Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mid-Week Mojo Daisy #1 last post to round out the day, since I knew I was not at all likely going to have spare time this weekend I completed sketch #1 of the Daisy series tonight.  The sketch is here & my interpretation:

This is one of those that started out simple - mostly because it had been a long day & I didn't have a lot of energy - but once I got started it became more & more complicated.  Going completely out of my style recently (with the teacher projects) has really pushed me to change up my own style & try new things.  So this is a lot more complicated then I would've done probably even 6 months ago ... maybe it's too complicated/ busy...but it looks a lot busier in the photo then it does in person, I think because you can't see the depth.  One day I'll learn to take better pictures of my projects... Sorry, rambling it's definitely getting late!  Anyways I started with just the core of the sketch, basic paper layering & the cork circles off to the side.  Then the photo overlays from Crate Paper caught my eye, the bluish-brown one looked neat on this photo of us at St. Thomas Harbor .. I just realized I left location & date off oy :-/.  The bluish tint of the overlay made me want to add more blue elements to play off the red so I fussy cut some wave paper to mat the photo & overlay on.  Since we were at a harbor & my darling hubby is a sailor I had to add an anchor in ;-), to help it stand off the page I tucked a small piece of tropical flower behind it.  Then (I'm not sure why) it seemed like the red waves needed to be filled in so I doodled on those as well.  

Finally I took my title piece - a wood chip tag - inked & propped it up on pop dots.  But the ink was a little too stark & competed with the dark border of the overlay.  At this point I sat & stared at the page for awhile until I remember I had translucent pearl powder within teacher.  Since the tag was already attached I applied the perfect medium with a wet brush then added some amounts of the rust colored powder until I achieved this reddish-brown border that works better with the color scheme.  As an added bonus in real life it has the shimmery quality from the powder. 

All in all, I'm not sure yet if this is one of my favorite pages but after a long day it was fun to truly let loose creatively & not allow myself to analyze every move or over think (too much ;-) ). As a final note, 2 weeks ago I won Rose #8 @ ScrapbookSteals & finally received my prize today & man I was surprised by how much (neat!) "swag" was in the box!  I really look forward to dig into the different materials but good night for now :-)

Erin's Room & Monday Craft Madness

I've been waiting & waiting & waiting to show Erin's re-finished room because I didn't want messy room pictures.  I mean there's "real life pictures" & then there's 'which hurricane did you get hit by? pictures' but I suppose it's about as clean as a 6 year old's room ever will be.  Plus since I will not have spare time this weekend, the projects in it give me a chance to enter Monday Craft Madness with the artwork [theme "Family"]

I painted Erin's room when we first moved in 2011 but (a) it wasn't exactly to her her royal highness' specifications - I tried but ended up simpler then she wanted and (b) due to the original paint underneath it almost immediately began peeling up - yes I prepped the walls & used primer but still.  I thought I had pictures of the original room but oh well - it was 3 shades of purple with stenciled cats all around.  My original paint job was basic stripes because it was easy:

The peeling up became so bad that I was afraid of that the toddler or pup would eat the paint chips, so I bit the bullet & painted it again.  In the time since doing her room originally I traded in my Cricut for my Silhouette which made it really easy to make different sized stencils for her beloved polka dots. On a unfortunate note the paint we originally used (Disney by Behr) is no longer made& due to some sort of copyright loophole Home Depot couldn't color match it exactly.  The result being I changed the color shades entirely (but still in the same color family), luckily she didn't seem to mind - especially since I let them "help" :-P

After awhile, Dillon (just turned 3) became really quiet & you know what they say about quiet toddlers! So I go over to look & he's fixating really hard on the wall, when asked what he's doing "I making letters!!".  You can see an 'A' & an 'e', there was also a 'D' & 'r' but he covered them up by the time I got the camera :-P

He was quite proud of himself :-D

5 months later here's the final product, with a little boy who just had to sneak in!  I have to say Erin was correct nearly 3 yrs ago, the polka dots look so much better then the stripes & so much more "her" ;-)

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my Silhouette?!  I was finally able to do all the projects I originally wanted to do when she was first born.  Of course the colors & subject matter changed from my ideas 6.5 years ago ;-), but that's ok they're for her not me & they most certainly scream her now!  Of all a parent's hopes & dreams, the biggest one has to be for their child to always know they're loved & supported - I hope she can always look to these & know without a doubt it's true.

Erin loves owls & being outside so I wanted a rustic, natural look, I bought a wood panel frame & very lightly painted an abstract "woodsy" scene (sky, rolling hills, trees).  But it was too rustic looking, like something out of a log cabin & looked awful against her wall.  To make matters worse when I put the owl (smaller then this one) & phrase on it all became too busy.  After sitting frustrated for a week, I decided to go back to basics & whitewashed the whole thing to create a clean slate.  Then I applied a very light alcohol stain (tinted pink) to it & painted silvery blue over that with a dry brush.  The end result is much more fitting to the overall room design while still having a natural look & in person you can see the wood grain.  The branch design is an Echo Park file that I cut of adhesive vinyl, the owl is layered cardstock sealed with Mod Podge (a Studio Illustrado file), the flower is made of fabric with a button center.  For the phrase I designed a stencil using Lori Whitlock's 'Lovely Day' font & used leftover wall paint.  I love replacing words with symbols & wanted something special for the heart; I opened a basic heart shape in Studio & filled it in with a multi-colored love pattern.  Then I used Silhouette's "print & cut" feature to cut it out on cardstock & added it on with Mod Podge.

A view of the other side of the room:

We were at Michael's one day awhile ago & Erin fell in love with owl paper but I had no need of it so I told her to put it back.  Then as I was rethinking framed art for her room I realized it was perfect.  I made a simple background collage of the three different shimmery, glittery papers.  I bought the vinyl starter kit just for this phrase because it's perfect for her; cut it out of pink vinyl & applied it directly to the glass.

Like I said, my girl is obsessed with polka dots so when I saw this circle frame @ Target I knew she'd love it.  Trouble was the black clashed horribly with the walls so I spray painted it silver ;-).  I filled it with some of her favorite photos (2 haven't been printed out yet) along with more of that owl paper & big soccer ball patch.  Once I put in the two final pictures it'll hang on her wall.  

What girl doesn't have a ton of accessories?  I feel like I'm fighting a constant war because she did not inherit my sense of organization.  So far these bins have helped me win a battle or two if not the war.  When I first bought them she cried (literally) because they were boring & ugly & would just ruin her room - oh my! How could I be such a cruel mother to make my only daughter have utilitarian items! .  I reminded her that we could very simply personalize them, a few foam circle dabbers & few bottles of fabric paint later she was a happy camper. 

A close view of the wall, after the polka dots dried I applied a top coat of Disney Confetti Sparkle per her request & ended up loving it.  Even when I go into to her to discipline I have to smile a little bit at the sparkly walls - it such a girly design without being for just little girls.  I can easily see her enjoying this for years to come & it hasn't peeled up yet ;-).

A look at my kid's room isn't complete without a look at their quilts, my grandma made all of them.  If I can ever develop into half the artisan she is I'll be a lucky woman indeed.

Mini-album Display

Below I have a review of Mid-Week Mojo Rose series (1-10 in order) & the final display piece for Erin's teacher :-)

And I'll leave you with a close-up of the display itself, it was "distressed" to begin with but I decided it needed more to keep with the shabby-chic style.  I lightly sanded it so the distress paint would stick, then brushed it with pearl powder for extra luminescence.   This project has been a far departure from my normal style but fun, I really hope Erin's teacher likes it! :-D

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mid-Week Mojo Rose #10

Whohoo we're finally here, #10 for the 6 x 6 mini album display!  The sketch is here, I kept fairly true to it this time but removed a few elements & shrank others to fit the 6 x 6 format.  So here's my take:

The most notable difference is the title box, I combined the sketch's "title" space & overlapping square element together in the one 2 x 3 wood veneer card (from Crate Paper) because I thought it was the perfect sentiment to end album.  Since it's a vertical card I also flipped the photo mat vertically to make it fit & flow together.  I also used a fabric covered brad (the pinwheel) & a chipboard banner (both from My Mind's Eye) in place of the paper squares in the sketch for some added dimension in a small space.

The background is embossed white paper (from Graphic 45), colored with 2 shades of Distress Ink and then sanded down to give a vintage shabby chic feel - I don't think you can tell in the photo but it has a pretty shimmery quality in real life :-). The remaining layers (all Pink Paislee) were each inked then sanded & inked again to create some depth. Other then the background coming a little darker then I'd like, I'm pretty happy with this LO but I think #9 is still my favorite of the series.

So next week starts a new series, I believe I'll be a lot more appreciative of the space in my usual 12 x 12 format from now on!  I also think that I'll assign a new "theme" to the next series since it seems to be a lot easier that way.  Happy Easter Everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter 'egg'-stravagenza!

Bring on the Easter crafts!  First the shirts I made for my kids & my niece in OH; I wanted the shirts to match but for different genders across 3 sizes that's a lot harder then it sounds.  After going to 4 different stores I ended up with various blue stripes (all from Target if you're curious).  I used the yellow flocked heat transfer material from Silhouette which cut beautifully but was a pain to actually get ironed on.  I don't know if it's me, the material or the iron but it took a good 3 mins per chick! Originally the middle chick (Dillon) was supposed to have a blue bow tie but it would not come off the transfer no matter how hard I tried, I ended up cutting 3 sets & using up all my blue material :-(.  Overall though I was happy with how they came out until I realized you couldn't see the black lettering on Dillon's blue shirt very well  but not like he cares, lol. (entered to Silhouette blog's weekly challenge)

In addition to the shirt we sent our niece a little book & some Little People (because really what kid doesn't "need" Little People toys :-P.  Then of course I had to make her card, using Lori Whitlock's spinwheel as a base, turn the dial to find 'Erin & Dillon', 'Uncle & Aunt', 'Mom & Dad' & 'Grandma & Poppa'.  The bunny is another Silhouette file customized with some glittered flock to give some texture & visual interest.  The corners of the wheel base kept coming up so I went around the edges with some My Mind's Eye washi tape. The paper is from Lawn Fawn's Bright-Side collection. Entered to ScrapbookSteals Monday Craft Madness

Also made three other cards, Easter bunny card & (very) belated birthday card for my mom (horrible daughter I know!) & Easter card for my Grandma.  The bunny card is a very simple cutout with the lettering down with sketch pens in 'par-tay tyme' font.  

For the birthday card, I figured that as long as it was so very late I might as well have fun with the play on words ;-).  I cut the honeycomb pattern out of acetate to use as a reusable stencil, then sprayed it with gold ink.  The title I planned to cut out of corrugated material layered with cardstock but Silhouette Studio kept crashing & I really need to get this card & gift in the mail so I hand wrote (gasp!) with a calligraphy pen.

 The Easter card for my Grandma was really fun with all it's flaps!  I really love interactive cards that do more then just sit in your hand.  I typed out 9 Easter phrases (in tall sketch font) on the insert pieces & used my Silhouette to sketch & cut them out, have I mentioned how I love sketch pens? :-D

Now I just need to put together a couple dozen plastic eggs for Erin's class party, make a couple a couple dozen Easter cookie & of course the obligatory dying of eggs ;-)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mid-Week Mojo #9

So the whole stay healthy thing didn't happen :-(, blerg.  But still managed to get a few things done, I'll do an "Easter" post hopefully tomorrow but for today I finished Mid-Week Mojo #9 with just a few hours to spare!  As usual the sketch can be found on ScrapbookSteals' blog :-).

I have to admit, I will be so happy when this series is done because that'll mean the mini display is done!  These 6 x 6 layouts have been an interesting challenge (not always successful in my own view) but I long for the comfort & space of my usual 12 x 12.  However, I am learning to enjoy & thereby play with the "shabby chic" style of Erin's teacher (whom this is for if you remember). On this layout I played with distressing the edges & corners of the layered pieces, scuffed up the pocket card as well because it originally looked too shiny with everything else.  On the photo mat I played even more first dying it with a combo of alcohol ink & water, then lightly going over it with a sander while wet.  Once it dried I went over again with the sander & distressed the edges - You can probably see the small tear from where I went a little too deep but it'll be covered by the picture eventually so oh well ;-).  Originally I got these Heidi Swapp flowers in a Box of Scrap & had no clue what to do with them but now I have fallen in love, they are so easy to ink/ dye/ spray or otherwise customize!  For this one I first sprayed the whole flower in gold then used a wet paper towel with a little rose alcohol dye to create a marbled effect.  Overall I think this is one of my favorite layouts of this series & more successful interpretation of the larger sketch but hey what do I know? ;-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

School lunch culpability

I read this:; awhile ago and thought it was outrageous that a child would pull such a stunt.  And then I lived it...

I have been called a food Nazi, a title a fully accept & embrace - I have two kids with food allergies (one life threatening) and enough knowledge of physiology to understand that kids' stomachs are really very small therefore every bite must count double what an adult's does.  So ever since they first began eating solid foods I have carefully portioned out well-balanced meals for both of them.  --Now just so you don't think I'm crazy, they do eat complete junk from time to time as well ;-) --  Erin starting school last year ('12-'13) only deepened this neurosis of mine because I read one too many stories of peanut butter "accidentally" making it in school lunches one way or another.  So I have made her a packed lunch everyday for almost 2 years & it's has always been her choice what goes in it (within the confines of nutrition of course).  Both years of teachers knew that she brings her lunch everyday & has no need nor permission to get school lunches.  Then her teacher this year went on maternity leave & a substitute filled in.  Ever since Erin has been acting squirrely when asked about lunch and now we know why.  John picked her up today & found out she had cafeteria lunch (despite having a full lunch of her choosing with her in cafeteria), upon going to the online account to pay for it I find a balance of nearly -$50.  For the uninitiated that's nearly twenty lunches not one!  Upon pressing her we come to find out that she thought it was 'free' (then John said they already had that discussion a week ago). I can somewhat understand the confusion since we are an official 'low-income' area & attend a Title I school, more then 70% of the student body is on the free or reduced lunch program.  In her class alone I know 9 get free lunches (because kindergartners have no filter & thus told me) & I'm sure quite a few get reduced rates as well.  But while I (along with most of the developed world) may complain about budgets, credit, bills etc, we do not anywhere near qualify & so must pay full price.

We are certainly angry with her for lying, hiding, direct disobedience & throwing away perfectly good packed food (that she later admitted to) but also angry with the system.
- 1.) I didn't have a meal account set - up online because it's not required & so didn't see any need since a meal is always packed -  So why in blazes was she allowed to essentially charge TWENTY lunches to a non-existent account?!  I had to register & activate her account to see the balance - But how can an inactive account have a balance?!  Seriously no one with school meal administration thought this was odd?  When you have an active account you get e-mails when your student has gone into the negative - But again with no active account there is no e-mail to send balance to, there system didn't pop out a warning that this balance has no active account/ e-mail attached to it?!

- 2.) The substitute KNEW that she brings a lunch everyday & doesn't get cafeteria lunch ever but yet either allowed or didn't notice her doing it anyway?!  If this was an older child I'd say it's all on her/him but this is kindergarten we're talking about, all they understand is you give the adult a number & you get food like your friends.  And again kindergartners are not shy about talking about themselves so if your friends are talking about "free" food then of course you're going to want to join in.  Once my child steps through those doors she is their responsibility, I am entrusting them to care for my child's total well being & that's NOT an easy thing to do.  This kind of erodes that trust that they are watching my child (& ok 17 other children).

- 3.) Following on from #2, no one notice it odd that a child comes in with a lunchbox (everyday - I checked with the lunch aide who's an acquaintance of mine) & goes into the cafeteria line?!  No one sees her throwing away a lot of food everyday?!  I understand there are a lot of kids & eyes can't be on every single one every single moment & that kids of any age need some self-responsibility but almost twenty times this was missed?!

And you want to know the #1 most irritating part of this whole mess? For cafeteria lunch today she had a Ham & Cheese Sandwich with salad & fruit - The exact same thing that was in her lunch box!!!!!  Ok except it was carrots & celery not salad but same difference - and really child if you're going to sneak cafeteria food & lie why not make it worth it & get the junk :-P

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mid-Week Mojo Roundup

So we have had a rough couple weeks around here: pneumonia (in an asthmatic 3yr old, oh fun), a concussion (someone should've told their kid he was playing soccer not tackle football, grr!), 3 bouts of stomach flu & Crohn's flare-up - UGH!  Thus got way behind in Mid-Week Mojo entries but I finally caught up :-)

#8 As you may remember, I'm doing a mini-album for Erin's teacher but most of the pages were turning out very girly & I wanted to make sure she had some options for her husband's photos with their daughter.  Their colors are pink & grey with yellow accents so I tried go for a yellow & grey color scheme but it looked boring & forced so I added the flower & brad for a pop.  I love this brad, a little sad to give it up but it goes perfectly with the title!  This was one of my favorite sketches of the series but (I think) much harder to work in this 6 x 6 size.  I need to redo this sketch in my traditional 12 x 12 format :-)

#7 These pre-embossed papers from Graphic 45 are so fun & perfect for a "shabby chic" style but could also work for a lot of other styles with different PP, gotta love versatility :-)  The title banner from American Crafts is the perfect complement to the Pink Paislee paper & certainly a true sentiment for any mother.
#5 More paper from the Graphic 45 collection, when I saw these clocks I knew I had to do a 'time flying' page for the album - seriously where do all those months & years go?! :-P.  Originally I had these neat metal wings to put on either side of 'flies' but didn't really have room, this 6 x 6 size is really cramping my style.  For a simple journaling spot, I water distressed & color sprayed some lined paper from the Pink Paislee collection.  I don't know where that random string came from :-/

So know that makes 8 down, 2 to go ...and as long as everyone remains healthy & safe I have several more projects to share :-)

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life"

A lovely acquaintance of mine posted this quote (along with her adorable artist-in-training 3 yr old daughter) & it resonates with me - but maybe not quite the way it should.  I love the quote & believe it to be true but at the same time I find it so hard to live it.  Being creative in some sense is almost as important to my sanity as routines & wanderings are - there's nothing that feels so good as when I can create something anything.  When I can't, the world just seems to drag on & I feel like I'm stuck in some neutral gear that goes nowhere.  But then it should be easy to just do something because it's better then feeling stuck, right? Somehow though it is never that easy (for me)...

Every time I embark upon some creative endeavor I still feel like the small kid with Sister Jean-Marie standing over me, saying over & over again that my coloring isn't 'good', my cut lines are crooked, my drawings uninspired...I was never good at 'Art Class'; I had fine hand/eye coordination issues & a highly regimented brain that seemingly just followed instructions .  And I didn't inherit my grandmother & mother's talent for fabric crafting (quilting, doll making, knitting you name it!), so I assumed for a very long time that I simply didn't have (visual) artistic ability.  My father, an incredibly talented musician.but he made sure I knew that I'd never be as smart or talented as he is [truly not meant in a cruel way,it's just his personality].  I never felt comfortable playing solos or even competing for band chair advancement because I was convinced I'd do poorly (self-fulfilling prophecy most of the time)...although to be fair I'm sure this is partially due to my introverted nature as well ;-)

Yes, I have self-esteem & self-confidence issues - so what?! - It's not like no one else does, even those who appear perfect & natural, have demons I know this for a fact.  I know this without knowing them because it's basic psychology ;-), so I should be smart enough to not let mine get in my own way.  And yet they do - or rather I get in my own way.  I want to emulate the free flowing creative style that I adore in others but I want it to be clean & organized & perfect at the same time which is contradictory at best :-(.  The most annoying effect of these neuroses of mine is I can't seem to get comfortable with compliments; I accept them & I give the socially appropriate response but internally I dismiss it or write off (she/ he is a friend they have to say that, well of course a mother is going to show off her child's work).  I hate it, I really do - as much as I try to take what others at face value, I still pick it apart & over-analyze it.  At nearly 30 years old I should be at the point in life where I do things for me just because they make me happy - I should not care one iota what anyone else thinks or live in constant fear of criticism & rejection - But obviously I do, no matter how I hard I try not to.  And I care way too much what other people do as well; I look around & see people who (I'm convinced) are far more talented & creative then I am, I'll never have pictures like theirs, I'll never create nearly as beautiful projects as them and I'm feel like I'm just a pretender to their world not really belonging.  They certainly never seem to have posts like these among their gorgeous work!

I need control, I need absolutes, I need direction but I enjoy creating, I enjoy the process, design & satisfaction of a completed project.  I enjoy other people's joy at receiving something (even if I can't take it at face value :-/).  I enjoy the thought that my kids have something to hold onto even once I'm gone & at least in this moment I know they won't care it isn't perfect or accolade winning.  I just wish my mind could let my soul be free to wash away the everyday, to just CREATE for JOY - someday I'll get there, hopefully.