halloween and cozy socks.  However, I also feel great dismay for the pending winter.  Although born in Canada I cannot seem to make my body or mind accept winter as a positive season.  No matter how hard I try, thoughts of ice and -30 temperatures do not equal yay, good times.  Somehow this year Edmonton has been given a reprieve from an early winter.  Each day that the highs are greater than -15 are a cause for celebration.  I can feel my friends in Ontario and Montréal cringing.  It's a dry -15 which is the east equivalent of -5.  Trust me.  You can still visit after October 1st.

I am entering my Autumn layout in three challenges this month:

1.  Berry 71 Bleu November challenge: Change is beautiful and
2.  Happy Accidents and Turning Leaves for Anything But a Card Challenge #29: Fall into Fall
3.  Ladybug Crafts November Challenge: Autumn Colours

Alex, mr. everythingshetouches and I along with some friends spent a warm and fun-filled September day at the corn maze last year.  Alex and his friend E. started the merriment with a number of jumps from the top of the haystack.  I am saving the photos of Alex and E. for a separate layout so stay tuned (and I need permission from E's mom to share his photo with you).  Alex loved the freedom and silliness of the straw as it came loose from the barrels and I was surprised that the scratchy texture did not phase him as he tossed it in the air and let it fall all over him.  The middle photo is my favourite of the three and I'm so happy that I was able to capture the moment.

I found the leaves and berries at one of the dollar stores in town.  Dollar stores have really improved their stock over the years and a little ingenuity and some imagination does not hurt either.

The berries were attached to the corrugated cardboard with a little raw, unmixed and exposed gel medium.  I wanted the layout to have a little edge and authentic feel.  An Autumn raw crisp feeling.  The Recollections: Tattered and Worn cardstock was cut, distressed with vintage photo and layered on top of gel medium/copper acrylic paint with brick stencil.  I adore the way this corner turned out.  The colours, the lines and the textures really came together.

Using one of my favourite masks: so happy, memories with you, cherished moments I sprayed calypso teal Ranger Dylusions Ink Spray to create an added dimension.

I attached a part of the Pink Paislee treasures cardstock to the background of the layout and added a bit of Gesso for interest and layering.  Layered behind the photos is more corrugated cardboard, playing cards and painted/gel mediumed brick stencil.

My goodness.  I just took an inventory in my head of all the layouts I have to catch up on.  I wish I could say I am only one year behind but that is hardly the reality.  The good news is I do not have to wonder what I should be doing next. 

Thank you for stopping by and peak in again soon.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

two layer inspired necklace

A friend was sporting a really truly fabulous necklace this summer.  It was complex and had diversity and fantastic busyness.  And so, I decided to re-create it with a little everythingshetouches' flare.  I don't have a comparison photo for you, however, I promise I was true the concept: two layers with many different hanging beads.  Ét voilà.  My version of the two layer necklace:

Other than figuring out the length of the two strands of chain so that they overlapped without interfering with each other, there was no complicated thoughtful design.  I found great freedom in random beading.  I used gemstone and wood beads and Czech glass pearls.  The diversity in texture, colours, opaqueness, shape and size makes for a very interesting piece, do you agree?

Perhaps December will bring a pair of earrings to make up the jewelry trinity: bracelet, necklace, earrings.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

the chemist mixing up a birthday surprise

I special ordered my STAMPERS ANONYMOUS Tim Holtz: The Chemist stamp.  It was love at first sight.  And he arrived just in time to be the centre piece for my dad's birthday card.  I have mad love for the Chemist stamp set.  Is it just me or is there a slight Bryan Cranston resemblance?

I added vintage photo ink blotches and used my Silhouette Cameo teacup stain stencil with black archival ink to create teacup stains (oh, what a messy Chemist) on brown cardstock.  Did you ever watch the 1960-ish video in Chemistry class warning students about the dangers of eating and drinking in the lab because they may accidentally drink the chemical concoction in lieu of apple juice. And how students should never, never ever, use the beakers for apple juice even though all that chemistry makes you down-right thirsty?  I think my Chemist is a bit of a badass and might just drink his earl grey from a beaker.  Tough-guy.  I added bricks with the mini brick stencil by mixing red and brown acrylic paints into gel medium and then highlighted the bricks with copper metallic paint when the medium dried.

I wanted to create multiple physical layers and so I cut out the centre of the card and taped in a sheet of watercolour paper that I ran through watered down distress inks (tea dye and weathered wood).  This is still one of my favourite go-to techniques.  I stamped the formulas onto the watercolour paper and distressed the edges of the centre with black soot.

I had opened the card to work on the front to minimalize the colouration on the inside and the back of the card and decided to decorate the back as well.  Looks like my Chemist did a bit of over-mixing and had an explosion in the lab.  Oh Chemist.

The Chemist was stamped and embossed onto a large Prima tag.  The Prima tags are pre-scripted which gives a nice background and the colouring is perfect for the pale-skinned Chemist who hardly sees the light of day. 

The jars of chemicals were coloured in with watercolours using my distress inks and markers.  I coloured in the Chemist with markers.

Now that my dad and brother's visit has come to an end I'm hoping to ramp up my crafting time.  With Chanukah, Christmas and more birthdays around the corner I have no choice but to roll up the crafting sleeves and get busy.  

Happy crafting everyone.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

pj november challenge: the result

It was harder, than I originally thought, to predetermine and limit myself to a prescribed set of crafting tools but that was the challenge for November with PJ Challenge.  I admit I'm very pleased with the result and I now have 4 mini cards (4x4), 4 regular cards (6x6) and 3 tags ready for the winter holidays.  At the end of the day, being restrictive, once I started crafting, was a bit liberating for me.  I know it's counter-intuitive, however, it was true.  All I needed was right in front of me.

Before I get too far ahead of myself I have something to admit: I switched out the fired brick distressed ink for tea dye.  In the planning and preparation the red ink seemed like a natural choice for holiday cards and I thought the little chick could use a red pompom but I decided, in the end, that the fired brick would stand out too much against the rest of the more muted colours.

The 4x4s: I painted the sweet chick, hats and snowman shadows with the distress inks.  The inks are, in addition to many other uses, a fabulous watercolour medium.  And as expected with watercolour, you can play with the density of the colour and if you're unhappy with what you have applied, you can add or take away colour.  I am really becoming a huge watercolour fan.  I feel a watercolour craze settling in.


I distress inked a scrap section of the watercolour paper and cut-out the circle snowflakes using a punch.  Love, love, love the result.  Reminds me of images of the planets which is very far off from snowflakes but still has a nice little effect on the card.

 The 6x6s:

I love how this card turned out.  I used the cut-outs from the windows to create little pockets of snowfall.

The tags:

And the paper dust:

Spectacular challenge.  Very productive.  Thank you HK for my sweet little chick.  He is definitely a nice addition to my modest winter-related supplies.  

And thank you for stopping in.  I always appreciate the visit.