Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Etched Copper...Personalized

I worked on a project last week, and am kicking myself 
that I didn't take more photos of each of the steps.  
But I enjoyed it so much, that I plan on doing more 
projects very soon, and will snap more pics of the process.

Our GodDaughter was confirmed this past Sunday, and I wanted to give her something
that had to do with her faith journey, and also something personalized just for her.
I toyed with making a piece of jewelry, but wanted to steer away from that 
because I've done that with past gifts for her.

I called her mom and asked what her "Confirmation Verse" was ~ each Confirmand chose a verse from Scripture that was meaningful to them.  So, the phrase I used in the project was the first part of that verse.  I decided to make an etched copper cross, and played around with some lettering:

Then (in the steps I failed to photograph), I cut a cross out of copper, filed the edges,
and drew the design directly on the copper with a black fine-point Sharpie.  
The Sharpie ink acts as a resist when the piece is put into the etching acid.

(Side note ~ with the bankruptcy of RadioShack, many of their stores ~~not all~~ are closing and liquidating their inventory.  I got a bottle of etching acid for  $1.40!  Everything was 90% off....they only had one bottle left, or I definitely would have stocked up on those $14 bottles.  So, be on the lookout for closing stores.)

Next, I needed to add a patina to darken my etched metal.  But all I had was some Novacan Black, 
which really only works well on silver soldered stuff.  Since it did very little to darken my copper, I resorted to just using a black Sharpie since I was in a time crunch (what else is new...).

Not ideal for permanency, but it worked okay.
Then I used 0000 steel wool to polish off the raised layer, to bring up all the etched detail.

My plan was to add the cross to a journal, so I bought a plain black Moleskin and tried it out:
 ...but it just looked kind of blah, flat, and maybe too much like a Bible.  
Plus, that elastic band was bugging me.

Then I came upon this gorgeous little journal!  It looks like a treasured antique, 
and has a neat little clasp on the side ~

I just love how it turned out, like a relic from the past, and hopefully our GodDaughter loves it, too!

We were on our way to church that day for the Confirmation service, 
and snapped a quick family pic in the backyard.
So glad my girl is home from college for the summer!

etched copper
on the horizon for me.  I love the process.  It's really pretty easy, with great results.
And perfect for a personalized gift!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Life is a Circus!

Another monthly swap over at artJoystuff . . . 
this time with the theme  

I used a colorful image of a robed elephant 
and added jewels and glitter for more sparkle
(alas, I wish the image hadn't included the prod-wielding trainer. Our local zoo is under scrutiny for past overzealous prod misuse, and it makes me furious and disgusted! 
And, truth be told, animals in circuses, caged & hauled around in trucks,  bother me quite a bit, too--
but the imagery is sure great...).
The elephant and the circus label are both raised up to be 3-d.

Always on the lookout for apropos clipart to add my info on the backside,
I found this goofy booted elephant to keep with the theme:

and tucked each card in a bright envelope, adding a little tag I made from a darling old photo:

I had some extra bits left over and made a specially labeled envelope for Kim:

And look what came in the mail today!! ~ 

Okay, I MUST go to the Post Office and get these fantastic circus postage stamps!!!  I hadn't seen them before and they are so wonderful!  I will even brave the long line, the horrible service, and the very unfriendly staff at my nearby station ....or maybe try to order them online?!?
Yes, that's a much better idea as I believe these may have been issued a while ago. 
But I digress........

Inside the package I found these delightful ATCs, each colorful and clever...

left to right, by Marlene, by Kim, and by Sherry (complete with dancing rhino!) ~ Thanks, Ladies!!

...along with a happy little vintage clown that Kim included with the swap:

Circus Fun!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Easy-Peasy Handmade Cards

I have 2 friends retiring from long careers in teaching, 
and wanted to make them each a card, but had very little time to do so.  

 Graphics Fairy to the rescue!  What would we all do without that amazing, generous site??
Someone else was clever enough to come up with that cute phrase, so I just borrowed it and printed the image in simple black and white on matte photo paper.  A little pink Prismacolor pencil gives her cheeks some color.  Kim had sent a bunch of paper cut-out flowers a while back, and I added smaller flowers I punched from some aqua foil paper I had in my stash.  Light aqua stick-on pearls from the $1 bins at Michaels (all that stuff tempts me so!!) add a little pizzazz, along with folding the petals upward for dimension.  Kraft paper card stock frames everything and is a nice contrast to the white and aqua.

How easy was that?!

I much prefer giving handmade cards instead of store-bought.  So much more economical, plus I just really enjoy making and personalizing them.

I decorated the envelopes with another flower and pearl, plus some white gel pen lettering and flourishes.  I love using white pens or pencils on brown kraft paper....I think it looks so snappy!
(Remember my little Etsy gift boxes from a long-ago post??):

White pencil on the left, white gel pen on the right.  The white adds so much extra 'oomph' to the brown paper.

Here's the other decorated envelope (the card was identical):

Easy Peasy!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

French General....c'est si bon!

Another artJOYstuff swap to share... 
this time the theme was "French General", 
drawing inspiration from designer Kaari Meng and her wonderful line 
of fabrics, embellishments and paper goods.

I had to start my ATCs from scratch, however, since I didn't have any actual products from her line to use.  Instead, I pulled together images and elements that emulated her 'look':
red damask prints, vintage-looking red labels and trims, and French icons.
My design is all lined up and neat & tidy,
which to me, is again part of the French General 'look'.

Remember the prototypes for my new bag designs I showed in this post? Well, the French grain sack design was really a perfect match for this theme.  I took that large image and shrunk it down to make this miniature pocket to hold the ATC:

I used my serger on the edges and they turned out pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself!

I used little lifts and levels to give each card a bit more dimension:

and tried to make the back pretty, too:

I got three lovely ATCs swapped in return, and our host Kimberly sent pretty French General papers in a little pennant/bunting kit to each of us~

I love everything in that French General line, especially the old graphics and the wonderful way all of it is presented and packaged.  Right up my alley!

c'est si bon!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wedding Card Revisited

My darling niece just got married and I wanted to make a personalized wedding card for her.

Hmmm, how to start?

Well, I had already designed this one, below,  for a "White Wedding" swap a year ago, 
and was pleased with how it turned out.  I simply used the same basic layout for the new card 
(glad I saved a photo of the original before I swapped it!).

It went together lickety-split, since I already had the general template and technique figured out.
My flower stash was different this time around, so those got a new arrangement  ~  and of course, the photo of the new happy couple was used in the little frame.

It was so nice having a quick and easy project for a change!

Friday, March 27, 2015

What I've been working on...

My latest ATCs 
for artJOYstuff's March swap, "Fairy Garden"...

Twigs, moss and little flowers (and glitter, of course!)
added to the sweetest image of a baby fairy... 

I found this darling image in my clip art books 
to scan and use for signing the back...

My regular work has kept me busy.  
I've been doing more surface designs for tote bags, and
working ahead for the next holiday season.  
Here's a peek at a new chalkboard-style Christmas bag:

Sorry about all the copyright watermarks, but when these get reposted on Pinterest or elsewhere, I can't risk having them copied and printed by others.
Here's a peek at another chalkboard-style design for Halloween:

And a 'retro' Holiday design:

I have to re-paint the central figure on this one.  Her hands and packages look very weird.
And, finally, one more generic design for next Fall:

As usual, the buyer "loved" (I quote, skeptically) these, 
BUT the purchase orders still haven't been signed for these to go ahead and be printed. 
So I am on pins and needles hoping the orders go through.  
Not fun to put in hours and hours of work, on spec, with no guarantee 
that I'll see actual income from these.  
Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Parisian Beauty Swap

The sweet "Parisian Beauty"swap mentioned in my last post brought me three delightful ATCs from other swappers.  And I received a 'party favor' as well, from swap host Kimberly!

 Kimberly sent along these very pretty earrings. I love them!  And they were so cleverly presented, strung on the tiny mannequin tag, mounted to vintage French text. I will feel tres chic when wearing them!

Three variations on the theme, from three talented crafters:
Left, from Kimberly, artJoystuff.   Middle, from Susanne Talbot (no blog).   Right, from Sherry, Creatology

Notice the paper I used in the background of these photos?  It is the beautiful handmade creation of Kathy from KathyInOzarks . I won several pieces of it in the Grow Your Blog drawing that she had recently. I can't wait to use it in a special project.  I love all the texture. Thanks again, Kathy.