What difference a Machine would make

I have a new toy. Steve got it for me for Mother's Day - it's a Brother Scan-N-Cut.  It's a luxury I wouldn't have purchased for myself, but he heard me saying how I would like to have one, so he bought it for me.  Yes, he's wonderful.

The great thing about a Scan-n-Cut is that it scans stamped images and then cuts them out. It can replace the need for matching dies for stamped images. I imagine, after a while, it will have paid for iteself. I don't purchase every die for the stamps I have - far from it - but I do purchase some. I buy them especially when I am planning on mass producing a particular card and to do that, I will need to cut out an image (or images). Instead, I buy the dies.

For Mother's Day, I used a set of stamps from My Favorite Things called Polynesian Paradise - it's a Birdie Brown design (I love Birdie Brown's work). Using that set, I made eight cards featuring the girl doing hula, a palm tree (from another set) and the parrot. I mounted the girl on an action wobbler, so she dances.  I made seven of these cards for friends for Mother's Day (and the other one became a birthday card). I don't own the dies, so I had to handcut all eight girls, eight palm trees and eight parrots. Imagine how much faster that would have been with the Scan-n-Cut.

Time to Destash

This is a box that contains yarn. It's stuffed full of yarn. This past weekend I decided that my yarn stash was too large and that it contained too much yarn that I would never use. I have a friend with connections to a ministry at a prison near where she lives. She (and others) collect yarn for the inmates to use to knit layettes, chemo caps and other items to give away. I facebook messaged her and asked if what I had would help. The answer was yes, so I packed it up and sent it off to her this morning.

I've had a lot of this yarn for a long time, keeping it, thinking I might use it. Almost everything I sent to her were complete, unused skeins of yarn. Waiting for a purpose that I was never going to provide.

Believe me, it's hard to destash. It's hard to let go of what we aren't going to use - to admit that we will never use it, and that what remains is enough. 

And it's hard to find the motivation to go through what we have to separate what we will use and what we won't. And yet, to me, as I took the box to the post office this morning, I realized that it was an example of stewardship. 

What am I holding on to that I should let go of? What material items? What grudges? What hurts? 


It's time to destash.

Variation on Inspriration: Watercolor block stamping

 Are you a card maker? Do you follow Jennifer McGuire's videos? If you are and if you don't, you should.

The latest one demonstrated a technique in which she use an acrylic block to stamp watercolor ink (distress ink) on paper, and then emboss images on it.

I liked the look of what she did, and was inspired by it. All of my acrylic blocks are curved at the edges, but I do have a mirror stamp from MFT. I used that, along with distress ink, to stamp on Tim Holtz watercolor paper.

The first image uses Aged Mahogany, Victorian Velvet and Shaded Lilac. The second one uses Mowed Lawn, Evergreen Bough, Broken China and Salty Ocean. I inked the mirror image stamp, sprayed it with water, and then stamped it on the watercolor paper. I didn't lift it, and placed a jar of water on it for 5 minutes.
After lifting the block, I then allowed it to dry, used an antistatic tool, and then stamped Penny Black Dreamy (a wonderful, wispy flower) with Versamark ink, and then embosssed it with Ranger Liquid Platinum powder.

These are both anniversary cards, and the Celebrate stamp is from the June Simon Says Stamp kit, Floral Bliss.

Movie Knitting

I'm making progress on my Snowshoe scarf. The picture to the right is the scarf. The color is ALL WRONG because the image was taken in a dark movie theater. The scarf, Steve and I were at Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

Do you knit in the movies? I love to do that. The pattern has to be simple (this one is 2x2 ribbing). Of course, it's dark in there, so I can't follow a pattern. Yarn that is at least worsted is better that smaller yarn. I've tried socks, but it's harder for me. Circular needles are good because I can't loose them. Knitting markers are OK - they are great if I need to track a pattern - but they do pop off, and get lost in the dark.

For me, the best movie knitting is a simple scarf. I've made scarves almost entirely in movies - so much so that I didn't see how they looked until I was almost finished with them.

Movie knitting is great.

Distress Oxide Surprise

I'm highlighting this card today because it was made with an ink I've never tried before - distress oxide ink.

When the distress oxide ink first came out, I thought, "Oh, no - I don't want another kind of ink. I have way TOO many ink pads, and I really don't want to start with another set. I'm sure I don't need it."

Then, this past month, a distress oxide ink pad was included in the Simon Says Stamp card kit for the month. (I'm sure they do this on purpose!). And, truth be told (is this confession time?), I was interested in trying it out. I'd been looking for the ink pads at my local craft stores, and missing them. And THEN, SSS had a Ranger sale - 20% off. So you know the rest. Many of the colors arrived at my house.

But - I like them! I played a little to make this background. I placed some of several colors of ink on my ranger craft mat, added water, and picked up the ink with a piece of ranger watercolor paper. The result was awful. The yellow took over and turned everything to mud.  

So, the next time, I just put green, blue and yellow on the mat. Wet that. Picked it up. Dried it with a heat gun.  Then, I put pink, purple and blue on the mat. Picked that up. Amazing. It layered instead of mixing, and I loved the result. 

So much so that I'm going to stop typing now and go make another card.

(The penguin in is from the SSS card kit from April - Wild Cuddly Critters.

Five Items

I was thinking yesterday that if I had to list what I consider to be the best cardmaking purchases I have made, what that list would be. I decided to eliminate the obvious and necessary purchases, such as paper, ink and coloring supplies. Beside those, what would be the 5 most useful or enjoyable cardmaking purchase I have made?

  1. My raskog cart. In fact, this is the item that started me compiling this list in my head. I love the convenience of this cart. It is used every time I make a card. Because items are organized well, and right at hand, it saves me time. And I love it.
  2. Two background stamps that I use all the time - The My Favorite Things Sheet Music Background stamp and the My Favorite Things Romantic Script Background stamp. I use both of these all the time - they just complete so many cards and make them look finished. Love them.
  3. My Misti and my Misti.  Yes, I have two of them. I have one of the original size and one mini. I hesitated to by the mini - after all, I had the original size, what did I need with a smaller one. My husband bought it for me (lovely man). I use them both, sometimes at the same time. 
  4. My paper trimmer. It's this one, the smaller one. I have two other larger ones, and I use them, too, but this one is small enough to fit on my desk (the others are too big for that). I love that I can see exactly where it is going to cut and that I can see the measurements to the right of the cutting blade. I use it on every card I make (I can't cut a straight line without it.).
  5. My scoring board. It is this mini one from Martha Stewart. I realize that I could use the "gutter" in the trimmer for scoring, but I don't like it. I like this. It sits on my raskog cart, right next to my Misti, and I use it on every card. I can't fold at all - not straight, anyway, and this does it for me.
There are others, but these are the first three that came to mind. I could also wax poetic about my Ranger craft mat, my Wagner heat gun, my Sizzix die cut machine, the mason jars I use for watercoloring, but five was my pre-set limit.

As a bonus, I love these pieces of pottery that are on my desk.  They catch trash when I need them to, hold the backers off of tape, and sequins (the flat one does that). I could have bought less expensive and less pretty dishes for those purposes, but these make me happy when I craft.

Birds

This month, I've been posting an image each day of birds on my Facebook and Instagram feed. I thought I would share some of them with you.  These were all taken with our Nikon 5100 and the Nikon DX 55-300mm lens.