Archive for March, 2008

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

It’s Sprout time at Ornament Thursday

michelle sprout 771908 Its Sprout time at Ornament Thursday

Prediction: Brussel sprout handbags all the rage this summer!

‘Sprout Month” is my first foray into Ornament Thursday. I admit to struggling a bit – I wondered if I could just grab some sunflower sprouts and glue them to jump rings for a short term earring/necklace combo, all the time hoping that salad wasn’t on the menu that day. Then something Jean Yates had said once came to me, it was along the lines of every piece you design should have a story and everything in it should be interrelated. She must have known sprout month was coming up. What else but a brussel sprout handbag fits the bill? It’s called a sprout, the little cabbage head opens up like a purse, and the sprouts are carried to market on a stem. A quick trip to the refrigerator unearthed sprouts ready for the pan – they taste great tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted at 350 degrees until their outer leaves darken… but I digress.

The handbag base was shaped on a metal form and covered with Kato Polyclay leaves. My “real” sprouts were a little old and their outer leaves were turning brown. True to form my sprout was aged using a skinner blend of green and brown clay. The brussel sprout stem handle (complete with you guessed it… sprouts) is a thick wire armature covered and decorated. It has to be strong enough to take some weight when shopping at the local market. I like butternut squash and a flimsy handle just won’t do!

helen sprout 770646 Its Sprout time at Ornament Thursday

Art school to the Rescue

Like Michelle I agonized over this project. I tossed around ideas for weeks until it finally came to me the morning of my deadline for making it. Why I worry about things I don’t know. My imagination has never seriously let me down but I have a hard time trusting it on new projects – I kinda like to agonize and over think things instead of sitting back and letting the creative process happen.

This ornament combines my photography with an exercise from art school. At art school we had to render a single ‘thing’ in a number of different ways. Then I drew my riding boot 25 times, here it is 9 sprouts rendered in different techniques from quilling and embroidery to paper and fabric. Each sprout is assembled on top of a photo – it seemed amazing to me that almost every plant starts as a little shoot with two leaves. After that, they diverge, ultimately becoming trees, vegetables and flowers. The panels are tiny ¾ x 1 in pieces of matt board with photos attached. The embroidery pieces are done on transparency and everything else is just glued on. I had a blast making it – I put Vin Diesel in XXX in the DVD player – I really get inspired by that movie (tragic huh?) and before the movie was over, the project was done!

Here’s the wonderful handiwork of all the other OT team members, enjoy!:

Alexa Westerfield – a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Now that’s it’s time for spring, ideas are “sprouting” all over the place. Alexa creates this eye-catching notebook to keep them in order.

Art Bead Scene
Some good karma is sprouting up at the Art Bead Scene with Heather’s Lotus Flower Bracelet

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
The Brooklyn National Anthem sprouts every year when Cindy’s in Spring mode. See what it inspired this year!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie giggles and remembers a furry friend, brings back an old mold, and sprouts up a beaded LOLhammy ceramic ornament

Humblebeads celebrates spring with a Berry Good bracelet inspired by some juicy disk beads.

Jennifer Heynen of Jangles
Jennifer has come up with a cute little necklace to remind you of spring.

Katie’s Beading Blog
Create some spring flair of your own with this easy bead embroidery idea from Katie’s book, Hip to Bead.

Kriss Cramer – Spring Is In The Air
Not much of a horticulturist? Me neither! But I love flowers and I enjoy growing these ones with some paper, paint, and rhinestones.

Linda and Tea at Make It Mine magazine
Tea decided to join the fun this month. Check out her quilt blocks and Linda’s purse.

Melissa J. Lee – Strands of Beads
What do Korean playing cards have to do with a sprouting spring? Check out Melissa’s blog to find out.

Michelle McGee – S-P-R-O-U-T
Michelle just can’t stop creating in green! A little wooden birdhouse becomes a beautiful palace!

Savvy Crafter
Candie shares some happy spring memories with a cheerful felty flower idea!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean tells a touching, poignant tale of some beads who help one another, and after a small amount of sturm and drang they get it together and help each other! In fact, they prettify whatever YOU choose! Go see! It’s fun!

Spring is Sprouting for Joolz by Lisa
Even without a green thumb, Lisa managed to “grow” a garden of sorts this month.

Sprouting Up with Beading Help Web
Lynn Kvigne’s used wire and a lentil bead to create a “sprouting” pendant for wire workers who want a bit of a challenge!

The Goddess ROCKS!
Inspired by a river rock shaped like an ancient goddess statue, Hali paints, melts crayons and adds glitter to create a sparkley celebration of Spring.

The Impatient Blogger
How does your garden grow? With metal mesh, Czech glass beads and vintage French images all in a row! Margot just returned from Paris where she discovered a treasure trove of vintage paper. This scanned and sized postcard image fit the theme of sprout perfectly and the necklace was in search of a new home…add some teal metal mesh bows and accents and voila…a design sprouts forth!

Vintage Girl Teams Up With Her Vintage Momma!
What does a gal do when she finds herself far from her crafting supplies? Why, she raids her mom’s basement and then puts dear old mama to work! Stop by and you’ll see why mom’s basement is fertile ground for things that sprout!

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Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Instant Gratification

typogenerator 732204 Instant Gratification
There are some things that you just look at and think, Wow!, that’s seriously cool. Today I had one of those moments.

The site is – Michelle commented that she could do typos without needing help from a website! but that’s not what it is about. It should really be called typegenerator as it combines type that you give it with colours and images to create a fancy text collage.

Each time you use it you get something different and which can’t be repeated. If you like the colours but nothing else, keep the colours and regenerate the text and background. If you like the background, keep it and regenerate the text and colours.

The image here was made from the program. I just typed my text and clicked and it created the image in about 30 seconds. If you like what you get, you can right click and choose Save Picture or Copy it to your photoediting program. You can also create and save a larger 640 x 480 version.

The program is handy for creating blog headers and backgrounds for collages. It does in a minute or two what would take a lot longer in Photoshop.

While you can’t use the images for commercial purposes, it’s a fun way of kick starting a project.

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Friday, March 14th, 2008

It’s Ornament Thursday Preview time – What’s a sproutin’?

This is our first month with the Ornament Thursday group and the topic is sprout. OK, sounds easy? Probably is since Michelle’s piece is all done. Lynn Kvigne from Beading Help web has finished her project too and it’s up as a sneak preview on the Ornament Thursday blog. Go check it out - I think it looks wonderful even tho it’s only half a photo!

As for me, well I have made time to make a lot of excuses for not starting but so far, no action towards actually getting going. My thoughts are going in an infrared direction and I know I have some great photos to use, but who knows? Time will tell.

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Monday, March 10th, 2008

Never say Never..

This weekend, I had another of those “never say never” moments. I really should learn better.

Wind the clock back a year or two. A box arrives with “stuff” in it… really some pretty, shall we say, interesting product. Included in it were die cut foam shapes and sheets of neon orange, lime and yellow foam. My response, “I will NEVER use this stuff”. Solution, box it up and shove it in the garage.

Fast forward to this weekend. I pose the question, “I wonder what colours that foam is in the box in the garage?” Turns out that neon green was perfect for the job! Sad isn’t it how our statements can come back to haunt us.

So, why the neon green craft foam? Well, I’m doing this story on getting more value from your punches. Turns out that foam punches really well. Layer a punched shape onto a pad made from a few layers of foam and voila! your own home made stamp.

I made a stamp from the foam for my project. I went one better too and I added one foam punched flower shape to the card. I painted it white to distress it – it was neon green after all! but the result was that it actually worked very well.

Now, I still have three quarters of a box full of whales and assorted fish punched shapes, I know I shouldn’t say it, I know… but … really, truely, promise – I will NEVER use that stuff.

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Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Let The Sun Shine

black 790164 Let The Sun Shine

I’ve been waiting a long time for the sun to shine through the clouds so I could take Lisa Pavelka’s new Magic-Gloss outside for a test drive. Magic-Gloss is a dimensional glossy liquid that cures rock hard in sunlight. I baked it, refrigerated it and left it out on my work bench for a few days. It still kept a perfect surface tension, never bled over the edge and stayed exactly where I wanted it.

The Paisley texture is also a Pavelka design. I made little cooing noises over it at the CHA trade show and she let me play with one. I had to dig it back out of Helen’s desk, but that’s another story. The photo is polymer clay with foil adhered to it, then indented with the Paisley texture plate. To remove the foil from the design, yet leave the foil still in the indented lines, simply stick box tape on and pull it off. I saw Anne Igou do this at CHA and thought–wow, so I had to try it. mz

pink 719649 Let The Sun Shine

Now I dug a little deeper into Michelle’s stash to find this magic piece. It’s bright pink clay stamped with Lisa’s paisley stamp and this time the raised pieces have been dusted with interference colors of PearlEx – gotta love that stamp. HB

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