Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Cookie Book - Flour & Butter & Sugar, Oh My!

Happy Holidays Readers!  It seems this blog has become a once a year thing with me, focusing on the Christmas holiday and the annual Cookie Book.  Maybe I should make it a New Year's resolution to post more often?  Maybe add to that a You Tube Channel and videos...hmmm.  That may have to wait for when I'm retired.  We'll see...

On to the annual cookie book for 2015.  I did skip a year last year due to the move, so this year I wanted to do something really cool and out of the ordinary.  I resized and revamped a version of a coupon book I did many years ago for the now defunct scrapbook store in Cedarburg.  I up-sized it from the original Valentine Coupon/Ticket book idea and toned down the wacky-ness of the page toppers to be more uniform. 

The book jacket I built from 12x24 sheets of paper.  Each top edge was punched with a different design.  The titles were cut with the Cricut.  I stamped the &'s and the little 'Oh My' tag to bring in a bit more of the hand made look and feel to the cover. 

The book covers were done with acrylic paint and my Gelli Print toys.  I pulled two prints from he same paint spread to make a front and back cover.  Sometimes the second print, or ghost print, was not "book-worthy," so I combined it with something not exactly matching.  That's the beauty of a Gelli print.  No two are ever quite the same.  This helps make each book unique for the recipient.  I like to make one of kind things, even though I make 24 of them.  Each is just a little bit different. 

The pages were pulled from my stash of paper, focusing on black and white first, then adding in craft brown and then one Christmas color - red, green, teal, what-have-you.  Again, no two books have exactly the same set of paper in it. 

The recipe cards were cut with the Cricut after spending some time in the design studio getting the shape I wanted.  Then the recipes were printed, corners notched, stars stamped on the pages, and inserted one by one. 








Monday, March 2, 2015

Frisket - ehh..your what hurts?

Hi-ho, Readers! Today we are talking about frisket.  What the heck is frisket, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.  It's a relatively uncommon term in the paper craft industry.  Webster's Dictionary says - A frisket is any material that protects areas of a work from unintended change.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisket.  Its a generic term for any kind of mask. 

With paper crafters, it's very common to use some kind of paper masking product or frisket, like Eclipse tape to create a mask. This involves stamping an image and then cutting out a mask for it so that you can stamp other images 'behind' it without over stamping the image you want in the foreground.  But, there are other masking mediums to consider. 

As paper crafters we L-O-V-E to layer paper.  Die-cuts over matt papers over background paper over card base, layer upon layer of paper.  It's what makes us happy!  Ok, ok...but let's put a pin in that for a minute, shall we? 

What if I wanted to build a Valentine without having to layer heart shapes over background paper?  Or, I wanted something I could stamp a sentiment directly onto rather than stamping the sentiment separately and layering it into the piece?  Enter, liquid frisket!  Liquid frisket gives us the chance to go flat, but still be fun and interesting.  The red labeled bottle in the photo below is a liquid masking agent, (go to Amazon.com and search for liquid frisket - you'll see a ton of them) that when brushed on and allowed to dry, creates a waterproof mask.  The drying time is minimal, about 3-5 minutes.  It's completely removable when you are done.  It resembles rubber cement in that you can rub it off with your clean finger, or with a clean eraser or adhesive remover tool. 

I have a TON (seriously, it's a sickness) of stuff to use for coloring, and, it was high time I started to play with something OTHER than actual water colors.  For these samples, I picked Faber Castel Gelatos for the smaller hearts and I used Ranger Distress Ink for the larger piece.  All three enjoyed a spray of Picket Fence Distress paint to splatter white at the end.  You could splatter with bleach water too, but I hate the smell and am I'm tired of white spots on my clothes. 

For the small samples, I cut a heart from scraps and lightly traced it onto some water color paper.  Using an inexpensive brush, (I say that because liquid frisket will render the brush useless for anything else) I outlined the heart with a thin layer of liquid frisket, keeping it about an inch wide all around the heart. After it dries, spray the paper with water.  This helps the colors blend and bleed.  I used a matt knife to snick off a chunk of gelatos and then mixed it with water, using a standard water color paint pallet tray.   This makes a puddle of color you can pick up with your brush.  Once I liked the look of the piece, I used my heat gun to blast them dry, super fast.

The larger sample in the pic starts out the same way, first you trace, then you lay down the frisket INSIDE the heart this time, paint the area outside the heart, dry it completely, remove the frisket.  To get the color inside the heart, Apply a thin coat of frisket OUTSIDE the heart over your now dry paint, and paint as you did before.  


 
 
The end result is a clean edged water color heart that you can stamp over, or around as you like.  In the case of the larger sample, you've got a card front that looks for all the world like you layered paper to get it, but it's flat.  Whoo hoo! 
 
Happy crafting folks! Shout out via comments if you have any questions. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentines!

Happy Valentine's Day readers!  Below are some samples of my latest play dates in the craft cave. 

Paper straws hit the crafting scene in a big way last year.  You can find them in every color of the rainbow and just about every pattern too.  I got mine in boxes of 50-100 from Amazon.  Here I used some blue striped straws to create the valentines in the first pic.  Playing with how you lay down the straws results in different patterns emerging in the finished piece.  The trick is to realize that the manufacturer applies the stripes to the straw in one of two ways.  Some get applied wrapping left to right down the straw, and others have the stripe applied right to left.  You'll realize this if you try to make the rick-rack pattern in the card on the right.  This one needs to alternate between left to right and right to left.  The boxes I bought on AZ had a mixture, so I got more versatility.  Its a crap shoot when you buy them, so work with what you have.

This is a simple process that can work for any shape you can fill with the straws.  Think ornaments at Christmas or stars for 4th of July, shamrocks for St Pat's day sound fun too!

My card uses a 4-inch square with the heart die cut from the center.  The backing for this piece is a 3.5-inch square of scrap.  Lay down some tape runner strips onto the front of the backing.  Trim your straws and lay them down onto the tape runner.  It won't stick well, but it will stick enough so you can play with the pattern.  Once you like the pattern, use a bead of hot glue to anchor the two end straws to the backing.  Center the die cut over your pattern of straws and use the hot glue again to stick that down over your straws.  Then it's a simple matter of sticking the whole piece to the front of the card and embellish with whatever sentiment works for you.

Using paper straws in your cards adds quite a bit of dimension. Most straws are 1/4-inch in diameter.  You'll have to accommodate for that in your envelope and expect to pay the extra postage because they are too wide for standard rates.  Still, they are fun and easy and look pretty cool. 


This next card, I'm sorry, but if you put a funny hat on a cute animal,  I'm just plain IN.  'Smitten' the cat was created just because I couldn't just not do it.  Here all I have to say is don't be afraid to go off the edges of your cards.  The heart on the left is bigger than the card. But as you can see, that never stops me!  The stripe over the card is raised up with some pop dots to add some dimension.  The little heart is punched using a Fiskar's Squeeze punch. 


I don't have a ton of completed Valentines and it's already the 11th!  I can see where these might have to stay in the 'shoe box of happiness' until next year.  I'm so behind! 

Love to you all this Valentine's Day!

AMK

Friday, January 30, 2015

Daxton's First Year

There's another Grand who needs a book!  Here is the cover I put together for Daxton Lee Coffer, grandson to my gal pal Jill out in Sparta, MO.  I've blogged about these baby books before so rather than repeat myself here's the link to that page here:
http://annespaperplace.blogspot.com/2012/01/auntie-unusual.html

With love, Daxton - from your Auntie Unusual!



A Tim Holtz Redux - Winter Wishes, Everyone!

Hi Everyone!

I've been a fan of Tim Holtz ever since meeting him at CHA back when they used to hold the event in Chicago.  Don't get too excited, I'm sure he has no recollection of our meet and greet.  Alas, Chicago CHA days are gone.  They only do it in California which is too far away. 

This past December, on Tim's blog, is his 'Winter Snowflake Card'.  You can see his version here: http://timholtz.com/winter-wishes-snowflake-card/.

I was enamored with all the tools he used to make this thing.  Of course, he offers links to not 1 but 2 shopping sites where you can buy all the stuff he used.  I, of course, scoured the Internet and found them all at steeper discounts elsewhere.  You know the rule; Never pay full price!  Here is my version of Tim's card and a narrative of how I changed it up. 


  • The only Frosted product I could find was a sticker backed roll of the stuff.  There are flat sheets available, but the roll was a better deal.  When I cut it and embossed it with the snowflake tools, I wound up with the backing as well as the frosted front looking kind of cool.  I used them both on the card.  I smeared the back of the frosted piece with chalk dust to remove the stick. 
  • I changed up the angle on the words, because straight was a little too, well, straight for me. 
  • My center-of-the-snowflake baubles were just what I had in my stash.  They are from CK&Co.
  • I swapped out tinsel for a thin silvery ribbon.  I kept the tails on the knot long so they could wrap around and make loops to add interest.   
  • I used a shimmery spray on the background rather than the Picket Fence he used.  Mostly because I don't have Picket Fence.  It's coming in the mail still...
So - why did I blog about all this?  It's a lesson to all of you crafters out there who feel you have to have everything EXACTLY like the sample or PERFECTLY clean and straight.  Stop that shit right now!  There is no such thing as exact or perfect.  Art has no rules. Let it GO!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas 2014 Is in the Mail!

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho, Readers! 

These are the designs that made it from piles on the floor to produced this year. They went out in the mail this morning.  Maybe a little late for those of you out of state, but its all good.  It was the year of using up the scraps from previous years.  Also the year of little collages built from various small leaf and berry die cuts I've been collecting over the years.  There's some weaving, some stamping both free hand and with the Stamping Gear, die cutting and fussy cutting as well.

I'm still working out the kinks in the new craft cave.  It takes me a while to find this or that, and I'll probably keep finding a better place for one thing or another, but that never really stops, does it? 

Happy Christmas, everyone!







Sunday, September 7, 2014

September-23

Hanging out on the sun porch today with my project box.  I've been cooking up a fall equinox celebration card, looking forward to Fall 2014 in a very big way this year.  I think mostly because I've been under construction since late winter with the hope of finally having things settle down come fall. 

This was created using a bunch of different papers from my pile of fall-like, but not quite good enough for Halloween papers.  I blew the dust off of Sizzix's Alphabuckle alphabet die set and wove the letters together with ribbon.  A little bling, some numbers from a Unity Stamp set, and there you have it.  September 23rd...


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A little something for the office....

As things progress with the remodel of the new home, I find its important to seek out little pleasures.  You know, something to take your mind off the fact that your living room carpet has been covered in plastic since March, and feels and sounds just like you are walking on Pampers.  Even the cat is sick of it.  Not to mention you've been bleeding cash out of every orifice for just as long.  Last week that little something came in the form of some snarky little stamps from Rubbernecker.  I only picked up a few of them, because of the whole bleeding cash thing, but they were enough to get me into the cave and put together this little clip board desk ornament. 

First is a look at the products used to create the project.  Click to embiggen and zoom as needed to see the details.  That stack of Color Box ink is their collection of blacks.  I love-love-love that set.  Black is not just black, believe me.  All are excellent alternatives when plain old black just won't do or you need black, but with a little twist toward red (Lava Black) or green (Dragonfly Black) to name a few. 



Above is the finished piece.  I included this year's personal crafting challenge, 'everything with ribbon' in an attempt to reduce the obscene amount I own.  I backed the thing in chip board to give it some heft, but you could easily adapt this to a card front.  That chair stamp from Unity came with a sentiment that said, "I like your company" or close to it if not exact.  I soooo much prefer the sentiment from Rubbernecker.  Much more my style. 

I'm still waiting for a LOT of you to produce some refrigerator art for my new kitchen.  So far, my sister Bridget and gal pal Jill have risen to the challenge.  C'mon the rest of you!  I need a reason to dig through those boxes in the basement looking for more magnets. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Craft Cave - Redux

Hi Everyone - If you follow me on FB, you've seen the new craft cave, so for those of you who don't, here's a post to get you up to date. 

The move is complete and the new craft cave is up and running!  My very first post on this blog, oh-so-many years ago was a tour of the original cave, posted to prove to you I wasn't just some craft poser.  Now that the cave has been sorted through, packed up, moved, unpacked, sorted through some more, and reinstalled into its new home, it's time to share the updated pictures once again. 

This new space is about the same square footage as the old, but its long and narrow as opposed to the square I had originally.  As a result I've had to replace some of my overhead boards and add a topper to that dresser below in order to keep things from falling on the floor on either side of the cutting station. Its an inch higher now because of the board, but that's fine by me. 


Below you can see the door, once again festooned with my hand punches.  I never understood why Cropper Hopper discontinued the Punch Pal.  That's the organizer I use for my punches.  I have 5 of them all together and they are just the perfect thing.  If you see them on E-Bay snap them up.  A simple heavy duty wall hook in the wall and they hang right up.  Or in the case of the three on the door, they chain together.  I used some over-the-door hooks lined with felt dots (to protect the finish on the door) to hang all three. 

 
I have to thank Simply Renee for inventing the Clip it Up.  I got the idea for hanging all my wafer dies in the picture below from her.  They hang above the standing work table.  I buy metal rods from Home Depot for about $3 each, screw cup hooks to the underside of the 2x10 plank and use her clips to hang them.  I used to use her ribbon organizers in the old space, but here there is just no room for them, so I employed the same thing for ribbon which you'll see in the next photos.

 
The east wall of the room is wall to wall built-in storage and work space.  You can see the shelves and drawers on one end of it here.  Then the sitting workspace is under the window with more shelves and drawers next to that.


Because the room is narrow, I can't get the whole wall in one shot.  The Cricut cartridges are shelved behind the glass doors in the cabinet.  I took the doors off the closet, and inserted a set of folding shelves in place of the hanging rods on one side.  The other side is where the ribbon hangs above all the rolling carts filled with stamps.  Out of the way, yet totally accessible. 




That's the new space.  Its already messy, just the way I like it. I finished up the change of address cards and am already working on the cards to mark the Fall equinox.  Happy Scrapping! - AMK

Monday, August 4, 2014

Shut the Front Door! - Change of Address Cards

The first real card to come out of the new craft cave is in the mail!  Woot!

I used up all the WRMK White Out collection paper I had and came up with the variations on the theme below.  I get my address lables from Vista Print.  They are super easy to costomize on their website and they have a TON of available art to choose from.  I've got a pack of address lables for all the halidays in the calendar, and then some non-secular ones for the every day.  I made them into a little tag on each of the cards,  held on with an artist's safety pin.  The stamps are from Unity, again.  I know, I use thier stuff a lot.  What can I say?  They have cool stuff.  For those of you who know me, there is just no way I was passing on 'Shut the Front Door'. 

Since I just spent a lot of time sorting through and hanging all my ribbon, I've decided that this year, every card will have some ribbon on it.  I have an OBSCENE amount of ribbon.  Time to use it up!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Channeling Scarlett...

Hidey-Ho Readers!  There are big changes afoot for the craft cave.  There's a reason nobody got any Valentine's this year.  The sign went up in front of the house today.  My beloved Cedarburg home is for sale.  I'm going to have to pack up my craft cave and move it to Brookfield in the next 60-90 days.  Gah!  It's just mind numbing to think about.  I don't even know where to start, or if I even want to start.  I mean, if I start packing things up now, then my creativity will be stifled and I'm already stressed out enough.  If I can't barricade myself in my cave when I need to, I might take some one's head off.  But if I don't start now, that bedroom will probably not show too well.  And the last thing I want is a mad dash to pack and move in a hurry.  Ugh.  What to do, what to do?  Screw it -  I'll think about that tomorrow.  Scarlett O'hara's got nothin' on me.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Ilustrated - T'was the night before Christmas


Over the years I've made a LOT of Christmas cards.  I pop in some seasonal music and let the lyrics guide my hand.  There's a rendition of this poem from my childhood, by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvains that always makes me smile.  Here now, for the first time ever, are most of the cards I've made to this tune, layed out for your viewing pleasure as an illustrated version of the classic poem.  There's still a lot of room in here for more, so I guess I'll keep listening to it and share more as I go.  Happy Christmas!

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

(sorry, couldn't resist)


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.



The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.




And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
(tee hee- there's another one!)


Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.




But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"


Christmas on a Stick - The 2013 Cookie Book

Here are the shots of this year's cookie book, Christmas on a Stick!  The challenge for the bakers this year was to either put their cookie on a stick or make a sticky recipe to share.  This proved challenging indeed, but what we got was a lot of fun.  Thanks to all who participated!  Once Rosemary sends me the pictures, I'll get you a copy of them so you can have them for your books.

The book is not as elaborate as other years, from the looks of it. All my efforts pre-surgery went into the binding this year.   Post surgery, well, I just needed to get them done. 

It's a cloth covered hard bound book with a wire binding.  Each page is an A2 envelope cut from the Big Shot Pro die.  The covers are made of Davey Board, which if you've ever tried to cut that stuff, you'll know is no picnic.  The rounded spine is an up cycled paper towel roll trimmed to fit.  I used a quarter inch, square sided, wood dowel to mark the gutters in the binding, which allows the covers to turn back and the book to open. 

You first must put all the pieces together with book binder's tape, and then cover them with your chosen cloth, applied with a thin layer of PVA glue.  Fat quarters from the quilting isle of your local sewing store offers a myriad of fabric choices.  One fat quarter covered two of the books, so while not every book is completely unique on the outside, there are only 2 like it in the world!  The end papers cover up the raw edges of the fabric on the inside, and are reinforced with more book binder's tape to keep them strong.  The first and last page of the books are also reinforced in the same manner. 

I'm late getting these in the mail for those of you who get them as a gift.  But, never fear, they are on the way!


Squeeze the book and S-L-I-D-E off that organdy ribbon so you can put it back later....


The book stands on it's end very well for display.


This is the book open to the first page.  I marked the year on the front end paper with one of my Cricut fonts..can't remember which.  You can see the reinforced pages here if you click to embiggen.


Each recipe is a Christmas card from the participant inserted into the A2 envelope. 



Here is Pye getting into the act...note the furry black thing in the upper left....I alternated patterned paper with plain paper throughout the book and cut a name plate for each recipe.  If the paper was too plain, I got out some stamps and put some swirl into it.  The labels are hand lettered, inked, cut and stamped to add a little interest to the pages. 


Next year we are doing BLACK TIE CHRISTMAS.  I'll tell you now, the book idea I have is very elegant, so the recipes should match! The challenge is to deliver an ELEGANT recipe for the exchange next year.  You've got all year to practice, ladies!  I wonder what we'll get? 

Love you all! - Merry Christmas! - AMK

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Cards - 2014

So here they are, some new this year and some made last year while the mood was still upon me.  There was a call out for blue colored Christmas cards last year so you'll see a lot of blue.  Of course I did not send them in so missed that publication.  Whatevs...

I was playing with transparency film and came up with this poinsettia card.  Using up some scraps from this year's cookie books makes them all just a bit different.  They are pretty fat in the envelope, so extra postage will be required. 



 
Then we have some HO cards and a simple Merry Christmas stamped on vellum to let the background show through.  Nothing too fancy here, but using up some more scraps. 
 


 
These are the BLUE cards I mentioned earlier.  If you didn't know, orange is the opposite of blue on the color wheel, so I worked in some orange on this first one.  Orange is just about my favorite color and is not typical for Christmas, so this one is probably my favorite this year.


Here's one with a window and a look at how the inside works all by itself.  I used a wafer die for the foliage on the front of the card, tied a little bow, stamped some poinsettias and off we go. 



Happy Christmas to you all!  If you have any questions about how any of these came together or what products I used, leave a comment and I'll reply.  All the best to you this holiday season! - AMK