Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Little Flowers

I have been thinking about this for days. Literally days.

I have been spending a lot of time reading people's blogs and looking through galleries in the past few weeks, and I have come to two conclusions: 1) There are so many unbelievably freakin' talented people online! One can't help but be inspired after browsing through Scrap In Style or Two Peas In a Bucket galleries. (Go on - spend 5 minutes over there and then tell me you don't want to get elbows-deep in paper and ink! Try it! I dare you! Don't worry, I'll wait.) And 2) that I cannot watch a scrapbooking tutorial without getting a little voice in the back of my mind compelling me to try out said project. (Impossibly-difficult-to-fold birthday card? Yes, please! Crazy 16-step stamping technique? Don't mind if I do!)

So then, the other night, I was surfing around and I found tutorials for Five Fast and Fun Flowers at Amy's blog Pieces of Me, and I knew I had to get started. But alas, it had to wait, as I was in the middle of exam marking and report-card writing, and so I put it off. That little voice in the back of my head didn't forget, though, and when I stumbled upon Tonya Dirk's Paper Rose Tutorial over on the Bo Bunny blog, I knew I had to try this one out, too. But the clincher was Tresa's organza flower tutorial at her blog, Reese Dixon. OMG. Clearly, there could be no more waiting.

After work today, I hit up Fabricland and Micheal's for supplies, and was thrilled to find organza in the clearance section, and a great selection of tulle in gorgeous colours (and at great price!) Here's what I chose:
As soon as I got home, I dove in.

I started with the organza flowers. I couldn't believe how easy it was to create something so pretty! You essentially cut a few lazy flower shapes out of organza, and then hold them above a candle flame, letting the heat (not the flame!) melt and crinkle the petals. I need to work on my technique a little, but I love my first results:
This picture doesn't capture the colour very well - it's far more turquoise in real life. This flower was so simple, and so forgiving; Tresa's not lying when she says that you don't need a perfect flower shape to begin with! Literally, I just grabbed my scissors and started cutting - no need for a pattern. I love how these flowers are so pretty and soft while still having texture and a lot of dimension. I can't wait to try some more! (Please note: I bought the ivory and houndstooth fabrics, both 100% polyester, thinking that they may work as well, since they are synthetics. I tried out the houndstooth, and no dice. It's not stiff enough to hold over the candle flame without the petals just drooping right over. Also, I tried using my heat gun at the suggestion of a fabulously talented and all-around kick-butt friend, but as it turns out, the gun spends more time blowing the fabric around than melting the edges. The stationary candle heat-source is definitely the way to go for this one.)

Next, I tried the tulle flower. This one would be super-quick, if you were to take your eyelets out of the package before you needed them. Trying to open the little baggie of eyelets that came with your Cropadile while clinging to a stack of tulle that you've arranged just so in your other hand could potentially result in a baggie-of-eyelets explosion. Not that I know that from experience. Just sayin'.

Anyhow, here is my take, with both a top- and side-view. The colour really is white, as in the first image. I think Amy's pictures do the flower better justice, as she used much darker tulle which shows up better on camera.I think I'll make the tulle squares smaller next time - these ones were about 4x4" and not even close to perfectly square. By the way, the pebble in the centre was made from Amy's Custom Pretty Pebbles tutorial. I don't think I'll ever pay for page pebbles again! :)

The final one I tried was definitely the hardest, though certainly it was easier than it looks! I created this paper rose from three 4X4" squares of patterned paper and some glue.

I would recommend using a thinner paper than I used, as the inner layers were tough to fold without tearing the paper. I tried misting them with water, though this still didn't help the rolled tops to curl. Also, I'm going to use double-sided paper for my next one. These flowers have great potential for decor (isn't the wreath in the video beautiful?) and for scrapbooking, if made small enough so that the dimension doesn't harm the other pages in your book!So there you have it: a crafty night that was days in the making. No, I didn't get the laundry done. No, I didn't start packing for the all-weekend crop I'm going to on Friday after work (Yay!). But I did make three little flowers today. And I made that nagging little voice shut up, for the time being. I'd say that's pretty good for a Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's f-f-f-freezing!

If you had told me 3 years ago that I'd soon be moving to a community so far north that temperatures dip below -40C in the winter, I'd have never believed you. I'd have scoffed at your naivety, in fact. Me? Intentionally cold? After two gloriously-drizzly, it-barely-gets-cold-enough-to-see-your-breath winters in Vancouver? Ha!

But of course, here I am in the true north, strong and free (though try telling that to my sister who's less than 10 degrees from the Arctic Circle!). It's funny, though - you really do acclimatize to the cold! So much so, in fact, that when it warms up to -5 or -10, suddenly it feels like shirt-sleeve weather. But then, it gets cold and you're forced to acclimate all over again!

So, imagine my surprise when, after days upon days of beautiful, -10ish weather, it suddenly dips back down to around -25 again today! Don't get me wrong - a day when I have to stay at the computer marking essays and writing report-cards is about as good as they come for sub-zero temperatures. But honestly, I had thought that winter might be letting up a little. No matter - I have my trusty glov....oh wait, you mean I forgot my gloves? Well at least I have my scar...oh...I don't have that either. Curse you, unpredictable weather! Don't you know I'm not organized enough for sudden weather changes?!?

Aaaaaand back to the happy place...

So, since it's clear the weather will not "kindly stop for me", here is a simple little tribute to the snow and the cold that I finished up over the Christmas holidays:

The toboggan is from Micheal's, painted and sanded, and the "Let It Snow" stamp is from October Afternoon, punched with the Stampin' Up scalloped-circle punch. I'm not sure who manufactured the old-fashioned paper, as it's been in my stash for ages just waiting for this project!
By the way, I originally saw a very similar ornament several years ago (my original inspiration for buying the paper!) though I have no idea where it was published or who the designer was. If you happen to know whose original design it is, please let me know so that I can give that brilliant crafter due credit!

And now, it's back to report-card writing for me...but first, a hot chai latte. A girl has to keep up her strength in this cold! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

A page of super-quick-ocity

Over the Christmas holidays, I had 2 weeks off (yay for being a teacher!) and while I was avoiding postponing the marking I brought home with me until after Christmas, I spent several days just sitting in my craft room absolutely lapping up the free time. Boy, did I ever need it! I had been exhausted, I was counting down the minutes until the holidays began for about two weeks prior!

Here's one of the eight or so pages I completed over the holidays. It was nice to think back to the summer as I sat in my craftroom with the temperature outside dipping down to somewhere around -35C. I had a really busy we were at a Tragically Hip concert. My boyfriend is a radio DJ so we often get tickets to great shows, and this one was awesome. Seeing the Hip at sunset on a warm summer day is like living the Canadian dream, don't you agree? :) I'm going to give this Scrap In Style widget a go...the hope is that it will produce a little mini slideshow and provide a link to my SIS portfolio. Here goes nothing!

The paper is from Bo Bunny, and I was super excited to use the magic mesh that had been sitting in my stash for a whole year. The chipboard letters were mauve and I covered them with a black-distressed-splotchy rub on which I was so glad to use up as its been in my stash for about 4 years! Hooray for using up old product! That reminds me...I need to start planning my entry for the Scrap Your Crap design team call!


PS: It is just me, or is "here goes nothing" a really strange expression? What the H does that even mean?! Although, I guess if the link doesn't work, the expression will be rather fitting...but I digress. ;)

First Post - Woot woot!

So here it is - my very first post on my very first blog. Clearly, I have entered the 21st century, albeit 10 years late! ;)

While I'm super excited about the
whole thing, I have to admit that the decision to start posting was harder than I imagined it would be. Would I actually be able to come up with something interesting to say? And is there any chance that someone else, other than my mother {Hi Mom! :)} would actually want to read it? And don't even get me started on trying to come up with a name for the thing!

But I guess, in the end, it comes down to purpose. My hope for this blog is to post the scrapbooking and other crafty-type projects I complete. I have been really into reading other scrappy people's blogs in the last couple of months, and have been so inspired by their creativity! The challenge blogs have been of particular interest to me lately, and I'm stoked to get started...and it seemed the easiest way to do so was to post a link to my nonexistent-until-just-now blog.

Now, that being said, I make no guarantees that you won't be subjected to the occasional rambling rant or musing on whatever it is that's caught my fancy that day...but in general, this is about sharing my work with others, and hopefully challenging my creativity, not only with my crafty endeavors, but also through writing. I have felt for a while that I needed to pursue my creative outlets a little more vigorously, and I hope this will be a fun (for you and for me!) way to go about it.

And now, because
clearly this blog needs some visual appeal right from the get-go, here is one of my recent creations...

This is a gift-card frame I made for my girlfriend Alison's wedding. I loved having a creative way to give a giftcard! This was originally inspired by an idea from Flylady about creative ways to give money (clutter-free gifts rock my socks!). The black damask rubons are from KaiserKraft, and the white sentiment rub-on is from Berry Patch (I'm so glad I got a bunch of the "love" sentiments when they went out of business!)

As I write this, I'm reminded of this hilarious and poignant image from the Demotivators. While I recognize the inherently implied narcissism in talking just to hear yourself talk (posting just to see yourself post?), please understand that I am under no delusions that everything I create is worthy of publication. In fact, the greatest merit of most of what I create is not in the product but in the process itself. But I suspect - and correct me if I'm wrong here - that the same is true for most crafters. It reminds me of what Marianne Williamson once said - that "as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." I hope that by sharing here I can help others to do the same.

Because in the end, it's all about the pursuit of scrappyness - it's not perfect, but it's perfect for me.

Thanks for reading :)