Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Road Trip!

The following is a slight departure from art posting, which I hope to resume by the end of December!

The adventure has begun!  Having moved about 90% of the things I will ultimately be taking to Idaho already, I am now in the car with my two trusty companions, Rascal (dog) and Gertrude (cat).  And the car is packed to its limits - what can I say?  I have a lot of stuff, lol!

The map shows each of my seven overnight stays.... I have limited myself to about 6 hour driving stints, although of course the car time is a bit longer due to pit stops for all of us and filling the car.  Prior to leaving, I made reservations at each destination with pet-friendly motels directly off the Interstate to minimize lost time.  The pets are extremely well-behaved (even Gertrude, which surprised me! No howls at all - I hope I did not just jinx that!)  But even so, eight days in a car with all of us - well, you get it!  The total trip is about 3100 miles (or just shy of 4900 kilometers).  We hit 1200 miles today.

Here is the itinerary - I am writing this while in Columbia, Missouri.  Tomorrow is a very long day (7 hours driving, plus pit stops), but after that it gets to less than six hours daily, weather permitting.
And the weather is a big deal this time of year here, especially with all of these storms blowing in from the Pacific Northwest.  Much of the country really needs the water, so I don't mind.  Just hope to avoid icy conditions.

We did run into snow today, though luckily the storm was traveling east while we were moving west....

Due to a very bad accident involving two semi-tractor trailers, we came to a complete stop for two hours about 20 minutes after leaving Plainfield this morning.  Luckily we were warm and cosy, with a full tank of fuel, and good cell coverage so I could message my family and catch up on email, play a few games of solitaire, enjoy the really lovely snowfall (no kidding), and try to quell my anxiety about the delay.  We cleared out of the storm about an hour after finally getting back to actual travel....

Here is what the setup for the pets looks like:

Gertrude (cat) is 14, but still very lively, and only 7 pounds.... so she has a little mesh "house" on the passenger front seat, equipped with a special pet heating pad (never gets very warm) plugged into the light via an octopus lighter thing I got in Minnesota while driving back last summer.  My phone, the makeshift satellite radio, and her heating pad are all plugged into this device.  I have had her "house" with heating pad set up on my couch for a few months, so she is very used to it.
Her litter box is in the foot well, within a large garbage bag to contain the invariable litter spray.

You can just make her out through the mesh.... she does very well, although it is hard on her eating habits as she usually grazes throughout the day.  So I feed her first thing once we are ensconced in the motel, and leave the food out until we leave in the morning.

Rascal has the back seat, which is his usual domain, though a lot more crowded than generally is the case!  By the way, that is a piece of dried chicken jerky that he has yet to discover in the lower left :-)

The backity-back is full with a real dog bed for Rascal once we are in Idaho, clothes for the trip, some craft stuff that happened to fit (of course!), my wonderful Bernina sewing machine, food for them and me (I have a lot of "add hot water and enjoy" stuff just in case I am too tired or the weather is too crappy to go out for real food.  The top carrier on the car is various small Ikea things for the house, and backpacks, or other outdoor things I wanted to take that are lightweight.

So off we go tomorrow - day four of eight, but who is counting!  Looking forward to getting home, and will post more pictures over the coming weeks.... and I hope to catch up with all the wonderful blog posts from all of you, after I finish grading my online courses tomorrow!  Such fabulous makes I spy out there!!  Can't wait to see them in more detail!

Thanks so much for stopping by - and if you've time, please do leave a comment as I love hearing from you all!
xxx Lynn

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Countdown to Christmas! A 3D Advent Calendar

 I've been away for too long!  And need to visit your blogs - soon!!  For now, here is my latest.

I have always loved advent calendars, as my mom made sure we had one every Christmas when I was growing up.  There is just something about that little surprise when you open the window each day that delights me.

 A few years back I saw and bought on a post-holiday sale a cute wooden stacked-book advent calendar.  Each little box was numbered, and had a small door that opened to find a piece of candy.  My neighbors had just adopted an infant boy, and I thought how fun it would be to make him something similar, but with toys.  And good thing I thought about it when he was so young, as it took me three years to actually get around to making it!

To the right is a picture of my original inspiration:
It stands about 10 inches tall.... and the boxes are all sequentially numbered (no fun IMO, as I love hunting for the right date on an advent calendar!)

Here is a picture of my version, which stands about 17 inches tall, not including the little star I put on the top after this picture was taken.  As it has rained very heavily the past few days, and I wanted to make sure my little friend got his calendar before December 1, I took it over yesterday afternoon when the rain lessened a bit, and finished at their house last evening.  The finish involved the star, and also making little washi tape tabs for the doors....  I will explain later.  This photo shows the calendar on top of the china cabinet, to keep someone's little fingers from temptation (he is three years old).

To make each box, I used Eileen Hull's square box die (Sizzix Bigz XL #658058) and adhered a variety of holiday scrapbook papers to my substrate on one side before cutting.  I used Stick-It and when I ran out of that, some double-sided tape in 6 inch and 2 inch rolls .

For the substrate, I initially used some 8 x 11 medium chipboard that came with white paint on one side, which I used for the inside.  However, after about 6 boxes, I switched to the much improved idea of Little Sizzles mat board in white, which is double sided and thinner - much better for the die, and easier all round! (The blades kept popping out on the die using the thicker chipboard, with the paper adhered with sticky stuff!)   I really hope Sizzix keeps making these mat boards as they work perfectly with Eileen's and other structural steel rule dies!

Eileen's die comes with a lovely little finish piece, as the box is supposed to close on the outside.  Here is a picture of her intention:

You can see those lovely brackets which go on the outside, and then she secures it with a ribbon.  I intended to do this with magnets, but realized I had packed them all up; they are 2700 miles away in my other craft room in Idaho at the moment in some moving box or other, lol!  After making a prototype, I realized I could probably get away with just tucking the lid into the box itself a bit, without the bracket pieces.  For the most part, this worked - but as an added "securing feature" I added little washi tape tabs, since my recipient will have his box moved daily from the top of the china cabinet to the table for his daily opening.  I was worried that all of this movement, and the toys inside (which are not secured down) would fling doors open willy-nilly and give away too much at once!

I also used double sided tape in 1/4 inch size to make the box - but if doing again in this size, I would take the time to hot glue.  I ended up reinforcing several areas with the hot glue due to the weight of the boxes themselves, the surprising humidity this time of year, and the toys - all of which were plastic, but which do contribute overall to the weight.  You can see the boxes warping slightly here, below..

My bottom "rung" has 9 boxes, followed by 7, then 5, 3 and 1....  which were built on an unfinished  wooden disk/platter I purchased from a big box store.  I infilled the slight plate depression with corrugated cardboard, and then applied to all of it a good coat of gesso followed by craft white paint.

The little "handles are actually some type of cupcake eraser I discovered at a chain bookstore while waiting in line (they are the weirdest "erasers" I have seen ever, as each little piece comes out to function as such).

They seemed perfect otherwise for my purpose, but I deconstructed them and glued them back together with matt medium so the little nose, berry, hat or whatever would not come off when my little friend pulled on them.

The numbers are commercial stickers.  I also added some texture paste with Tim Holtz's Clear Rock Candy glitter as a snow accent.... not sure I would do this again either, as I had to be very careful about not blocking a door opening, and I don't think it adds much to the overall effect without being more consistent.

So I definitely will try this again, but perhaps in a smaller size, such as the smallest of Eileen's Block die cuts.  I own this die but have not used it, so will have to figure out the door bit, as I believe these are truly blocks and not boxes!

Thanks so much for stoping by, and if you've time, please do leave a comment as I love hearing from you!  And I hope to get back into blogland for real by the end of this month!!  I miss you guys!  xxx Lynn

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Beth!!

Well, the movers came and took away quite a bit - I can actually see my rooms now, lol!  And consequently, I finally finished the birthday card for Beth (my sister-in-law)..... only two weeks late, lol!!  It is my first shaker card, and you can see I need to work on the technique.  But I love the general colors and concept, so will definitely be trying this again!  Here you can see the front of the card.  I die cut the sentiments using cardstock to which I had applied StickIt.  The sentiments are from Hero Arts and Mama Elephant.  Once cut, I heat embossed them using Starry Night embossing powder from Stampendous.  
It is hard to capture the glorious sparkling nature of this powder in its black background.... but here are a few shots that try to do so.   And I absolutely love StickIt for these types of cuts!

The inside of the card was created using the wonderful Abstract Triangles background stamp designed by Kristina Werner for Simon Says Stamp.  I stamped this with Versamark ink, and heat embossed with a fine detail white embossing powder.  Then I smooshed some small Tim Holtz Distress Inks on my craft sheet, spritzed with water, and laid the heat embossed card into this mix of colors, without moving around.  The palette is drawn from this image of Puget Sound, which I know is a favorite view for Beth.

Here is a glimpse of the inside of the card.

The shaker bits inside the window are from Little Things From Lucy (Pineapple Ice and Peach Schnapps)

 And here is a shot of the card standing up....

As Beth generally follows my Facebook links, the card will no longer be a surprise, but I hope the rest of the package will be :-)
Thanks so much for stopping by - and if you've time please do comment (especially if you've tips for shaker cards!)  I always appreciate hearing from you!!  xxx Lynn

Friday, October 7, 2016

Life update!

My gosh, it has been ages since I've been here with you!  Not that I am not thinking about it, but life has gotten somewhat more complex, though all in a good way!

It is a complicated telling, but essentially I am moving 90% of my belongings to my new home in Idaho on the other coast.  You can see me in the midst of this in this picture.  The movers come on October 26, and believe it or not, I've a lot more to do, like the kitchen and closets....

Why not move it all?  Because I will not move there permanently until June of 2018.  Nonetheless I am moving so many things because I will be in my new home for six months starting in January.  I've sold this home to dear friends (or will have in early December).  They want to renovate some areas of this lovely but very old house.  So while I am away, I want to leave them as much space as possible to do whatever they need or want to do!

I am leaving behind the bare minimum of dishes, clothes, furniture, etc. (and ok, slightly more than that for art stuff, lol!) because when I return I will rent my former home from my friends whilst they ready their home for sale.  Whew!

So, not a lot of time or space to do artful things, but am trying to follow everyone's wonderful makes in the meantime.  And I am trying to learn how to sketch/paint in watercolor as I figured that is something I can travel with readily since I will be in Nicaragua for 4 weeks in early 2017 for my sabbatical.  Here are a few images.... I am taking Gina Rossi Armfield's "No Excuses Watercoloring" class online - it is wonderful!!  And do not judge the class by my work - I am just learning :-)

Hope to join back in the creation part of blogland come the new year, if not before.... and in the meantime, thank you all for such incredible inspiration and beautiful projects!!  

Miss you all!  xxx Lynn

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Musin' about Infusions for Paper Artsy!

When I saw the call from Leandra for a chance to participate in the July 3UP, I immediately submitted my name, and was thrilled when I was named to the Lynne Perrella/PA Infusions team, along with Ellie and Autumn!  As some of you will know, I am a huge fan of Lynne's work, including her stamps - in fact, I used one of her Japanese images for my first posting with Brenda's 2015 Visual Journey, and continue to look toward Lynne's collections for many of my makes.

Leandra was more than generous!!  We each got three stamp sets, AND four colors of the new Infusions to play with....  I had Are You Cerise, Violet Storms, The Sage, and Black Knight.  After a LOT of experimenting, as you will see below, I ended up using Are You Cerise and Violet Storms.... and decided to showcase different substrates.  So let's get going!  And PS, this is very photo heavy!  And as usual, forgive the funky spacing....sigh.

Here is the final project, with five different substrates.

The first layer is Bristol paper with gesso tinted with Are You Cerise, and then more plain gesso applied with my fingers to knock it back a bit, and to get some texture for the next step.

Once the Bristol board was dry, I added more Infusion powder and water.    I kept everything towards the edge as I knew the center would  be covered.

The next layer was created on matte photo paper, using Violet Storms.  This is the finished layer, which has a thin edging of Lindy's Stamp Gang Midnight Copper embossing powder.

I applied several layers of the Violet Storms and generous amounts of water, letting it dry thoroughly between repeat applications to achieve the final effect.

The next layers are the Michelle Ward stencil flourishes, which are Violet Storms on glossy photo paper....These are actually mono prints made on the powdered and moistened stencil.  Further down, you will see some other stenciling approaches.

The layer behind the Lynne Perrella image is watercolor paper, using the Violet and Cerise colors.  You can see how the various substrates affect the brightness as well as the spread of color and those wonderful specks of walnut powder, which make the Infusions so unique.  

The lady herself is stamped with Stayzon onto Yupo paper that had been sprinkled very lightly with Violet Storms, spritzed and left to dry.  I got this idea from Helen Chilton, who has made some beautiful pieces using the Infusions and Yupo.  The Infusions dry very light colored on this synthetic paper; I love the marble look I got.  But I need a lot more practice to achieve Helen's outcomes, lol!

So now onto the other experiments!

Here is Grunge Paste through a script stencil, then sprinkled with Black Knight, and water - then left to dry.  I've learnt that to keep the beautiful mingling evident in the detail shot, I need to dry with the heat tool.  Otherwise, things continue to meld, and one loses all that lovely distinct color, as you can see in the dry piece.

Next, some stenciling.... on card with some mono prints as well.

The left is mono print on card, and the right is on Yupo.

Here are more examples on Yupo, left to dry.

Here is paper monoprinted from the above stencil directly.
This is a second print, made after I spritzed the stencil with water again, on matte photo paper.
Here are some example  using The Sage on the left, with various amounts of water, and with Violet Storms and The Sage on a tag.

Here I played with Are You Cerise on watercolor paper and a lot of water.

I saw Ruth's posting so tried some of The Sage with 3D matte gel.

Here is an example of a stencil onto Yupo, with a lot of water, and then dried.  The darker colors penetrate the Yupo for a lovely ghosted effect.

Since that worked so well, I thought I would try a script stencil on Yupo.  Here you can also see some mono print tags (with backwards script!)

Here is the dried Yupo - but this time when I wiped it off, I essentially lost everything....

A couple of mop up tags.

Another technique from Helen, which is to rub the powders into the paper first, then wet.  I used matt photo paper here....
And you get this....

which some of you will recognize as the background for Paloma when she visited.

Here is an example on watercolor paper - also very lovely!

Here is Bristol paper with rows of Infusion powders, swiped with a very wet mop brush.

And here is the same thing, but the powders were first rubbed into the paper.  I also added some more powder and mopped it as the first layer of color was drying.  The powder continues to react to water, so I got some beautiful washes along with some beautiful deep color.

This turned out to be my favorite piece, but it did not work with my project!

Here is stenciling using Violet Storm and Ranger Glossy Paper.  Again, this is a mono print.

This is deli paper, with The Sage powder sprinkled, water spritzed, and then crinkled  up, then spread apart again to dry.  I think this would make a great background....

  And last, some stamping by rubbing powder onto the stamp, then spritzing and stamping, here on a tag.

Well, that is it for this round!  If you made it this far, thank you for hanging in there with me!  And if you've time, please do comment - I love hearing from you!  xxx Lynn