Riding the Wave

When I posted I was DONE, you didn’t take me seriously did you? Well, the fact is – I am done, my last post still applies. And no, I don’t have anything profound or truly blogworthy to share, but a funny thing happened – not funny ha ha, but funny interesting…

Lately I’ve had a wonderful amount of “free time” and used that time to NOT stress about making goals, meeting deadlines or planning anything other than using my time to put more thought and energy  into the activities I enjoy.  This is not only true for the business side of things but also for the home life side of things as well. In reality, the daily chores and tasks that NEED to be done are simple and take very little time; keeping the floors swept, the sink empty, fridge full, electricity on, internet connected and having clean clothes – all important and all can be accomplished in less than 5 hours a week. As for business, well a person could fill every hour of  the 24 doing business related stuff and that doesn’t include creating and making. Now I’m just riding the wave of life, going with the flow, enjoying the ride. And with that new philosophy I’ve managed to get some fun “work’ done.

I was, for some reason, compelled to do a paper cutting using Hiroshige’s Thirty six Views of  Mt. Fuji as my inspiration. I decided to use The Sea Off Satta in Suruga Province because it is such a widely recognized iconic piece of work and my reference would need  very little explanation.

The Wave

It took about a month to do this one. There was no deadline and I even took a couple of road trips during the month too, something I would have never done before. This time I just enjoyed the process and had fun with it.  I didn’t even stress out when most the layers had to be peeled off and reconfigured because the lid wouldn’t close properly. Now I know how better to plan out my layers so that doesn’t happen again.

Here is a little peek at the process, the quick sketch and a few of the cut layers with one side assembled.

wave assembly

Well, that’s all folks.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention… I took this piece and about 4 other older pieces with me to an event I had no intention of selling at and what do you know… SOLD. And see, I am so done, I didn’t even bother to fret over the lack of wave metaphors I could have been and should have been using throughout this whole post to make it more you know, “bolgworthy”.




Happy Camping Everyone

I’m excited to be doing a few Holiday shows, but I’m also feeling very pressed for time. With that, I can only leave you with a photo:

caravan tin Collage

This Christmas caravan was created from an Altoids tin. The roof is made from Sculpey III  polymer clay and rests on a trailer hitch made from a clothes pin, spool and wood bead. Other embellishments include decorative paper, beads, pipe cleaner and charms salvaged from thrift store jewelry. I decided not to make my own bottle brush tree because, well, I just wasn’t feeling motivated to do so.

I’ve done a good job this year using only items I can salvage from my stash and using the paper scraps I have collected over the years. The only purchases I have made are for products I have run out of and some really beautiful, hard to find decorative paper. Mostly I’ve been working on creating my own background papers using photo editing programs.

Hey, this was supposed to be a quick photo only post. So with that, while all is quite and calm, I must get back to work. I have about 100 more of these to make.(!)

And Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

A Bunch of Stuff and a New Tin…

What can I say? I’m completely uncreative when it comes to writing titles.

I should be posting about the Craft Fair I did earlier in the month.  Truth is, it was a little uneventful. And I mean that in the most positive way.

Everything went smoothly from set up to tear down. Aside from our group of 10, we had a lot of help from a few husbands which made set up all the easier. A few ladies in our group are veterans at this craft fair business, so they walked  us rookies through it. We also had a great project manager who  wrote up a plan of action for each of us, so we all knew what our roles were from the get go.  I was a little nervous about the whole thing because well, you know how it can be to work with a group of highly creative women, each with fabulous ideas —- things can get a little tense. As a newbie to the group, this was a chance for me to get to know everyone on a more personal level. What a fantastic group of talented, intelligent, fun and funny women! We laughed, We cried! It was great. My personal sales were better than I expected and the overall experience was a positive one. I did learn I wouldn’t do that particular venue again, but I would do another event  in a minute with this group. And I am. Next moth. But that is another post…..

WHEW – now that was a wordy paragraph.

Anyway, if you have specific questions about how to pull off a craft fair – ask away and I will be happy to share. (My first tip though, is to do it with a large group of awesome, motivated, experienced friends.)

I’ve been a little lazy since the fair and took some time to focus on non creative tasks. My brain needed a rest. But I’m ready to get back to work! I’ve been asked to create a couple of custom tins which I am really excited about.

My first job was to design a business card holder for a friend.  She had mentioned she liked mine and asked if I would make her one. I was happy to do it, but she didn’t give me much of a hint about what style she wanted. When I asked her, she said “Oh anything.” Perhaps she was only being nice, but she’s gonna get one now, like it or not.  After cyber stalking her for a couple of days, poking around Facebook and her Etsy Store, My Jealous Heart, I didn’t come up with much, so I just went way out on a limb and did my own thing.

The Reveal

Remember how cool it was for rock stars to start their sets with their backs turned to the audience? The crowd would wait in anticipation as the lead singer tapped his foot, or snapped his fingers through the song intro then, on cue, he’d turn around to belt out the first line of lyrics, the crowd would go wild?  That is sort of what I am going for here:


Back of Altered Altoids Tin;
Cue  music…

I’ve been a little obsessed with old school American tattoos lately. Not getting one, but the images and how I’ve been seeing them used on everything from pot holders to diaper bags.  As I kicked around a few ideas in my head about this card holder, I though, why not design one in the spirit of an old school tattoo?

I had so much fun with this because I had no idea how I would do it, so there was a lot of experimental play happening. I wanted a banner, I knew that, but it had to be durable and it had to have the name of my friends shop on it, which meant I’d have to custom make one.

I remembered a package of Polyshrink I had purchased about 20 years ago ( I did mention before that I am a hoarder right?) I had used a corner of only one sheet to make a charm once and never used it again. I retrieved it from my stash and began experimenting. Mostly I was concerned the banner would not shrink down to the desired size.  My lettering skills are terrible, so I had to use stamps and stamp each letter on the Polyshrink (before baking). I was worried the lettering would be too small once the banner shrunk, but it turned out pretty good.

banner bef

hand colored and hand stamped Polyshrink, before baking.

banner aft

After baking at 300° for about 9 minutes.

Stays On ink pads were perfect for stamping the letters and I used Sharpies to color and add detail to the design – all before baking.

But of course, I needed something to hold the banner up. I drew a swallow, traced two of them onto the Polyshrink with carbon paper, colored the swallows with a Sharpie, cut them out,  PUNCHED THE HOLES (don’t forget to do that step) and baked it. The little birds took only about 3 minutes to shrink down to size.

bef aft bird

The original sketch and the little baked bird 🙂

Above you can see the original size of the sketch for the bird.  I had forgotten how fun this was!!

I wont get into details about the trials and errors, it really wasn’t too bad, the main thing is to have patience and know, the bigger the piece, the longer it may take to shrink and it will go through some startling stages as it shrinks. Eventually it will flatten out and look normal. There are a lot of instructions online, which are far better than I can offer, but I would be happy to answer you specific questions; that is much easier than me trying to anticipate all the questions anyone MIGHT have.

The paper used in this project is all hand painted then details were added with art pens and acrylic paint, as with the heart. I also added acrylic rhinestones to give a little bling bling. I was tempted to use glitter, but thought the rhinestones were enough. (I’m trying to wean myself off glitter – ohhh the pain of glitter withdrawals….)

Here is the shot of the front along with a few detail shots: (HUGE cheers from the crowd)

jealous heart collage

In my experimenting, I found acrylic paints worked well on the Polyshrink. I attempted to use water based inks, but they smeared, even after baking. This was also true of my printer ink. Initially, I  was going to create the design in a photo editing program and print it onto the Polyshrink, but my ink was not compatible with the Polyshink and it smeared after baking as well. There are other types of shrink film available made for use with inkjet printers but I wanted to use what I already had.

Well, that’s it for this week. I must get back to my room redo’s, landscaping, painting and panicking (more on that in a future post) and I still have two other tins to get to, plus a few more for the fair – SOOOOoooooo I’m outta here for now.

Hope you have a fab week,