Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keep on truckin'

My chickens must have Spring Fever because they keep escaping from their enclosure to dig massive craters in my husbands rose garden.  In between chasing them back in where they belong every half hour, gathering all the info I need to do the taxes plus all the other stuff I have to do on any given day, I managed to complete all 5 weeks of March's Verve Challenges.  I just haven't managed to post the last 3 that I did. I guess I am really out of practice because these card designs are all over the place. One is great, one stinks and the rest are just "Eh" but I did do all 5 weeks. That should count for something at least.

For Week 3 I used some old Bo-Bunny paper from my stash. It was called Autumn Leaves but it sure looked like Spring to me.  I created the Medallion with an SVG set I downloaded from Lettering Delights, MTC and my electronic die cutter. The stamps are all Verve, the edge punch is Martha Stewart, ribbon from Ellen Hutson, twine from The Twinery and a button from an old shirt of mine. LOL  Oh, and the stitching was done by hand with some DMC Pearl Floss.

Til next time...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Color Improvement from Yesterday

Geez Louise! Why didn't anyone mention how really awful that pink looked yesterday? ACK!  I just did a fast switcheroo and changed from Pink Pirouette to Pear Pizazz. So much better... I hope.

Til next time...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Prismacolor to Copic

I love my Prismacolor Markers.  They’re fat, easy to hold, relatively inexpensive, American made, easy to blend and shade and come in plenty of colors.  I saw no need to jump on the Copic bandwagon. Unfortunately I have been having a hard time removing the caps on my Prismacolors.  I can use my pinky and ring finger around the cap and yank with the other hand but then I get ink all over the side of my hand and this technique only works on good days anyway.  I tested some Copic Sketch Markers at a local store and found them much easier to open and not only are they comfortable in my hand, the oval shape prevents them from rolling away. So needless to say, I took the plunge… big time!

 I got my first batch of markers at Christmas plus the Air Brush Kit.  Never got to use them with all the remodeling but picked up an air compressor at Harbor Freight.  Then I got a deal at – one of those “Spend X amount to get 15% plus free shipping” – so I ordered more markers plus a set of Spica pens.  Still didn’t use them but they were there just waiting for when I found the time.  Well, last week, Dick Blick had another deal – spend $179 and get 20% off plus free shipping – soooo, I ordered more markers plus the second set of Spica pens. I must need my head examined. So here I am with 117 markers, 24 Spica Glitter pens, an air brush system and an air compressor.  It is definitely time to get busy and use this stuff.

I used Viva La Verve’s Sketch Challenge for March/Week 2 and stamps from Verve’s Easter Joy set along with die cuts from Spellbinder’s Eyelets Pendant and Border sets and circle dies. Ink, cardstock and ribbon is from StampinUp.
 I stamped the flower with Memento Tuxedo Black on 2 white circles.  The one on the left I colored with Prismacolor Markers 147 Greyed Lavender, 129 Dahlia and 168 Dark Purple.  The one on the right I colored with Copic  V0000, V01 and V12.  Blending and shading with Prismacolors is very easy so blending and shading with the Copics takes a bit of getting used to.  Copics aren’t necessarily harder to work with, just different.

 Airbrushing with Prismacolor markers is not possible so this was a whole new experience for me. I cut the flower from the Prismacolor circle to use as a mask, put the Copic circle back into the die, applied the mask and airbrushed with Copic Y00 then removed the mask and die.  I was in awe.  I cut a label and label mat with “the cutter that shall not be named”, stamped the sentiment on the white label with Su’s Rich Razzleberry, colored it with Copics then airbrushed with the Y00.  I am hooked! 

To finish the rest of the card I embossed the card front with SU’s polka dot embossing folder with my Big Shot, threaded SU’s Razzleberry Taffeta ribbon through the border die cut, added a bow and a few rhinestones from Imaginisce and there you have it.
If anyone is interested in trying alcohol markers and would like to buy my entire collection of Prismacolor markers at a very good price just email me.

Til next time…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Two Cents... and a recipe

The recent developments between MTC and Provo Craft have been preying on my mind enough that I finally have to say something and be done with it. Read on if you wish or scroll down to the very bottom of this post for just the recipe page.

On the cold, corporate level, these are what I believe to be the basics: Provo Craft and their partner/half owner Bank of America, filed suit against MTC for alleged copyright infringement and MTC settled out of court rather than run up legal bills it could not possibly pay. Quite frankly, if MTC had the time and money to fight PC and BOA, I think they could have won.  The only thing MTC may have done wrong, in my opinion,  was create a means to back up the Cricut Cartridges that the user owned but that feature was removed after only 2 weeks of existence so there was no reason for a lawsuit.  If you are reading this then you use a computer, so you should know that once you buy your hardware, you are free to use any software that you choose.  There are tons of legal precedents showing that a hardware developer cannot prevent a software developer from creating a program to utilize their hardware.

On the warm, human level, MTC is not a corporation.  It is a young programmer, Andy, who wrote a program for his wife, Ann, so she could cut her own designs rather than use the cartridges full of designs that did not appeal to her.  Once written, he chose to share it with the rest of us.  MTC is the only reason I bought my Cricut Expression.  And with he and Ann expecting, he really had no choice but to settle out of court.

On the warmer, personal level, MTC allows me to keep busy and to keep my mind off the pain. You see, I hurt… ALL the time.  Some days it’s just a little and other days it’s a lot but the pain is ALWAYS there.  I have arthritis in my spine and have had my neck fused.  I have arthritis in my knees.  Crafting has always been my oasis. I have often said that as long as I have the use of my eyes and my hands and can craft, I can overcome anything.  When crafting, my mind enters another world where there is no pain but the arthritis is in my hands and has gotten to the point where it prevents me from crafting. There are days when I can’t hold a scissor or use a paper punch or even hold the paper to ink the edges so I use what the medical professionals call Adaptive Therapy.  I find a tool to help me do what my hands can’t.  I have a Teflon coated metal plate and magnets to hold my paper while I use the ink applicators from Tim Holtz (love you Tim) to ink the edges.  I have magnets on my Stampa-ma-jig to hold everything in place while I stamp.  And I had MTC and my Cricut Expression to do the fussy cutting around my stamping, my paper punching and die cutting.
I shouldn’t take it personally, but I feel like Provo Craft and Bank of America have told me to put my big girl panties on and just live with the pain.  Well I have been wearing big girl panties long before I was a big girl and I’ve been dealing with this pain for most of my life with very little medication by crafting!!! So for now, I will continue to use MTC with my Cricut Expression.  I will not be able to update MTC and will miss out on any new wonderful things Andy adds to the program until I can find a way to purchase a different cutter but I will be able to keep smiling, laughing, joking and creating. Thank you Andy and Tim and Penny and Kim and StampinUp and all my other fellow crafters who have made it possible for me to continue doing what I love.

Which brings me to the recipe I mentioned...  It was my month to supply the recipe for our SU Recipe Club and since it was March I decided to do my version of Irish Soda Bread.  This is the original recipe as I did it for years but now I use butter and put the whole batch into 1 greased cast iron skillet. I hope you enjoy it.

 Til next time...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Paper Roses

While trying to find some inspiration to get me back into the papercrafting mode, I stumbled upon the Viva La Verve Sketch Challenge for the 1st week of March here. I thought it the perfect venue to use a paper rose I made following Penny Duncan's tutorial here. I threw in some scrapbook paper scraps, an embossing folder, a Verve stamp or 2, a piece of lacy ribbon plus a few pearls and this is what I ended up with. Not too bad for one of my first projects since the kitchen remodel.

While you are at Penny Duncan's blog, check out all of her flowers. You just need Make-the-Cut software or any program that will allow you to use your own designs for cutting such as SCAL or Funtime and a compatible electronic die cutter. She also has her patterns in PDF format so you can cut all the pieces by hand if you don't have a cutter.

Til next time...