Monthly Archives: November 2011


Day 6


I'm really enjoying the understated cards. They make me feel all designer-y. I've been wanting to use this little Christmas tree stamp by Studio G (yep, the ones you get in the bargain bin for $1)  for a while, so that's where my inspiration started. With this card, I actually had the whole thing in my head, pretty much as it turned out. When you can get the thing in your head to be real, it's a good sign! I did have some trouble finding paper. My paper collection is like Powell's Books--great if you want to browse a ton of stuff for inspiration, but hopeless if you want something specific. The joke is that I found it in the last place I looked--but in fact it was the last stack I owned! But find it I did.

I cut the paper from DCWV's Stack 6 to 2-1/4" x 4", rounded the top corners, and carefully affixed some holiday washi tape. Wish I could tell you more about the tape, but I bought it last year, and it has long been separated from its packaging.

Next, I stamped my little tree on the same kraft paper as the card base (I actually cut up another card, since I didn't have any kraft paper) and embossed it in white. Painted the stripes with matte paint. I got out my usual tub of gold for the little circle on the top, and after struggling with it for a few seconds, I realized there had to be an easier way than a soak in hot water to get the lid off, then five minutes of mixing for one teeny dot. Eying my supplies I found it--Smooch Accent Inks to the rescue! Just a dab of Sundance did the trick. I set that aside to dry.

Again on the kraft paper, I stamped my sentiment using a darling Memory Box stamp and Colorbox Scarlet pigment ink, and cut it out. I cut little banner ends and edged everything with the ink. I attached the background to the top, but left the sentiment off so it wouldn't be in the way.

Next, I got to use my Stamp-a-ma-jig! I was so excited. I stamped a tree on the right where I wanted my cut-out to go, then I used the Stamp-a-ma-jig to position the other three trees. I didn't want them as intense, so I stamped off twice with that same Colorbox ink.

Next, the sentiment banner and tree were attached with popdots.

Now, if I had my druthers, I would have done faux stitching with a pen. But I do not yet have a pen that is satisfactorily opaque. I know what I'm getting, though, and tomorrow I'll tell you about it if I can find it locally. Anyway, I figured dots would work. I applied them with the tip of a makeup swab, and ended up pretty happy with the results.

Roasted Veggie Pie

Mmm. Pie.


Get In My Belly is my personal recipe book. I also keep notes on restaurants we go to. Well, when I think of it. It's updated infrequently, so I really should remember to copy things over here if I want to share them with everyone. And oh, this was sharable. Perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving entree!

Roasted Veggie Pie

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, sliced
6 large mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 c pesto sauce
1/2 c cream cheese

1/3 sliced olives (about half an 8oz can)
2 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 veggie patties, cooked and diced (I use Morningstar Farms Garden Vegetable)
1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 pie crusts (yep, I just buy 'em)

One egg
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss onion, garlic, pepper, carrot, mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes. When done, mix with cream cheese and pesto while still warm.

Increase oven temp to 450°. Put bottom pie crust in a 9" ungreased glass pie pan. Load with veggie mixture, pressing lightly to make sure it's distributed evenly. Top with tomatoes, olives, veggie patties, and cheese. Cover with top pie crust. Cut four slits in the pie crust. Wisk the egg and water together to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the pie. Bake for 20 minutes.


Day 5

I love how this card turned out. I wanted to do something with my extensive (read: excessive) collection of washi tape. I made some gifts, put puff-paint ribbons on them, and realized they'd have to dry overnight. Putting those aside, I decided a circle behind a sentiment would be nice.

  • I layered a piece of card stock with washi tape, then cut out the circle.
  • All the papers are from the Merry Little Christmas collection by My Mind's Eye. I used two papers for the background, and separated them with some Martha Stewart ribbon.
  • I edged the washi tape circle with red ink, and affixed it with pop dots.
  • I cut a circle out of  patterned paper from the same collection (tip: if you aren't good at matching papers, like me, just use papers from the same collection!), edged it in red, and stamped a sentiment from the Tis The Season stamp set by Fiskars. Been using that one a lot. Attached it to the washi tape circle with pop dots.
  • It needed a little something more, so I added a brad from the Seasons Greetings set from EP.


Before we go all video mad, here a couple links:


Via The Automata/Automaton blog, this remarkable little archer can pick up his own arrows, aim, and shoot.  I learned a new phrase: Karakuri ningyō, Japanese automata. The gentleman in the video is the last living master of this art.

Process video! The artist is Joe Fenton, and he created Lullaby over the course of two months, and filmed the whole gorgeous process. Via Street Anatomy.

Monstrous Wildlife from Frank Robnik on Vimeo.

Remember Tremors? Kevin Bacon? Reba McEntire? Here's a handy educational video about Graboids.

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Day 4

I made another video! I didn't make the whole card on camera, because that's very much a by-guess-and-by-gosh process. I'll try to get better at planning so I can make a whole card vid, because I really enjoy making my little movies. Once I got used to it, Windows Movie Maker is just a blast. I even added music from ccmixter! Which, by the way, is an awesome site. So much good good stuff to listen to, all free.

  • After I made the double-embossed piece, decided it was too big, and I wanted the card to show through, so I cut it down by 1/2".
  • I used my Fiskars shape cutter on a sheet from the beautiful Lost and Found Christmas mini stack by My Mind's Eye. I stamped a sentiment from the Fiskars Tis The Season stamp set, and edged the piece in Vintage Photo Distress Ink.
  • I traced that same Fiskars shape on to a piece of dark green stock, and cut just outside the lines, so I'd have a larger mat. I adhered the mat (pencil marks side down, of course!), then attached the sentiment atop it with foam.
  • I covered a snowflake Bazzill Chip in Pine Needle Distress Stain, then accented it with green glitter glue. I attached the snowflake with foam.
  • I tied some red raffia over the snowflake, decided I didn't like it, and removed it.
  • Then I attached the whole thing to my kraft card base

50 Watts has a lovely collection of illustrations by Virginia Frances Sterrett for Old French Fairy Tales. The artist's tale is tragic, but the enchanting work lingers.

Round and round she goes

Which way is the dancer spinning? Or are you just looking at her breasts? There's a rumor going around that the direction you perceive, and whether or not you can switch, has something to do with which side of your brain is in use. That isn't really true, but the write-up on ScienceBlogs is interesting anyway. Incidentally,  I see her going counter-clockwise, I can reverse if I put in some effort, and I think she has lovely breasts.

In Meghalaya, India, they spend multiple lifetimes tending the roots of fig trees to create living bridges across rivers that rage during monsoon season. I watched this, and was amazed that humans had such foresight, when most of us are notorious for not thinking past our own lives, if that long. Remarkable and beautiful.


Polyclay ornaments

We interrupt your Month of Holiday Cards for a brief tutorial. My friend GG wanted to know how to make easy polymer clay ornaments, so I made a little video. One thing I didn't mention is you may want to use a sealer if you do the Pearl-Ex technique.

SR Partners invited over 30 audio/visual designers to explore the relationship between sound and geometry. The result is Resonance, a whole bunch of entrancing 30-second films.

RESONANCE from Resonance on Vimeo.

Day 3


I was going through my A Card A Day book and saw a paper flower with a felt center. I thought it was adorable, so that's where the idea for today's card began.  Except for the kraft card base, all the paper is from Sierra Pacific's Merry Little Christmas mini stack. I edged everything in Pumice Stone Distress Ink. The ribbon is from Martha Stewart. Now, I love ribbon, but I admit I had never before tried to tie it on to a card. This ribbon is particularly slippery. I used the last of my precious glue dots getting it to stay put. Oh, and the tag. I wanted to do some fancy thing with Distress Ink or Stain, but I was apparently using the wrong paper, and after a couple tries, I went on to something else. Now to find a holiday sentiment stamp...oh, you've got to be kidding. Out of my hundreds of stamps, I don't have a single Christmas sentiment. Okay, handwriting it is. I had to practice that a few times. As in, a few dozen. But it finally came together, and I'm darned happy with it. And yes, the camera battery is charged up again.

And here is something short, cute, and spooky:

Vampire Bash from António Silva on Vimeo.

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November 10

Sorry for the dim picture--I need to recharge my camera battery!

You'll notice a lot of brand names in this post. No, I'm not shilling, but I know when I look at other people's stuff, I want to know exactly what they used. So I thought I should be a bit more specific.

I'm pretty happy with this one. I love DCWV's Winter Magic Stack. There is a sheet in back with all these little motifs, and instead of using the whole sheet, I decided to cut out some of those discrete bits and use them. I edged each of the four with a little Brilliance Moonlight White, then spritzed them with with my new favorite toy, Goosebumps Shimmer Texture Spray. One thing about the Goosebumps--the sprayer is crap. I think I'm going to have to transfer the stuff, as right now it goes everywhere but where I want it.

The red ovals are from DCWV's Shimmer Stack. I did the edging with them as well, but it wasn't right. They called out for chunky glitter. I glued it on then sealed it with some Krylon Low-Odor Gloss Sealer. I think it adds a nifty, vintage feel. Background paper from the Winter Magic Stack again. It was a little too pristine, so it got a cotton-ball brushing with Brilliance Platinum Planet. The card base is a blue from the Shimmer Stack.


I figure November 9 is a good day to start my Month of Holiday Cards, because then I'll be mailing these cards by about December 12. Also, I hadn't finished the stamp I wanted to use until today.

November 9

For this first card, I wanted to try this debossing technique I just found. I used Distress Inks for the background, and instead of Perfect Pearl Mist, I used Glimmer Mist in Sea Glass. You can see  a little of my text stamp, but the scale wasn't great. Here's a closeup of one of the snowflakes, so you can really see the Crackle Paint effect:

Nov 9 detail

The snowflakes and border are Martha Stewart. She hit it out of the park this year with her embellishments, and I'll be using a lot of them. I love the colors and patterns. Finally, on top, there is Angus Owl, in hand-carved stamp form. I colored him with Copics. I used a new product on him, Goosebumps shimmer texture spray. It looks kind of like I embossed him all over. Here's a closeup:

If I could change one thing about this card, I would distress everything to match the background better. I haven't made a lot of cards, so this is a learning process.

Here are some interesting things I've seen over the last few days:

  • Booooooom brings us Wonder Object, fascinating interactive metal sculpture by Gary Schott. I love the Eskimo Kisser. Shouldn't that be Inuit Kisser?
  • Art of Darkness introduced me to a creepy thing I did not know about, and I love it. Number Stations. Mysterious radio stations that often just broadcast series of numbers. Crackling, distant, in foreign languages, sending their mysterious signals for decades. If anyone knows why, they're not talking. I love a mystery.
  • Craft Test Dummies teaches us how to make our own washi tape (Japanese tissue tape, to which I am hopelessly addicted) with wrapping paper and a Xyron machine. Beautiful!
  • Brought to you by the fine folks of Countdown to Halloween comes 13 Days of Creepmas, encouraging all you boys and girls to add a little creepy to the holiday season. I, sadly, will not be participating, as my Christmas projects are pretty non-creepy this year.
  • And now, we drone. Kalapmantra is a free 72-track download of dark drone. It's wonderfully atmospheric, and I'm enjoying it very much.

Light calligraphy by Kalaam

Design Boom brings us light painting taken a step further in the artistry of Kalaam. I have always admired Arabic calligraphy. Calligraphy seems too unassuming a word for such elevated artistry. Kalaam's alphabet is Anglo, but it is heavily steeped in Arabic tradition. The photos are not altered or retouched. Kalaam drills the movements for the painting over and over before finally committing them to film. I love how the paintings work with the environment. The photographs would be lovely even without the painting. It is a magical melding.

Via Mein Welt comes something that I'm sure has existed on the web before, but I never looked for it. Will Kemp explains basic concepts clearly in his online Art School. I really want to take time to sift through all this--it looks great. And because you know I love a process video:

I think I still have those shoes.

I haven't had decent stats on this site in years. I had logfiles, but I never checked them until recently, only to discover that they're gone. *shrugs* I have lifetime hosting from a guy who I'm not sure even runs a hosting business anymore, so I can't complain. So I installed a little sitemeter thingie since I got interested again, and I've been finding the oddest referrals. Like one from a eight-year-old Metatalk thread. My link is at the very end. I followed it, of course, but got a 404, as it's from my old MT archives. Turns out what it should point to is this. What a blast from the past! That guy in the middle in the white t-shirt is JD Roth before he became all webfamous.


It's hard to believe, I'm in heaven.

So I was all ready to finish my carve tonight, but for some reason my wrist is acting up.  Stupid wrist, be less hurtier. Still, this morning I had a special crafty treat of another variety.

I buy most of my felting wool off Etsy. Sometimes I'll find a lovely batch in an out-of-the-way shop I'll never visit again. I finally decided it was time to find a local source. Altportland had a nice list, and I decided Gossamer would be my first visit. I'm not sure I need to visit anyplace else, ever. Wow. I've never seen so much roving in one place. In the pic, there's more wool to the right, and more felt to the left. That little pile on the table is the stuff I came home with. Ultra soft, ultra white merino top for Christmas tree owls, colors and high-quality felt for some other projects. So excited!

Stupid wrist.



Still working on my Christmas carve, so you get a couple other things today.

  • House is a spooky little game that's nicely creepy. Yes, there are jumpscares. Not much thinking to do, just keep clicking whatever is clickable.
  • Bongcheon-Dong Ghost made it to my Google+ feed, but it's worth repeating here. Scroll down.

I do not like ants in my home, or cockroaches anywhere. Other than that, I like critters. I subscribe to an awesome tumblr called Insects, where I got this gem:

Isn't he beautiful? I love how he looks like a rustling leaf when he walks.


I still have some stragglers from Halloween that I may finish and post. There's a felted ghost box looking forlorn on my craft table. There's a haunted cathedral in my head that goes with the house and the gravestones. Hmm, perhaps today is a good day to organize my idea book? If I do, I'll post.

Every year I design the Christmas tree, and I have a lot of fun with it. I bought some material I'd intended to use for Halloween--a black mesh with shimmery iridescent silver threads. I decided that instead, it would be the start of my Christmas inspiration. From there, I had an idea: fairyland. Felted bulbs and leaves in purples and greens with bright accents, little polyclay creatures peeking out. Sunday, the Spousal Unit and I went mall wandering, peeking in the stores that already had Christmas up, looking for ideas. I snapped several pictures. Found the lights I wanted, only to discover they were $30 a string! Yikes! I think I'll look for a less expensive alternative. And then, at Macy's, I found this:

Angus Owl

Not only is he lovely, he was on sale! In the background is a little of my inspiration fabric. I hadn't planned on buying anything, but Angus (he acquired a name on the way home) had to be mine. He's just big enough to be a tree topper. So this year, it's that cool fabric, fairyland, and snowy owls. I'm getting ready to carve a snowy owl stamp, which brings me to another Christmas subject:

Cards! Man, I suck at cards. Every year I want to make cards and send them. Sadly, I'm lucky if I manage to even send a few store-boughts. So, today is for thinking, making lists and plans, and maybe carving a little. Tomorrow begins a month of cards. Should I do it all official, like A Month of Spookdays? I haven't decided yet. All I know is, one card a day, made, packaged, and addressed, to be sent at the beginning of December. I can do it! Or at least half of it! Or maybe a few of it! It's possible I may need the moral support of my fans. All six of you.