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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, 24 September 2013

I Spy with My Little Eye...

...something that will keep the kids busy for hours!! No batteries, no computer, no noise! I've been making these toys for about 15 years now and still find them fun to make and even play with. The front of the laminated tag lists what's hiding among the pellets. The back of the tag details information about speech and language development as well as different ways to play with the toy that encourage learning the alphabet, and developing concepts like, bigger or smaller than, sounds like, starts or ends with the sound, rhymes with and can you find what I'm describing?
These bags are a little complicated to make, but I love a good craft challenge! I make most of the items found inside the bags from Shrink-It, Fimo/Sculpey, wood, fabric and fun foam. I add to it with little items I find while shopping like mini erasers, marbles and dice. The bag itself is made from polar fleece, with is made from recycled pop bottles. Bet ya didn't know that! The window in the bag is made from a square of 10 gauge vinyl, and the tag is laminated then secured with nylon cording.
I make several different themed bags, the two in this post are the ABC bag for children ages 2-5 yrs and the Celebrate bag for older children. Although, I occasionally catch an adult engrossed in the search!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Apple of My Eye


Well, summer is over. It wasn't much of a summer weather wise, but I had one of the best summers of my life regardless. Traveled, visited friends, made lots of stuff that I forgot to post on my blog and now it's over. I decided to spend the day in my art room and get it together. This is one of the cards I made today whilst puttering and cleaning getting ready for the fall. The card features a Stampin' Up! Sweet Treat Cup full of cherry mini jelly beans.
There are tons of instructions on the internet describing how to create a very complicated sliding trap door that uses a bijillion foam dimensional dots. My advice? Don't do it! I made a very simple trap door that is obvious and self explanatory to retrieve the candy. Punch a 3/4" hole in the card and use a 3" x 3" square of card stock, scoring one end at about 1/2", apply adhesive to the scored flap and adhere to card. Punch a small heart and use a brad to affix it, creating a twisting little mechanism which holds the door shut. It can even be refilled in you have a child to entertain! Good to be back!

Twist heart to open flap!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

First Willow Basket of the Season

 Well, the snow finally melted and the pussy willows are out. I went for a big walk last week and cut some of them to make my first willow basket of the season. This one has a willow rim, handle and ribs with mixed fibres under the God's Eye 4 point lashing. The body is woven from 1/4" flat natural rattan. I made it for an old friend who I haven't seen for 28 years. A hand crafted basket is a unique gift, and if course he told me he loved it. I think he did. Now to locate some elm, dogwood, alder and a few spruce and/or cedar roots...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Twin Sisters

I am going on a little trip to visit family and friends next week for a few days. Yeah!! One of the friends I will see has two very special 'tween' twin daughters. Those of you who know me know that I love to make toys and stuffies for kids, so I crocheted these twin sister monkeys to tuck into little bags of girlie junk for them. When crocheting stuffed characters I always use Bernat Satin yarn and a 'G' sized hook. I like the tight stitching this combo of yarn and hook provides, especially when using a single crochet stitch. Be generous with the poly stuffing as well. I use a chopstick to make sure the filling gets into all the nooks and crannies. Even though the girls are old enough that choking on small parts is not an issue, I always use safety eyes that have a locking mechanism on the back to prevent them from becoming a hazard. I also avoid beads or buttons unless they a firmly double stitched with extra heavy poly wrapped cotton thread. Hope they like them! I think they will, if there is one thing I do know, it's cool girl junk! Have a great day crafters!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Fare Thee Well Outlines :(

Outlines is, or was, an amazing little stamp company and it looks like they have closed their business, if I have read properly on their website. Their stamps are so unique, full of detail and for someone who loves to colour (like me!) they are perfect for card making. This stamp is one I purchased at Michaels not too long ago, it's number is PS0579. It's just the right size to fit an A2 card front, and as it is quite a 'busy' image I made it into a simple easel card.
I would love to own a delicious set of Copic markers, but sadly they are not in my budget, so I use Prismacolour pencil crayons and odourless solvent to achieve a similar effect at minimal cost. I was a bit unsure of what to do with the birdcage. I tried cutting it out, but the lines are just to detailed. I stamped it onto ivory paper using Versamark, then embossed it with Antique Gold powder by Tsukinek, by far my favourite brand. The powder is very fine and gives a smooth finish, and it comes in tons of different colours. I then used Distress ink in Vintage to add dimension making the cage appear to be rounded. And of course, every card is better with a bit of Stickles! Sorry to see you go Outlines, I will treasure my stamp collection that much more!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

My Dream House...

I am a huge Penny Black fan, and I love this stamp set. It's called "Victorian Houses" and the detail on them is amazing. The only problem I had was decided what colour went where! I stamped the house onto watercolour paper using Stazon in black. The house is coloured using Prismacolour pencil crayon and odourless solvent.
These stamps are quite large and won't fit on a standard A2 card, which measures 5 1/2" x 4 1/4", so I had to choose a larger mounting. It looked a little lonesome all by itself on a plain card front so I opted for a centre mount side-step card. I used my fav Distress Inks, Stormy Sky and Peeled paint, to create the lawn/sky background paper, then stamped a few whispy trees in brown Stazon. I found the cutest little mini flower punch ever at the Dollarstore of all places, and punched some mini purple flowers topped with Daffodil Dimensional Pearl. I found really good instructions for making a side-step card on splitcoaststampers.com in the tutorial section. Their instructions are always good, love the pictures and most include a video which really helps explain things. Happy Spring!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Thumbs Up!!

My daughter, who is graduating from Carleton University this spring, asked me to make a thank you card for one of her professors.  I immediately decided on black, red and white, which are the school colors, then thought hard about the design. While experimenting, I got ink on my fingers and ruined a piece of white card stock in the process. It reminded me of some cards I made eons ago that were based on fingerprints.  I used Spellbinder Nestabilities/Labels One and my trusty Bigshot to create a swing card. Darlene003, a card making youtuber (is that a word?) posted a great instructional tutorial video on making the swing card. Her card design features my fav punch, the Stampin' Up! Two Step Owl punch and is worth a peak! Congrats Emily, and thanks to your professor too!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Kyle...

Just a quickie, a bulldog birthday card for my oldest daughter's boyfriend, Kyle. Emily and Kyle are planning to 'adopt' a bulldog puppy soon, so I thought a dog theme card would suit. The dog stamp is by Reflections and is one of the new stamp sets I purchased at Michael's recently. I couldn't find suitable background paper so I made my own by stamping fire hydrants from the same stamp set onto white card stock. The dog is colored using Prismacolor pencil crayon and odorless solvent blended with a cardboard blender. Happy Birthday Kyle!!

Hey Girl!

This little cutie is my youngest daughter Ellen, at age two.  She has grown from an adorable little girl into an amazing young woman. She is graduating from college next month and has just bought her first car. It is hard for me to believe that she is 20 years old. Time passes so quickly. I CASE'd this little girl card from www.laurafadora.wordpress.com, after seeing her design on Pinterest. Her blog is loaded with lots of card making ideas and techniques, definitely worth a visit. Her `girl`card reminded me so much of my Ellen, that I made my own version. I used a Spellbinder circle die to create the head and hair and added two punched scallop circles for the pompom ponytails. I added some pink chalk to the cheeks and nose. Ellen had the most kissable cheeks ever!!

Friday, 15 March 2013

A Country Floral Cascade

Did you all see the new spring issue of Card Maker magazine?? It has a gorgeous floral cascade card on the cover. It inspired me to make this cascading card. Usually I make my cascade cards with three tiers using an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of card stock, but I followed their instructions and used a 12" x 12" piece of card stock to make this a four tier card. The instructions were very good, and I would recommend trying it out. To decorate this card I got to use my new Blossom punch and Mixed Bunch stamp set and Cherry Cobbler ink pad by Stampin' Up! (I bought myself a little treat, shh!) I added some greenery using a Martha Stewart leaves punch and a swirl/flourish die. I added a few squirts of homemade gold glimmer mist. I did use quite a few Distress inks as well, Vintage Photo, Denim Jeans, Broken China and Peeled Paint. Topped it off with some wooden buttons and a bow in my fav new color, champagne. Happy Spring everyone, even though it snowed again today!!

I can't believe it actually folded flat! Hahahaha!!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Good Advice...

Of all the punches in my considerable punch collection, I love my Two Step Owl punch by Stampin' Up! the best. I never get tired of it, and it can be used to make sooo much more than the owls it was meant to make. For this card, I did add wings to the owls, courtesy of my Two Step Bird punch, also by SU! If you don't have that punch, you can make wings from cutting a wing shape from a scallop circle, or cut them free hand.
The sky background on this card is made by applying homemade alcohol ink to glossy cardstock using a piece of cotton felt attached by Velcro to a wooden block. I make my alcohol ink from Sharpie markers or 'permanent' markers. I can make it for pennies and I can control the color. If you would like to try making your own alcohol ink, it's super easy, although a bit messy!
Here's how:
1. Select a Sharpie marker and take it apart
2. Remove the felt 'tube' inside, it will be juicy so you might want to wear gloves or handle tube with pliers or tweezers!
3. Pour about an ounce of 99% alcohol into a glass container (I purchased the alcohol at Wal-Mart for about $5.00. That's enough to make several batches of ink)
4. Soak the felt 'ink tube' in the alcohol so it will release the ink. You can cut the tube in half or thirds to help the ink come out faster.
5. When the 'ink tube' turns white, you can discard it. Ink is ready!
You can put the ink into a spray bottle and use it that way. Even add a little Perfect Pearls to it to make home made Glimmer Mist, for pennies I might add. Or use it like I have in this example, by putting it into a squirt bottle and applying it with a felt pad. The possibitities are endless!!

Squirt ink onto felt pad, then pounce onto card stock. This is my 'cheapie' Tim Holtz style applicater tool. Wood block with self adhesive Velcro attached.

To make inks, use either 'Sharpie' brand markers, or markers that say "permanent ink" on them. The red marker is a dollarstore version of Sharpie and they work just as well as the brand name markers!

Make sure to use glossy cardstock for this technique!!

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Good advice ;)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Basket Weaving Day

Any day that I get together with a group to weave baskets is a great day! Last week I had the opportunity to spend two days making Shaker Cat Head baskets with a group at The First Presbyterian Church in Pembroke, Ontario. Everyone enjoyed themselves and they have a new found appreciation for the art of basketry. F.Y.I, there has never been a machine invented that can weave a basket, each and every one is hand made! One of the ladies attending brought some samples of baskets that she and her father have collected on their travels. The black basket pictured below comes from Africa, and was made by the Zulu Tribe. The hat, woven from palm leaves came from New Zealand and the birch bark basket decorated with porcupine quills was made by a local First Nations artist. (Sorry, but I was unable to find the name of the artist).
I always find it amazing that even though the same pattern is used, we used a 7x7 stake cat head pattern, the baskets all look so different. I guess they are kind of like people, each one is special and unique!

This palm leaf hat was made in New Zealand.

A few baskets made during the two day course.

Birch Bark basket, decorated with porcupine quills, Gorgeous!!

Coiled basket made in Africa by the Zulu Tribe. Amazing!!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Operation Write Home

A few weeks ago I was contacted by the organizers of Operation Write Home, which is a nonprofit group of people who help the morale of members of the United States military while they are away from home. They send, literally millions, of handmade greeting cards to soldiers all over the world and are always looking for donations of cards as well as card design ideas. They emailed me to let me know that one of my card designs, "Happy Bird-day Tweetheart", was selected to be featured on their blog! I was delighted! They asked me if I would write a blog post to tell my readers about their website, blog and cause.
Not only is it a great cause, but their blog is an absolute dynamite (!!) resource for card making ideas! They have a great picture gallery and tons of fun stuff for card making fans to explore and try!
Here is the address, please check it out! www.operationwritehome.org and the blog you will find at the top of their Web Page is called "Stars and Stamps". Thanks everyone!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Birthday Fishes...

Here's an oldie but a goodie! I was checking out the tutorial section at www.splitcoaststampers.com and found this technique - using hair gel for a textured card front. Here is how you do it: squirt (cheap) hair gel into a small zip lock style baggie, about 1/4 to 1/3 full. squeeze out the air and seal bag. I always tape the top of the bag to be sure it won't leak. You can add glitter and a few drops of re-inker to add color if desired. Stamp image onto card front, I stamped some greenery, then adhere the bag to card using Red Sticky Strip or other strong adhesive. Cover with a die cut top to reveal the gel bag and decorate in any theme you wish. It kind of makes sense to decorate using a sea creature, ocean or fish tank theme, but you could make it into any card your imagination comes up with. I'm not too sure I would mail this card, maybe hand delivering would be best, just in case you end up with a 'squirt your friend and make a sticky mess card' rather than a birthday greeting!!

The little bubbles that are trapped add to the effect :)

Found the punch art fish on Pinterest - I am obsessed!!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Tongue Tied

Just a quickie today! When ever I go to the drugstore, or any store that has a greeting card section, I always stop and take a look for inspiration. I found a cute little card with a frog on it and it was the inspiration for this card. I used a gate fold card base, and the turtle/frog stamp is one of the oldest in my collection, in fact it was the very first stamp I ever bought when I started card making as a hobby. I stamped the image with Versamark, then embossed it in black. I made a second copy so that I could cut the frog and turtle out to apply it to the first image. I coloured the image using water colour paints and highlighted the image with H2O Twinkle paints. I flocked the cattails with brown flock. * When flocking, always colour the area in a similar colour as your flocking if you are not using coloured cardstock, especially if the background is white. If you don't, the cardstock will show through the flocking and it will look sparse and spotty, and nobody wants spotty flock!


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pleasant Poppies - Again!

UUUGGGHH!!! I need to go to computer school! The whole reason I started blogging to begin with was to improve my computer skills, now I am just pulling my hair out! Okay, deep breath, there, I feel a little more in control of myself. I am posting this card again, as I accidentally deleted it last night. I deleted the pictures of the card too, so had to take new ones today, then when I tried to post them, they kept showing up out of order. After 4 tries, I gave up and the pictures are still out of order, ugh!!
Triple Stamping is my new 'fav' stamping technique. It is easy, dramatic and a good technique for all of your large stamps. For this card: cut 3 squares measuring 2", 3", 4" and stack them on top of each other and stamp all at once. There will be a small gap around each image, this is normal. Back each of the images with a co-ordinating card stock squares measuring 1/8" bigger than your stamped images. Adhere them together from larger to smaller, and colour using your favourite method. I used Distress Inks and a paintbrush. I pounce Distress inks of choice onto a plate of glass then use a damp paintbrush to pick up the colour. I stamped the image on a separate sheet of white card stock, coloured then cut out and adhered the heads of all the flowers separately. It added dimension and reduces the risk of a water drip ruining your card. There, my blood pressure is back to normal and I feel much better. Have a nice day everyone:)