Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Screws for Christmas?

Yes, I found this box of screws gift wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning; a practical and thoughtful gift from my practical and thoughtful husband.

So what can I do with a box of screws?
Texture clay?

Make a stamp (see previous post?)

They would make cute little legs for altered cigar boxes.

As a mixed media artist wanna-be, it would be a useful gift all by itself, but there was more. Attached to the box of screws was this note:

Did I mention I had a thoughtful husband? A project we have discussed (okay maybe I have discussed) for some time is making it up the Handy Randy project list!

I am so excited! Thank you, God, for the torrential rains this past year and for allowing roots to grow in the storm sewer line.  With the flooded basement came a need to redo drywall, so the ever practical Handy Randy, decided he might as well upgrade my studio while he is replacing dry wall.
As I said, I have been planning the make-over for a while; here are some of my thoughts:
A rack for my stamps on this wall, a full length counter top for card making and paper crafts, shelves and bins under the counter for papers, etc. (know anyone who could use an old but functional range?)
Along this wall, a counter top with space underneath for the plastic rolling storage carts (I have eight.) Maybe a rack for paints? I so want to get back into polymer clay, this could be the spot!
Definitely a built in desk and counter for the tech center.


With the upgrade, the folding table Handy Randy built several years ago for folding clothes and wrapping gifts could return to its intended purpose!

Want to see the new studio progress? (Handy Randy is amazingly creative!) Put your email in the spot on the left to receive updates in your inbox, follow me on Bloglovin or on Facebook.

Fellow crafters, have suggestions? Please comment below, I value your input!

Oh yeah, I also got a new desk chair for Christmas. Did I mention I have a practical husband?


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Special Visitors

Special visitors joined me in the Underground this week. Granddaughters Alison and Camille took advantage of my studio to make a memorial garden stone for their beloved canine, Laika, who passed away about a month ago.
The peace sign was incorporated in the design as a remembrance of her peaceful nature.


The finished stone will remain in the mold for a few more days, untill it is totally set.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Newest Toy!

Recently I received a gift card as an appreciation for 15 years of service at the hospital where I work. Contemplating total retirement in the near future, I thought I should spend it on something for my studio. But what? So many things on my “want list!”

Ta da…………


Why the Silhouette and not one of the other die cutting machines like Circuit or Sizzix? Mostly because it does not use cartridges, saving valuable storage space as well as money.  The Silhouette stores images on the computer and connects to the computer for cutting. Images from the Silhouette Online Store can be loaded to the program with a click. Most downloads are 99 cents, compared to cartridges costing around $20. Plus the Print and Cut feature will allow me to cut texts and images (like the ones from my digital scrapbook folder) already on my computer. The Silhouette is recommended by Scrapgirls (a digital scrapbook site I have used for years). They have a lot of tutorials for the Silhouette on their blog. I also liked the review I saw on Craft Test Dummies.
There are two cons I should mention, it does not have an embossing feature and there is a pretty steep learning curve (so happy I have live-in tech support.)
I have played with it only briefly, but I think she will be an awesome companion in my retirement!  Here are a few of the things I have cut.

Gift tags from Scrapgirls

Embellishments also from Scrapgirls

Card using embellishments from Scrapgirls
You will be hearing more about the Silhouette Portrait as I explore and find new ways to use it. Now if I could only figure out how to photo my projects without having the blue and red tints!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Week in the Underground

It has been a busy week in the Underground. Not necessarily crafting; lots of messing up, straightening up, organizing and re-organizing as I pull out Christmas decorations.

And of course there is the gift wrapping. No, I did not create my wrapping paper out of newsprint as I had planned. That project did not make the priority list this year. I did refrain from buying new, color coordinated wrap and ribbon; instead I am using from the stash I have accumulated over the years.
I have had great fun tangling Christmas ornaments.
Today I built a light box out of foam board, hoping to improve the photos on the blog. I followed the directions on the OWH website, but there is a red cast on the photos of the ornaments. Need to do some more research (or pick the brain of my next door neighbor who is a professional photographer.)
The photo of this gift card looks pretty good. I made this with an exciting new tool; can’t wait to share it with you, but first I need to play with it a little more. Maybe it will show up on the blog on Friday.

That is all from the underground this week.

Friday, December 13, 2013

What's with the Tiny Little Hats?

I came up from the “Underground” yesterday evening to join a group of knitters knitting tiny little hats. I am not a knitter but have done an amount of crocheting. Knowing this, my friend Stephanie (an obsessed knitter and ring leader for this project) sent me a crochet pattern for a tiny little hat along with a message that said “join us for this project, we will be serving wine.” This came about a week ago. This afternoon I dug through my stash of yarn and unfinished projects, found the correct size crochet hook, some red yarn and started crocheting a little hat. When I left to join up with the group, I had crocheted maybe an inch;


but no worries I would work on it while sipping wine and every little hat counts, right?
So, what is the project? This is the interesting part. When I entered the room I was greeted by the clicking of knitting needles and over 200 tiny little hats in the middle of a table, contributed by knitters all over town.


Also there was a stack of tags to be attached to the hats. The tag gives information on the Seamen Church Institute ministry.

The hats will be distributed around Paducah and elsewhere; some shops have agreed to let them sit on wine bottles,

some will be left in vacant seats in public places, some will be attached to trees , just wherever they can be seen. Hopefully when folks see the hats and read the tags they will be motivated to donate to (or knit for) the Seamen Church Institute.
So, you might ask, what does the Seaman Church Institute do?  Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, it serves the North American and international maritime workers by providing pastoral care, education and legal services. The hat project is part of the SCI’s Christmas at Sea, that has provided knitted and crocheted items consistently since 1898 and are distributed to the mariners during the winter months, especially during Christmas. Since we live in a river city this is a project our community embraced. After all, it is our families and neighbors working on the river for 30 days at a time in all kinds of weather, including sub-freezing temperatures.
If you knit or crochet and would like to participate, visit the Seamen Church Institute’s web site. You will find patterns for hats, scarves, vests, etc., information on appropriate yarn, embellishments, etc. and the address to send the finished items. You will also learn more about the ministry.

If you see one of the little hats, please post a comment of where it was seen. Since this project is nationwide, it would be interesting to see just where these little hats turn up. If you are a twitter, you can tweet #watchthiscap and report the location.
I don’t think I will get serious about needlework again anytime soon, but I will finish my little hat and help with the distribution.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Martha Stewart Scoring Board

I bought the Martha Steward Scoring Board and Envelope Maker on a whim while browsing at a JoAnn’s store. I really didn’t think I needed it, but it was 50% off, priced at around $15. How could I pass up such a deal? (I am, as you have probably guessed, all about tools and process.) Later I realized it sells for $12.23 at Amazon and is $19.99 at Hobby Lobby (less with coupon.)

Using the enclosed instructions, I made an envelope and a couple of boxes (out of cardstock.) I am giving Zentangle ornaments for Christmas gifts and was able to make boxes just the right size. I found instructions on Pintrest for making gift bags; credit goes to Dee Dee Beckford. I did find the paper would tear while scoring if I pressed too hard.


There are a lot of videos on the internet, especially on Pintrest, for making the pretty rosettes.  (Yes, I made this one.)


So it wasn’t a super good deal, but it is a quality tool and I am glad I bought it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Change Purse

While not really a craft opportunity, Change Purse could be. Stay-at-home moms use their love for purses to raise money to bring awareness to and rescue victims of sex trafficking. They collect new and gently used purses which they resell on the Change Purse website, with proceeds going to organizations that rescue potential and victims of sex trafficking.  I can see fabric artist making unique, fun purses and donating them to the cause. Check out their website and store at www.changepurse.org.