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My name's Jen. This is the place where I share my love of art with the world. Please stay a while, and leave a comment if you wish :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Unfrogettable You

Ya either love frogs, or you don't! I do. I made this little frog circular penny roller card using two Spellbinder dies which I taped together, then ran through my Bigshot using Stampin' Up! Bashful Blue card stock. The stamp set is a retired SU! set that I was lucky enough to buy from ebay.ca. The name of the set is 'Unfrogettable' and the featured frog on the card is the one of the main characters. One word of advice when making circular penny rollers is to use the small 1/4" size foam dots in your penny sandwich. If you use the larger ones, the mechanism doesn't run smoothly. This little guy whips around the card, spinning as he goes, wiggling his beady eyes! Cute as a button, and quick to make! Have an unfrogettable day!!

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Strawberry Social

My youngest daughter, Ellen, was lucky enough to get an awesome summer job this year working at The Champlain Trail Museum in our hometown, Pembroke, Ontario. This past Saturday they held their annual Strawberry Social, which is one of the museum's big fund raising events. Ellen is studying Public Relations, so being able to help with events like this is great experience. We are very thankful to the museum for giving Ellen this opportunity, thank you Angela!!
The museum asked me if I would be willing to do a basket weaving demonstration during the event, and of course I was delighted to take part!  They had several other artisans demonstrating arts and crafts that are part of our Canadian history. I particularly admired the hand carved wooden toys and games. I stood and watched the children play with them for several minutes and was amazed by how engrossed they were. No bells, whistles or electricity and yet the children were delighted and entertained. Gave me food for thought, maybe simple is better sometimes! Anyhow, I had a great day, sold a few baskets and got to talk for hours about something that I love to do! Remember to stop in and check out the museum when you find yourself in the area, it's worth the visit!

Friday, 22 June 2012

First Basket of the Season

The willow is beautiful this year, a bumper crop so far! I cut the willow for the handle, rim and ribs for this basket about two weeks ago, and it has already cured from bright green to vanilla bean black.  Willow is the perfect weaving material as it stays flexable long after it has dried and the colour just gets deeper and deeper as it ages. Northern Ontario, where I live, is loaded with with all kinds of weaving material such as alder, dogwood, elm, birch, cedar and of course the over 35 different varieties of willow that grow here. The rule for selecting twigs to weave with is simple, if you bend the twig into a circle and it doesn't crack or split it's suitable weaving material. Basket weavers of the past and present often use whatever grows locally to create their baskets. Anything from seagrass and pine needles to wood splints made from ash trees. Can you guess what the Inuit, who live in the Arctic use? They create breath taking woven works of art from whale baleen. Baleen is the 'strainer like' material many large whales have in their mouths instead of teeth! Now that's creativity!
Did you know that there has never been a machine invented that can weave a basket? Every single basket you see in every store has been hand woven by someone. Most are made by young girls and women from developing countries, often earning very little for their hours of hard work. Human beings have been weaving baskets for about 50,000 years. To put that into perspective, the last ice age was only 10,000 years ago. Basketry pre-dates pottery by thousands of years and is also the only art form we share with birds and other mammals. A bird nest is definitely a basket, in fact, not only do birds weave but they do it without verbal instructions and no hands! I can't figure out how they manage to do it. A bird nest is a true feat of engineering! I remember how frustrating it was to make my first basket, I can't imagine trying to do it with no fingers or tools! Many primates such as gorillas weave a fresh sleeping mat to sleep on each night. They carefully select palm frawns and tear them into strips with their teeth and create intricatley woven mats. So next time you see basket, stop and admire it for a minute, because each and every one is hand woven by someone, somewhere :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Happy Graduation Class of 2012!!

It's hard to believe another school year is coming to an end. My daughter has a few friends graduating tomorrow, so of course she asked me to make her a few grad cards, the day before she needs them! Oh well, I am happy to do it and glad she asked! This grad card is a 'spring pop up' style card which suits the occasion perfectly. I used a Cuttlebug die to die cut the numbers and Stampin' Up! Teeny Tiny Wishes to stamp Happy Graduation. Tassle is made by winding embroidery floss around a scrap piece of cardboard, then is sandwiched between punched black circles to fasten. I placed a writing surface in behind the cap as this card doesn't open in the traditional manner, so writing your message can be tricky. Congratulations to all the grads who have worked so hard to make it to this day! Well done!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A Stitch in Time

Last month when 'The Friday Night Girls' met for our card night, one of the girls (Hi Nicole!) requested a quilted card design for our next get together. Seeing as it's a bijillion degrees outside, I spent the afternoon in my nice cool craftroom and created this design. Canadians are never happy about the weather - it's either too hot or too cold!!
I am an avid quilter as well as a card maker and this card is made from an actual log cabin quilt pattern.  This style of piecing, whether fabric or paper, is called foundation piecing.  It's a type of quilting where a paper pattern is used as the base to attach pieces to, rather than cutting shapes out and sewing them together. I wasn't sure how the technique would translate to card making, but I really like how it turned out and am going to dig through my foundation piecing patterns to what else I can find!! I used an assortment of stamps to stamp the buttons, tomato, thread and measuring tape, then colored and cut them out, and added a stamped sentiment. See you next Friday girls!!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Silly Little Monsters!

Hey gang! Sorry I haven't written in a few days, but my arthritis has been terrible. I am much better today though, and spent the morning in my craftroom making silly monsters! I am having a group of young card makers over to my house this Saturday to do some paper crafting and thought these cute little guys would be fun to create. The gift tag opens with a scored hinge to make it easy to write a birthday message and fastens to the bag with ribbon ties. It's topped off with a glitzed up crown and several different sizes of circle punched shapes create the face and beauty warts. The bookmarks are made from a folded 6"square of paper and love to munch the corner of a good book! I love crafting with kids and these projects will give them a chance to experiment with different tools and learn a few new techniques. From what I hear they are as excited as I am to get crafting! See you guys on Staurday :)