Year 2013 & Year 2014 2

Year 2013 & Year 2014 2

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Frilly and Funkie Challenge #4; Winter Blues....SNOW DAY!

    Winter Blues….seems like every year; it happens. That time period between New Year's Day in January, and Spring Break in March, is a time when we'd all like to just pull the covers over our heads and hibernate until Spring. I honestly think that's why some Genius thought to put Valentine's Day in there; to lift us up out of those "winter doldrums". Since well back in High School, my Speech and Drama Teacher (who was a fave of mine) took an entire class day to talk to us young teens (16 to 18 yr olds together in an advanced class) about this very subject. It seems that right about this time of year, most of us don't get much sunlight. That can have a huge effect on our bodies, and in turn, on our mental health. Depression is REAL; I know this for a fact, and unfortunately, several diseases also contribute to this depression by messing with the chemicals in our brains, and  Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of those. I had my "onset" of RA after major surgery in 2005, and while I have done a type of "chemo therapy" (weekly shots and immunity-killing tablets) to help keep my "moderately severe" RA in check, since that time....lemme tell ya: it SUCKS. Add to that: getting a bad cold, or a disjointed hip- both of which happened this past week- is like living by dying. That kinda set  the pace for some bad news that came about one of my Besties...
         Cancer. Just the word brings feelings of helplessness and fear that - GOD willing - not everyone will face in their lifetimes. I did. But I was blessed that something else came up and in the process of taking care of that problem, it was caught very early- well before it could even get to a Stage 1. But the complications that came with....Oh. My. LORD. It's sorta funny now when I think of the irony of praying "GOD, please change me in the way you see fit, so I am molded into the person You meant for me to be- more wonderfully and fearfully made!" And, of course, I meant it. Careful whatcha pray the end of the 3rd YEAR after that major surgery, another surgery for complications from the 1st one, RA onset, and dealing with more heart problems. I was 39 when all that piled onto me. I actually begged The Big Guy to please go mold someone ELSE for a bit! But time passes, and we muddle through as best we can. At some point; we look back and see that we made it ok- not 'great'- but we're still here. (HE won't allow more than we can handle- remember?)  
And then; this past winter, one of my group of Besties started having a few noticeable problems. She hoped to put it off till the first of the year- after the Holidays. The rest of us (esp the ones having been through this awful journey) hoped she would rethink that. She didn't have much choice, and,
we are: she's finished her surgical part of getting rid of the offending cancer pieces, but the news from pathology was not what we all had hoped for; Stage 4. 
           Now, before you read any further; this is NOT going to be a 'depressing' post. In fact; it's the opposite! And that's where I got my take on this Frilly&Funkie Challenge. I usually get in on uploading my project within those last -literally-seconds of the deadlines. Mostly because of my OCD on perfection. It used to be cleaning house. Oh yeah, I really enjoyed it! Nowadays, I've transferred that OCD to my craft studio and while my home is neat and tidy...if you visit me here; you're on your own with the Dust Bunnies. But, I began this as I was having my own ills, and then meeting up with our Besties; the bomb dropped. And the depression and helpless feelings set in. I know very well- as a deaf person- how it feels like the entire world just keeps spinning as if everything is fine. But it's not 'fine' because my world has stopped cold. And no one notices. So I figured that my Bestie needed to be uplifted with a gift; a gift that has a lot of meaning behind it!
                I first made an extra Tag while doing that last Challenge- Vintage Valentines. I sent it to her upon her release to home after the surgery. But I felt like this "Winter Blues" somehow fit better than just a simple Tag. So, let's check it out...

I have no idea what has come over me this year: I DETEST SNOW; normally.
But Tim came out with so many delicious bits of eye candy...what a fun year it's been!
I had just put all of it away- with a huge *sigh* when this Challenge came up.
Joy! Get it all back out again! lol

I have NEVER done this before- this is my first ever canvas project.
Oh, well,'ll find one up on my shelf of "inspirations" that is gessoed
and then painted a taupe color. Otherwise- it's completely blank. 
It's on the same shelf with all my years of photo work and represents a 'work in progress'.
It's for me to imagine what could go onto that canvas.
So the gesso job here was pretty easy. lol!
I did both sides with 2 coats for good measure.

Then came the die cutting. And cutting. And cutting.
I think I actually had over 75 cuts of the TH Alterations Layered Snowflake.
I embossed those and also put a few together in layers for some thickness and difference.
I used Glossy Accents to dot glue them down as I layered them all around the canvas INSIDE.
You'll note here that I also did several of the Sizzix Snowflake as well- doing a bit of 
the same layering of the cuts and then layering those onto the canvas.

And then another good coat of gesso...
layering more flakes...
flake layer...
until I had the look I was satisfied with.
It took awhile, but the effect is WORTH IT!!

The "FRONT" so far...
then it was time to do all the same steps for the BACKSIDE.

Oh my!! LOOK at that texture!!!
Tip: this took 'circles' in both directions (clockwise and counter) in order
for the gesso to get all around inside those dips as the last layer dried and then
I did one final coat to make sure it was all covered.
Then I put it on the fireplace mantel in the Family Room- the dry air from the gas logs
helped dry the entire canvas completely... while I did other things... like hibernated. :0

I really like using TH products almost exclusively, but Picket Fence was 'too white"
and Antique Linen was "too tan", so I dug through my 'other paint' drawer and
found a brand new bottle of this: "Magnolia White"...perfect!

Strangely, I figured out that this step needed to be done AFTER that coat of paint.
You'll see why in a couple more steps.

The "Wint3er BLUES" blew in!
TH Distress Inks: Chipped Sapphire, Faded Blue Jeans, and Salty Ocean.
I thought it best to stick to just a FEW blues. And added some other shades of...
TH Distress Oxides in Iced Spruce and Antique Linen for some dept.
Picket Fence and Antique Linen DID come in handy for highlighting!
I blended, layered, scrubbed, and generally LOVED-TALKED those inks into that canvas!!
I'll admit to also letting out a bucket of tears during this stage.
The frustration of having both our Daughters going through some ills and 
Winter Blues added to my tears over my Bestie's situation.
Here's also where all that stuff in the previous sentence was covered in PRAYERS!!

Which is what I got here: snowflake highlights.
And here's where I added a layer of Ranger Texture Paste onto the lower half of the
canvas to make the 'ground'. After it dried, I repainted over it with more of the same craft paint.
I will also say that while I hate glitter- and the glitter everywhere like sand coming back with you from vacation- I actually added a good sprinkling of TH Distress Glitter in Rock Candy (the only glitter I own!!) … oh EVERY COLOR LAYER.

Since I wanted my Bestie to see BOTH sides- or choose her side according to how
she's feeling that day... I needed a base for it to stand up.
That good old sturdy matboard came in handy again. I cut one sheet in half and stacked it.

I used an un-favorite paper for a covering- this is just the FIRST layer of covering;
it smooths out the sanded down sides to match as 'one piece' better.
I closed this backing entirely.

Got the ChiefHubby to pick me up some small flathead screws...

… and marked a line that was about one third of the way across.
I knew I'd have extra weight on one side, BUT at the same time, the canvas is
heavier on it's normal "front" (my BACKSIDE).
I'm pretty good at eye-balling this kind of thing. Probably due to sailing a sailboat;
it's all about balance and pull. The line just helped me make sure the bottom of the canvas
was smack in the middle, so no screws would pop out of the wood.
Here; you see the FIRST layer of papering with a SECOND covering that.
I made sure I chose the right GOOD paper for that outer covering.

And then, some inking of the same Distress Chipped Sapphire
(remember to heat all these inks in between)
then a sealing coat of TH Collage Medium.

Last touch- sanding down a few of those TH IdeaOlogy Alpha Parts Snowflakes
and Icicles which then got pasted onto the BACKSIDE with TH Ranger Stickles
in Rock Candy. And another little tracing of it on the top of these!

Before we hit the Final Photos and Closeups...
Check out this AWESOME EFFECT on the TH Alterations Die Winter Wonder!!
I trimmed him down after sending him through on a sandwhich with matboard- twice.
Then, I also die cut some TH Frosted and trimmed it up against the other two.
Sanded that all down and cut some 'arms' that looked like old branches grabbed from 
a pine tree nearby. Then I was thinking " do I adhere all three layers together??
*shrug* I practically own stock in Glossy Accents since I buy it so much, so..."
I stuck the arms in between the two matboard layers, then squished that
TH Frosted onto the top, and the COOLEST EFFECT happened: it looked like
the 'snow' had melted from warmer hands that smoothed and smoothed until
the snow was so packed, it became a glistening icey covering.
I don't know about YOU and what YOU did with YOUR KIDS...
But MINE got the whole snowman deal: sprayed colors and all!
We made Barney and a scary regular dinosaur one year when they were first old
enough to go out for a long period of time. ChiefHubby got home and said
"I think the neighbors are gonna complain about the MONSTERS out there you guys built!"
Hey... go get ur own snow, and play in ur own yard, bud.

Here's a bit closer...
In all- I didn't 'grunge' much on this project. Not much shading on cut pieces so they
look 'fresh'. Some shading on the TH Paper Dolls- of course!

Here's the Final Results:

The BACKSIDE comes first;
it represents the "storm" of a winter snowstorm.
If you've ever driven in what is called a "whiteout", then you'll understand this storm.
The dark clouds darken out the sun so it seems as if daylight is suddenly evening.
Then the snow comes; flurries that are light and pretty. But soon they start coming
down in almost 'chunks' of huge flakes made of both ice and snow.
Now, you're driving much slower because you're following the sideline.
Suddenly; you can't see ANYTHING but blinding snow that looks as if it's both
white AND black- because the snowfall is so thick that all light is blocked out.
you're frightened. And terribly so.

And then the morning comes.
School gets canceled from a foot- or more- of snow.
What happens then?
The GOOD TIMES are made from that very same awful, cold, rotten, scary snow.
You wake up to a picture out of Norman Rockwell!
In this project, I put TH Paper Dolls in that would 'match' my Bestie's 3 Sons- the oldest is married, has one little girl holding the pink scarf for the unfinished snowman (she's just a bit older than our Grandson, Cole) and ANOTHER on the way (holding the name of their creation) !
(No, it's a rarity: they're not giving away gender till birth.)
The middle Son is currently a College Boy- same Alma Mater to be as his older Brother.
The youngest will graduate HS this Spring and head off for the Fall Semester to his
Mom and Dad's old Alma Mater.
I chose TWO washi tape borders (non- TH) because used in tandem, they
hold the last part of my message:
While I rest in the fact that I believe The LORD is in control of everything,
I also know that sometimes he allows things to happen that are for HIS Glory 
and our good. Even when it feels otherwise. So I am just going to keep
lifting her up to HIM in prayers, hope, and love.
Because if there is one thing I learned in those 5 long, painful years. it's that
LIVING is a heck of a LOT harder than dying.
It's what we have to go through in order to keep on living that is the tough part.
But, I see GOOD in her future! I hold out that BLESSED HOPE
that she will have many, many more photos to take of the coming years!
That's why that blank filmstrip washi tape was perfect.
And the blue hearts on the side fill the other frames of the filmstrip: always in our hearts,
even when she feels like the entire world has passed her by.
The snowman is like many here that happen, in that the fun of snow itself ends up
in an abandoned snowman who still needs clothes items. This is usually where Mom/Grandma always comes in... we gather what is needed and hand it out to them, unless...
unless the rest of the family who built the guy are all having too much fun
in other snow activities. Then Mom/Grandma feel sorry for the poor chilly guy and
go out and finish making him look respectable enough for her yard.
Here's for many more years of finishing work still left to do!!!

The Closeups:

TH Crinkle Ribbon in same Inks cover the entire outside edges.

Please forgive those hated glue gun strings. I'll be sure to swipe those next time.

TH Decorative Deer...with glue gun strings... *sigh*

If you didn't get here via The Frilly and Funkie Challenge Blog 
please head on over to the page and see all the other projects.
I guarantee you'll get a smile out of these if you even remotely like crafts!
If you're inclined to join us; you are WELCOME TO!
The Funkie Junkie Boutique sponsors each Challenge with prizes,
and you'll find lots of great deals on there-
in fact, I was recently able to refill all my ink pads (which is why the
colors are so bright once again) at a fraction of the cost I would normally pay online!

Here's a SHOUTOUT to all who took the time to check out my last project-
FFChallenge #3. While I was happy- and VERY HONORED- to be chosen into
the Top 3 Picks (earning another Badge), the weather and my own ills have
not allowed me to get them out in time for Valentine's Day to our 
younger set of kids up in Red Wing, MN. I hope to rectify that before the weekend arrives.
I am in constant AWE of all the Crafters out there who possess such GENIUS !!
It really humbles me to think of all the things we learn from one another.
And now... back to hibernation. : )

Stay Safe &

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Frilly and Funkie Challenge #2; Vintage Valentines... My HEARTS will go on!

   February always makes a person think of hearts. Well...for myself, it does, anyway. In fact, there is not a room in our home that does NOT have hearts all over in it in some way. That's because this Primitively Americana decorated home relies on the Red, White, and Blue, along with stars and hearts. Some people say my d├ęcor never changes, but others will notice small changes take place very often. It's the furniture, basically, that changes much less often- partly due to having more basic primitive items (or Colonial, if you are so inclined to note in several places here) that are considered "stay put"s. After taking so many years of flea markets, festivals, bargain hunting and yard saleing to find these long as I am this home's decorator; it will all stay put. As often as we have been keeping our eye open (most savvy homeowners will always keep an eye open for a real-estate bargain they cannot refuse because land is always a good investment)… I have never wished to move to any other home. I LOVE my own home and we are always doing something more to add to, or change it, to just what we want. I guess while others think their 'dream home' is out there somewhere and they MUST find it; this homeowner/crafty chick has been happy just to make her own. So, then.....HEARTS it is! Now, I am not about to be silly enough to demand that (should we both perish sooner than we hope- GOD forbid) our children MUST keep all these things we have now. Since our likes and treasures throughout our home run into what I've always called "eclectic" (Tim Holtz stole that from me, I tell ya!), and each of our kids has their own likes and treasures, there is just no logical reason for them to save all we have collected in our lifetime. Some Parents/Grandparents DO expect that, and most of those would probably be disappointed to know how rarely their 'wishes' are carried out after they are gone. We have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to choose from our Grandparents' treasures; real hand-sewn quilts, holiday baking do-dads and pans, cookbooks, and especially photos! And those photos have kept me VERY BUSY on the computer for very literally YEARS; scanning for copies so that everyone can have them- not just some or even one person, as often happens. ALL family members have the right to see who they came from, in moho. I think it is just awesome when youger people in the family want to learn about their family members who lived before them- and even more so if they want to keep track of who is who! Afterall, GOD always comes first (in everything) since HE is LOVE itself, and FAMILY/PEOPLE are all about LOVE!! And LOVE is what brings us to think of hearts- with Valentine's Day as the most thought-of day that represents those.
         "Vintage Valentines" is the perfect theme for Challenge #2- so that we crafters can share our makes and then get them out in time for that special holiday. Immediately, what comes to my mind when I make KIDS and Grands (Cole's Baby Sissy is due in March, so I'm entitled to use the plural form here). The "empty nest" thing never sat very well with me. And not being able to have more kids was something I had to work hard to get through. My ChiefHubby and our 2 sets of married kids (we consider each Son's Wife as our Daughters- not Daughters in Law, but we often say DiL for clarification when explaining to new people we meet, or folks we catch up with) are my very LIFE. My own schedule being at home is often catering to all of their schedules. Momma is intent to just 'always be there' in case they need me for anything. So when the boys first each moved out (the older to his own rented house and work/school at age 18 &1/2, and the younger to Purdue), that emptiness hit HARD. Over the years as they grew- and it's still so- I always "did" the Birthday things, the holiday things, and any other 'thing' that came up- all the way up to age 18 in their Senior Years of HS! Yep- SpongeBob SquarePants was a theme and cake and I can remember still making special Hershey Bar wraps for to go along with ice cream bars for the entire class. The teachers knew me well, since I was a Helper Mom, Room Mom, Cafeteria Aide, and just about any other title if they needed someone for it. And I loved A LOT of kids in there, helping them feel loved and treasured as much as my own kids. Holidays were Party Days and I usually had something for each of them, as well. So if you think I am 'missing that part of life'...Nah!!! Because now it's THEIR turn!! I get to be just Meemaw and finally sit and watch it all!!

           But no one ever said I had to stop making things for my kids..... VALENTINES!!
                                                                       So, let's go...

I started out with some plain tissue paper (from a roll given to me quite a few years back).
And then went through all my stamps until I was satisfied with the ones that would make a cute collage to use as a background for the front sides of each Tag. I would need 6 Tags,
and of course; each would have a Front and a Back.

Tim Holtz's Stamp Platform ( the regular larger one) came in VERY handy for this project!
I started with the Red Rubber stamps- from various TH Stampers Anonymous Sets.
NOTICE: In the upper left corner, you can see the words RUBBER in red lettering.
If you can read it (the cover is right side up and the lettering is left to right readable), 
then you have the correct side of the 'glass'. 
I chose the places for each stamp and then placed a blank tissue sheet on the platform's base.
I used Archival Ink in JET BLACK for all of these stampings.
Yes- I DID need to restamp a few times to make the ink stand out clearer on the tissue,
so the Platform did an AMAZING job helping me make 6 copies of the same collage!

Here, I re-situated the first tissue (already Red Rubber stamped) onto the Platform base,
then set the CLEAR STAMPS onto the tissue where I wanted them.
Now, it's time to turn the 'glass' cover over and switch to the red lettering readable as
"CLEAR" in the same left upper corner you saw "RUBBER" last time.
Closed the lid and the clear stamps (again- from various TH S's A sets)
stuck to the 'glass' cover in just the right places for each tissue!
I never had to touch any of the stamps until I was completely finished with all the sheets.
They were all inked in, BEAUTIFULLY SO!
All I needed to do was place each  tissue onto the Platform's base, moving the tissue
around just to match up the spaces where  the stamps would meet perfectly!
Note: After about the 3rd sheet; I found the crown clear stamp was looking "messy" and as I feared- it was backwards! Since I didn't want to tangle with more time; I decided this was one
of those "embrace your imperfections" time. Indeed: that was one of the TH Word Bands
I had already picked out to use on my own Tag copy!

These are shown as only all- Tim stamps...

Then I added one more Tim stamp (on the glass block) and 2 more by hand.
The TH Filmstrip Stamp was only 3 frames, and I repeated it to make it longer.
The other 2 stamps were 'wiggled' so they gave some 'motion' to the backgrounds.

What's Valentine's Day without the DATE?!
I stamped this randomly all around several times on each sheet.

If you have a Martha Stewart Scoring Board...
you'll find a corner helper (envelope maker) on the Board- nestled neatly into the backside.
I used this to help me make each slant and fold to be in the same place on each of my Tags.
NOTE: I cut extra-long Tags by folding my 8 1/2x11 manilla cardstock (using the scoreboard to fold) and settling the folded edge as close as possible to the cut edge of the TH Tags and Bookplates Die-
but not allowing the bottom edge to cut the folded paper at all.
This gives you a Tag that is extra long- but the bottom is folded upwards to double it somewhat.
I didn't double the entire Tag...just a few inches from the top. 

Now, another straight fold at the end of the slanted fold,
having two straight folds connected by one slanted fold.

This is what I ended up with, before...

...folding the first time...

...then folding again to make a slanted pocket.
It is fully open on the right side of this photo. 
On the left side- that back tab is adhered to the front of the longer tag's 'back'.

This is what I ended up with … 6 of them. The completed FRONT bases of the Tags.

Here, 6 more Tag cuts (die cuts as usual from my TH Thinlits Tags Set),
using a random number of heavier cardboard die cuts from the two TH Alterations Dies (Movers and Shapers Hearts, and Bigz Love Stuck) making a few different patterns from different sizes of
hearts- and in 3 different LAYERS!
Set those aside and make more die cuts from the...  

TH Alterations Love Struck Die: to make 3 sets of Cupids for each Bookmark.
(The Bookmarks will be the gift inside the Tag for each of my avidly-reading family members.)

Making MORE die cuts from TH Dies (the crown comes from the TH retired Heart Wings die).
Piling them all up, got me organized for 'mass production'.
(I later tossed the die cuts of the arrows from the Love Struck Die, and decided 
instead, to add some TH IdeaOlogy Arrows.)

The first step of tissue collages is to make sure you've got a GOOD amount of Ranger GlueNSeal
on the base, and then as you crumple the tissue for a worn look, use that wonder tool: 
TH Remnant Rub Tool, to help 'shape' the paper to the forms of die cuts adhered to the base Tag.
That tool makes this step easy and SO FUN!! 

After I cut around the edges, I noticed I still had some of the fave parts of the stamped
areas leftover. Waste not; want not! So....

I clipped as much as I wanted and just layered it on!

I LOVED this look!!
You can add another coat of GlueNSeal, if you wanted, but I chose not to....

and went straight away into adding COLOR.
The thing is: each of us has a "color code" that I know is not only their favorite color,
but in both Sons' case- it was the color I always chose when it came to purchasing TWO of the same things. They could automatically know which belonged to who- by color.
And most of the colors are also their Birth Stone color, so I mixed in a bit of that, if it didn't already have that color as the basic background.

Then, instead of that GlueNSeal coat which I skipped....I put on a coat of the 
Ranger Collage Medium in Vintage.

Cutting the crowns out of soft cork sheets...coating them with Gold Distress Paint and 
some Collage Medium Crazing... then some various gems from my stash boxes- including TH IdeaOlogy Roses- to mix in their fave colors and Birth Stone colors.

I was all finished, but for the last main item...
Finally on January 28th- yep; MONDAY:
my order of the TH Thinlits new addition of Faceted Hearts got here just in time!

This is what I ended up with for everyone...

The mix of our colors always makes me smile- we truly do represent colors of the Rainbow
(Aka: GOD's Promise) !!

My own crown in October's Pink (or Opal) Rose Zicron.

That Tim has done it again: these new dies just ROCK!!!
 I can't wait to get the rest of the ones that will perfectly fit for my Mechanical/Electrical Older Son,
and my Nuclear Engineer Younger Son- they really DO match those!!!
I added some rust, because my love for my family may be 'old' but each day, it 
really DOES refresh anew for them!

That wooden heart is from my Niece's wedding last fall. Her Dad (my oldest Brother on my Dad's Rush side) died just before her wedding. It was a bittersweet time. I saved 2 of those tiny
wooden hearts from the middle of our table waiting to use them specifically for this Valentine's Day.

I found these little treasures on clearance for just over $1 from 
The Funkie Junkie Boutique (the Sponsor of the FF Challenges)!
I also ordered several other sets of different embellies- esp a set of TH IdeaOlogy Pinecones
as well as TH Snowflakes for the same bargain prices !! 

Here's a closer look at that little wooden heart from my Niece's wedding.

The Bookmarks have a frontside and a backside.

The finished full look of my own Tag...FRONT...

… and BACK.

All packaged up -with my 'signature' yearly Americana Tags- and ready to:
1) mail the Younger Kids Set (Brett and Holli) to Red Wing, Minnesota
(where it's been LESS of a winter up there than down here in Indiana).
2) pass on the Older Kids' Tags during one of our drop off/pick ups for Wittle Peanut.
(Cole already has a Valentine gift appropriately for a Grandson- 
waiting for him in Meemaw's hideaway spot.)
3) Give the ChiefHubby his before he takes off for work-probably on another
Ch-ch-chilly-willy day on Valentine's Day at 4 am- his wakeup time.

You'll find several other awesome makes - and meet their talented
Crafters, along with some WONDERFUL Designers who lead these Challenges
You are more than WELCOME to join in and have a shot at a Badge for your Blog,
or even be chosen for the $25 Gift Certificate Drawing from
The Funkie Junkie Boutique - Sponsors of each Challenge.

I'd like to thank all those who have been checking in on my Blog and yes- I see the counts!
Those counts all help spur on my Muse to create more things, and even go outside my 'usual' 
neutral/tan likes into that great color wheel!

I also wish each and every one of you:

Be Safe &...