Sunday, June 30, 2013

Headlines that will make you groan...

It is July 1st!  Let's all say Rabbit! Rabbit! for good luck!

The stories affiliated with each of these headlines may be accurate but I wonder whatever happened to editing? These will either make you groan or shake your head in dismay. A few will cause both.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Who set the calendar to full speed?

"Tomorrow" is an inconceivably long time to a young child. By the time you are part of the work force, the work week may drag by but your days off feel like they've only lasted a few hours. Parents of adult children look at photos of their babies and swear they were taken just a year or two ago. Thank goodness for retirement. All that free time to do anything you want and not punch a time clock or set an alarm.
 I crack myself up sometimes!

As I look back on June and wonder where it went, most of it was busy with happy projects and events. Our younger son began a new job and our older one has been learning the joys of home remodeling. Lesson one being that however long you think the job will take, double that amount of time.

Hubby has been teaching him, working by his side which meant I've had the Prince of Sweetness more than usual this month. Gosh darn, that was a hard job. 

Mother Nature has delivered rain and wind this past month that has left people without power, with flooded streets and basements, and done some major property damage. My family has been lucky to miss all of this, but we did lose a tree at the cottage. A major limb fell, just missing the front of the cottage and deck.
Huge trees were completely uprooted such as this one which thankfully fell away from our neighbor's house.
A few homes and cars weren't so lucky. Another cottage neighbor had his boat on a trailer. The storm turned the whole thing upside down. Hubby has been back and forth a few times, initially to check for damage, then to begin clean up and meet with a tree service to trim two trees with broken limbs and the complete removal of another. The landscape around us has been drastically changed. Those who were there for the storm said they've never seen anything like it. They described a "wall of water" hitting all sides of their homes at once. One neighbor got this shot of the storm as it approached:
Doesn't that look like talons coming out to grab something and rip it apart?

A few days of this month were spent painting for a friend. For a look at a castle wall VBS project that I painted, click here.  Another day was spent visiting a quilt shop and a yarn store with a different friend. It wasn't going to be an all-day event, but a haz-mat situation closed a freeway and we spent 2 hours traveling what should have taken 15 minutes. That was the day before making the Teal Ombre cake (see previous post). It really has been an interesting month.

An annual fireworks display in my city was scheduled last night. Rain postponed that event, but not early enough to cancel the cleaning frenzy that occurred late yesterday afternoon. The fireworks can be seen from our yard and we normally have 30+ friends and relatives here to ooh and ahh. Even though this is very casual and we ask people to bring their favorite beverage and a folding lawn chair if they have one, I still have a Company's Coming! mindset and try to straighten up the house. If we're very careful between now and the rescheduled event, I won't have as much to do. 

If we keep the lids on these two containers (and our hands out of them!), I will still have snacks for the fireworks. These are "no-brainers" which are perfect for a hectic week.
These are Wilton Candy Melts, melted in plastic bags in the microwave before snipping a corner off and squiggling over a layer of mini pretzels.
These are Ritz Crackers made into sandwich cookies with a Rolo in the middle. Yum!
Place crackers on a baking sheet with one unwrapped Rolo centered on each. Bake at 350* for approximately 3 minutes, just long enough to soften the Rolo. Top with another cracker and gently smoosh.

A Castle Wall

A very good friend of mine is involved in her church's Vacation Bible School every June. Her assignment is to read stories (lessons) to preschoolers. The first year that I helped by creating a backdrop, the theme was a ranch and I was asked to paint a horse's head on a poster board. You should be relieved that I don't have a photo of that to share.

A few years back, the theme was Crocodile Dock. I was asked to paint a fishing shack in a bayou, seen here.  Another year I was asked to make snake hand puppets. I saved the prototype which has become one of our grandson's favorite things to play with while here. I don't have a photo of the puppet as originally created, but here is a recent photo of the snake with a pacifier.

This year, the theme was Kingdom Rock. My friend, with an abundance of faith, asked if I would make a castle wall backdrop. With a fireplace. Painted on a flattened refrigerator carton.

Do you know how big a flattened refrigerator carton is? It is huge! Here it is in my living room, painted primer gray.
It was folded and placed flat on the floor to measure and draw pencil lines to indicate where cement blocks would be drawn with a wide tip black marker.
I am lucky to have a sewing/craft room, but it isn't big enough to accommodate a project of this size and allow perspective for photographing.
Originally, my friend only wanted three panels done, but once you have a permanent crick in your neck, why not do all four? Here are three panels partially done and the beginnings of the fireplace.
I'm not thrilled with the fire and the glow that I tried to created but I doubt pre-schoolers are picky critics. If they are, I still have a snake that will defend me.
In case you ever find yourself needing to create the illusion of a block wall, here is the cheater's guide:
Decide the size of your blocks, in my case, 8" tall by 12" wide. Measure and mark with a pencil on a surface that has been painted the desired color of your wall. My friend and her daughter used primer gray before bringing the cardboard to me.
Use a yardstick and a broad tip marker to create the blocks. Take the hard square-ness off of the block corners by making a "Y" on your lines at the top joins and an upside down "Y" at the bottom with your marker. It doesn't have to be exact.
I used disposable foam brushes (I buy them by the bag for messy work) with very little paint (dry brush technique) to make a black line down the left side and across the bottom of each block for shading, then did the opposite sides in white for highlighting. It was a quick detail that gave the blocks some dimension.
Next year, I hope the theme is imagination. Close your eyes children. Close them tight. See whatever you want to see while I read you the story of two friends. One wonders how she gets drawn into projects that she feels is over her head.  The other has faith that with a foam brush, acrylic paints and a marker, her friend can make anything she asks.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Copics on canvas and on ribbon

I am relatively new to Copic Markers but already addicted. My first class was last September. I admitted my addiction here on my other blog. I would probably be further along on the learning curve if I didn't have other crafts competing for Copic time and oh yes...the occasional chores like laundry, housecleaning and cooking interrupt me too.

A class at my local scrapbooking store introduced coloring on something besides paper. We worked on a canvas board and a small muslin gift bag. The instructor had the board and bag stamped and ready for us before class. Both needed to be thoroughly dry before coloring. I believe she recommends overnight drying when fabric is involved. I don't know if the fabric would be washable or not, but for a small gift bag that wouldn't be a concern. I wouldn't plan to decorate clothing with anything but tried and true fabric paint.

Here is the canvas designed to go into a 4x6 frame. The bow and ribbon on the left were supposedly a design element but I would have preferred the stamped image to be centered and skip the ribbon. This particular image wouldn't be my choice anyway, so I doubt it will ever be framed and used.
The muslin gift bags were purchased in bulk from an online source. A square of Copic paper was inside the bag as we colored. For those unfamiliar with Copics, they are alcohol based and bleed through paper and fabric quite easily. Specific papers are recommended for coloring, and even with them we color on top of scrap paper or a protected surface.
I was very light handed in my color application and did not have color bleed through to the paper inside. The woman across from me colored intensely and her result was just as attractive while entirely different.

Colors used were RV10, RV13, RV14, V04, V06, B00, B02 and B05 for the flowers with Y18 centers.  Leaves were YG01, YG03, YG05, YG25 and G17.
Almost invisible in this photo is B0000 in the background around the flowers, leaves and stems.

This morning I experimented with coloring ribbons bows from a package of embellishments. The pink one has two shades of pink. On the middle one, I used blue and colorless blender and colored the 'pearl' center. If you weren't aware of this, clear rhinestones can be colored any shade you like. The rhinestone centers in the purple flowers of the gift bag above were clear until I used the yellow marker. On the bow to the right, I colored the edge of the ribbon purple and used blender to pull a hint of color into the body of the ribbon. I drew dots on the pearl.