Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We spent the holidays in crisp, cold but sunny Calgary with my sister's family. We had a great time and enjoyed fabulous food, especially Donna's home baking! This is a card my niece Erica made for me. She knows i love blue and birds. We had some fun doing some art projects. I'll have to get them to send me some pictures. We did cards and some paper quilt style collage.
I am late posting some pics of my Christmas decorations. I have over 20 rubbermaid totes filled with ornaments, all but one are in storage back in Novato. We moved down to Pasadena with just one box - my latest theme - birds and robin's egg blue.

We just bought a small tree, about 4 1/2 feet, at Fresh and Easy for $14.99. It sits on top of a small table covered with a plush pale blue tree skirt. I only used aqua blue tinsel, birds and glass icicles.
Here is my mantel - usually it just has my collection of white things, but i added some black and white or silvery christmas cards saved from past years. Then i added some mercury glass balls in robin's egg blue and some organza ribbon with blue and silver spots.
Here is the whole effect. Those are twinkly christmas lights on the log in the fire box.

Here is a fabulous winter banner from my dear friend and kindred spirit Aileen from Outside the Margins. She wrote about this banner on her blog - and so i was very excited to see that she sent it to me! Here is her tutorial.
Today is new year's eve. Later this evening, the flower covered floats for the Pasadena Rose Bowl parade will start lining up along Orange Grove blvd, right outside our door. I'll have some fun pics to post tomorrow. Hope you have a fun and festive day and ring in the new year with some tasty bubbly!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Frugal Christmas Card

I love the idea of handmade christmas cards. I just don't love making 50 of the same thing. So why not make 50 different ones? Why not start in january and make really unique and interesting cards your friends and family will treasure? Make 4 a month, one a week? How hard could that be? Nah, just panic the second week of December like me! My inspiration for a simple sweet "minimalist" card was these adorable little ornament stickers i picked up a Michaels.
I also had a good supply of prefolded card stock with a faint harlequin pattern.This is my first prototype. A few stickers "dangling" from a string.
It took a few tries - but i finally found the right recipe. The number of ornaments, the spacing, the dimension.
I used shiny pink or aqua twine, floss and yarn.
I tried "portrait" - but went in the end with "landscape".

Here they all are! I like to make something interesting and fairly easy to make. I stamped the inside with a whimsical Merry Christmas.
I raised up a couple of the stickers with foam sticky dots for added dimension.

now i just need to find envelopes...!!

The Perfect Sunday

After a perfectly icky rainy Saturday, Sunday dawned dry and warmer. A group of co-workers met at my place around 10am for a day of shopping and crafting. (My two favorite pastimes that don’t include my husband…!)

First we went to the Rose Bowl Flea market. Let me tell you – if you want bargains, go to the flea market the day after a blinding rain storm, with the risk of rain the day of the sale. I can only assume that is what kept people away. It was deadsville. The paid parking lots were empty. Or maybe it is just the time of year – most people were at the mall or toys r us. Vendors were begging for sales. Right off the bat they would say everything is 50% off. You would have been SO much better off at the flea market.

I picked up a bunch of hand written letters and envelopes from the 30’s for $2 bucks.

And some modern postcards with vintage images - 3 for a buck. This guy was giving stuff away. I could have bought so much more.

Another booth had piles of ephemera for a buck. I got these old contact sheets of family photos.

I just love this sentiment - apparently Ruth will "stir up memories of bygone days"!

The autograph book, plus this 1935 yearbook from a LA association filled with cool old photos and advertising – all for $10.

I picked up two packs of interesting buttons for a dollar.

This heavenly 3" ballet pink satin ribbon was only $4.

And finally a vintage silver Christmas tree stand like this one, but not shiny. I just love the design, it was $10.

– all for $28. So what am I missing? Oh yeah – I picked up a mahjong tile for a dollar. That adds up to $28.

After exhausting ourselves at the market, we had a nice pot luck lunch of empanadas, orzo salad, broccoli quiche and a green salad with cranberries and almonds. I made cookies with a recipe that uses a cake mix and leftover Halloween candy. I used Butterfingers. So sweet – but good.

The group I had over is very creative and not intimidated to dive into my supplies and get started. We did mostly collage gift tags that could be used as ornaments, which we dipped in melted beeswax.

For these tags I used bird patterned napkins over script printed paper. The beeswax makes the napkin translucent, adding depth.

Here are the backs - just wrapping paper.

Here is a promotional CD folder that i covered with striped paper and coated with beeswax. I just gesso'd the CD. Once i decide what to do with it - i'll decorate the CD. It could make a cute card.

Here's the front.

Then I started these larger collages on sheet music as a base. I used female models from a fashion brochure. I plan to add more stuff to these – especially to make them more interesting clothes – maybe in fabric, or decorative papers or fibers. But I only had out all my Christmas themed stuff to work with.

It was a fun day and my first craft gathering here in So-cal. I hope to have many more. My white wall to wall carpeting survived thanks to heavy duty plastic drop cloths. See here to read why that is significant. Who puts white carpeting in a dining room?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving thank you notes...EZ step by step

I visited some dear friends over the thanksgiving weekend and i thought i would send some simple handmade thank you notes. One couple invited us to dinner and to stay with them for the weekend. Another couple hosted a casual party for us Friday night. And another dear friend gave us all little gifts. (more on that later!)
For ideas i flipped through a vintage Larousse illustrated dictionary and found this little bird.
I already had some nice orange card stock folded into a journal that i never used - but it was a bit too big for the envelopes.
Here's how to decide how big to make the cards - i measured the envelopes! They were about 7 1/4 by 5 1/4.
This is my favorite precision cutter - just the right size for this type of project. Keeping the cardstock folded, i cut along the long edge so that it was 5 inches wide.
Then i cut the short end so that the card was 7 inches tall.
A perfect fit!
I scanned the page from the dictionary with the dinde, (turkey in French) and printed it out 4 to a page. My HP printer program asks me if i want to print any image one, two, three, 4 or 9 to a page. Otherwise i would not know how to do this!
The dictionary paper was a little to small and lonely on the card. I tried a few scenarios and decided to make a simple frame.
To get the perfect measurement - i looked at the card and the dictionary page, lining them up on the edge of the paper cutter. One was 5 by 7 the other was 3 by 5 - so the frame should be cut to 4 by 6.
This scrapbook paper had a preprinted rough edge all around. But since i cut it into peices- i only had one "rough" edge left. So to make all sides "match" - i used a bit of sanding square to rub off a bit of the colour.
Here you can see how much better it looks when all edges have that faded effect.
Here it is all glued together. I used my fav UHU glue stick.
I wanted a little something something to add to the card. I tried and rejected buttons, ribbon and stickers. Instead I added a single skeleton leaf to the front of each card with two tiny glue dots. Put them right on the stem or you risk tearing the leaf.
So sweet and simple - i call this perfect symmetry - like a matted picture in a frame.
So the gift i received from Mary was a calligraphy pen and violette ink - scented as well as coloured purple. I totally suck at calligraphy - but i thought it would be rude not to try. Here's a tip - write on a separate piece of paper - NOT directly on the card. That way you can make MANY mistakes and just save the best one.
Here are the three cards. I added a little autumnal fruity sticker to the inside of the card - to hold the sentiment in place. Off they go into the mail!
Now, what will i do for christmas cards...hmmmm....?