Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Loving the Memory Box

I was working tonight and restocking the shelves at Angela's with the latest Memory Box stamps. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I sure do love their stuff! It is so dangerous entering the stamps into inventory and not saying, "one for the customers, one for me. One for the customers, two for me." I am really looking forward to Dave Brethauer's (owner of Memory Box) visit to the store in September.
The card today uses Memory Box stamps and paper. Although, I am not sure that they make the paper anymore. It was a really simple design, but it took me quite a bit of time to stamp all the little fish. It started with a couple fish and then built and built and built. Sometimes it is so hard to stop when stamping!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Precious Metal Clay

I have been wanting to take a class in precious metal clay (PMC) for a long time and finally had a chance over the weekend. Barbara McGuire was a guest instructor at Angela's Happy Stamper and taught two PMC classes. I could only afford to take one, but I am so happy I did! I enjoyed the class very much, and it was so great (and dangerous) to see a whole new way to use my stamps.
PMC is real silver with a binding agent so you can mold it as you would any other clay. You can then stamp into it and cut out shapes to make any sort of jewelry you want. When you fire it in a kiln, the binding agent burns off and you are left with a hardened piece that is real silver. (This is why it is such an expensive medium to choose). Of course, now I want a kiln, clay tools, liver of sulphur, a rock tumbler..... sigh!
I tried to take a close up of my necklace, so it is hard to judge the final size. The finished piece is about 7/8" x 1 3/8." I designed the center oval to fit a specific handmade bead, but I don't think it will be hard to find other beads that will fit. This type of jewelry is perfect for me because I love beads, but I am not a beader. This way I can buy a bead that I like and "highlight" it with the silver. Fun!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Happy Anniversary Angela

Yesterday was a big day at Angela's Happy Stamper. It celebrated the fourth year the store has been open. It seems as though in this day and age, it is hard for the small business owner to survive. There are large chain stores to compete with as well as the Internet. I know that for many of us, Angela's provides a sense of community (as well as feeds our stamping addiction). Personally, I consider it a blessing to have been part of the store since the beginning.
The party at the store was so much fun (as always). So many familiar faces as well as the occasional "first timer." It always amuses me when someone comes to the store for the first time during a big event. I always wonder if the new customers think the parking lot is always full and there is always a lavish food buffet. :)
The card today is one I made for the anniversary celebration. We tried to make a lot of new samples to highlight 3 new companies to the store. The poppies are made by Sparkle and Sprinkle, which is a company that has an eclectic assortment of images ranging from cute to elegant. The saying is from one of my favorite clear sets made by Impression Obsession. I colored the poppies and background using Twinkling H20's. As always when I scan a "metallic" card, the sparkle doesn't show up. Trust me though, it is there! I love the dimension that these paints give to my cards. For anyone interested, I have an upcoming class teaching people how to work with Twinks.
I am including a close up of the poppies to make a point about using watercolors. If you have the time, it is always a good idea to let areas you have colored dry before you watercolor next to them. In this case, the red poppies and blue background were both wet and started to bleed into each other. I was going for speed rather than allowing for drying time, so I didn't get crisp edges between the flowers and the stained glass that I would have liked.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Weekend of art, hon

This was such a busy weekend for me! I was so lucky to have my mom visit so that we could celebrate her 60th birthday together. As always, we had so much we wanted to see and do while we were together. And as always, we had so much fun!
For her birthday, mom wanted to drive up to Baltimore to see a quilt exhibit celebrating the women of Gee's Bend Alabama. The quilts are phenomenal and are even more amazing when you realize that the women were/are able to create such works of art from found scraps and pieces of old clothing. If you are interested in quilting, check out the NPR radio broadcast about the Gee's Bend quilts. Those women are amazing!
To continue our fun "artsy" weekend, we went to a bohemian/kitschy area of Baltimore known as "the Avenue." It is loaded with fun galleries, shops, and diners. We had to have lunch at Cafe Hon and have been saying, "hey, hon" and "how ya doin', hon" ever since. I had to include a picture in today's blog of a sign I saw on one of the stores. It still makes me smile.
Now, back to my crafting.... for today's card, I stamped the vine border (Impression Obsession) on the top and bottom of the page and used scissors to cut around the leaves. For places that were harder to cut, I actually cut a little further out and then used a watercolor pencil to hide the fact that I didn't cut right up to the line. I then used a "kissing technique" to stamp the butterfly. (Sounds kinkier than it is). I inked a solid butterfly with yellow pigment ink and then inked the same vine stamp with green pigment ink. Then I "kissed" the green vine to the yellow butterfly to transfer the green ink to the butterfly. Then I stamped the new patterned butterfly to my card. This is why I love solid stamps so much...you can put any design on them that you want. You could vary this technique a bit by twisting the two stamps slightly when you touch them together so that you get a blurred pattern. Also, instead of using a second stamp, you can place a patterned brass stencil over the solid stamp and sponge color through the holes. Solid stamps are so versatile, hon!