Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inspirational Women Books

There done there done there done! I can't believe it took me 2 months to finish these. Thank you for your patience ladies.

Back in May I hosted the Circle of Friends swap. I selected the theme "Inspirational Women" and asked the participants to create a 4x6 page that I could bind into a book. The pages are wonderful!

For the books I marbled paper...yep the old fashioned way none of that shaving cream imitation marbling. Researched a ton of different ways to "hand bind" books and ended up using a combination of tips from Brian Sawyer and a kit from Quietfire Designs

I would not say that I have mastered bookbinding at all...after 7 books I still have a lot of room for improvement. I hope the members are okay with these.
The metal bits and pieces are all from Alpha Stamps. I created the title by printing it on the computer and then dusting the paper with coordinating inks. To seal it I covered it with diamond glaze.

I learned a lot from making these and I plan to continue making books...I'm thinking next up an ABC ATC book.

Here is a close up of two of the pages with the book open.
Now off to drop these in the mail...they have been in my house for way to long and I know are anxious to find their new homes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wind by Krissi Dallas


One fateful summer night …when one rule is broken … five teenagers will discover an unexpected adventure full of magic, romance, and true friendship.

Seventeen-year-old Whitnee has spent six years rebuilding her identity after her father’s mysterious disappearance left her with more questions than answers. With her two best friends, she returns as an employee to the summer camp of her childhood. Nestled in the Texan hill country, Camp Fusion is everything Whitnee remembers … except for the haunting visions that only she can see. One fateful night, Whitnee and her friends embark on a magical journey where unexpected adventure and heart-stopping romance collide - a journey that might unlock the dark, complicated mysteries of Whitnee’s family history. But will she find the answers she is looking for before it is too late?

My Thoughts:

This is Krissi Dallas' debut novel and unfortunately if she doesn't get her act together it may be her last. Except she self published so there will be more.

First let me start with the good. She is very imaginative. In a world that seems to be caught up in Vampires, Fairy's and teen pregnancy books this one stands out. The story is a fresh idea and what she has laid out could end up being as magical as the world of Harry Potter.

However the bad may outweigh all of that. Long winded, overly descriptive, grammatical errors (and if I know there are grammar errors then she is in big trouble!) and it took way to long to get to the "hook" of the book.

The first 100 pages she spends trying to establish relationships, explaining pasts etc...but the heart of the story doesn't start until around page 100 and then you have 200 pages that kinda drag. When I got to the last 100 pages (yep 400 pages of this) I was finally able to overlook the poor writing and really get into the story, in other words she paced the end well.

When the characters return to their "home" the book is depressing and once again excruciatingly slow. In my opinion she could have shortened this section significantly or eliminated it all together since she has 3 more novels planned. Working the last 50 pages into her next novel would have left me wanting to read it more.

Right now I am done with this series. However like I said she does have a good idea and If I ever hear that she has improved her writing I may attempt the next one. But it took me 3 weeks to trudge through this, I could only read 5 pages at a time before getting angry with all the mistakes and how I felt "written down" to.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Hunger Games Trilogy (part 1 & 2)

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.

My Thoughts:
Wow! This book hooked me with the first line. It took every effort for me not to skim ahead, I was constantly dying to know what was coming or how the characters were going to get out of the situations they found themselves in.

I experienced a full range of emotion while reading. Dread, sorrow, doom, elation, wonder...I could go on and on Collins' has a firm grip on delivering high tension to her readers. This was better written, more imaginative, more gripping and just more of everything and anything than any other YA I have read (and yes, I have read H.P and Twilight).

The minute I finished this book I drove to the bookstore and waited till it opened to get the sequel.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

My Thoughts:
Another gripping roller coaster ride of a book. A great, no let down follow to The Hunger Games. I was not sure which direction Collins' would go. I did not even read the jacket cover when I carefully selected my copy from the bookstore, know it would be a keeper for me.

Collins' spends a lot of time developing her characters in this book, really getting you attached to them. Not that you weren't attached to them (some) in the first book. But when I finished this book (very reluctantly since the final instalment does not come out until the end of next month) I felt like I knew the characters a lot better and selected which "team" I am on.

I recommended this series to a friend of mine who has a daughter that is either going into 8th grade or 9th. To me this series is a lot "healthier" than the twilight series. Katniss is a strong do things for myself don't need a guy kind of girl. With the surge in teen romances where the female character is all gaga over the boy, this is truly refreshing and I think something that young girls need to be aware of. You can do things all by yourself!

However, my friend viewed the premise of children fighting to the death as "sick" and will not let her daughter read this series (at least not yet). This really surprised me. But upon further evaluation I think I can see her point, kind of. I have always been able to separate fiction from reality and the game portion of this book is fiction, not the real lesson, just what cushions it.

My children are not anywhere near the age that they can read this book, since neither of them can read. But I have thought long and hard at how I would approach this, if my children wanted to read it. First, I would evaluate my children, can they differentiate between fiction and reality. If I thought they would have any trouble with it I would probably turn it into a family affair, reading a chapter a night so I could see their reactions, answer any questions and make sure they understood that it is not real. To me a child that wants to read is priceless (I hated reading, didn't start until I graduated from College) and I hope that my children find the joy and value in reading young. And I think this is a series that will teach strong moral values to a young woman along with the importance of fighting for what you think is right, even if it is not popular.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Envelope Art

This week at One Powerful Hour the theme is...

Envelope Art

Use any size or style of envelope, you could even fold your own and decorate it. It could be just a simple stamp or a complete piece of art. Any theme is fair game as long as you use an envelope.

A few weeks ago I sent some thank you letters/cards off to some very special ladies. When I finished making the cards (which for me were very simple) I decided they needed a pretty envelope to announce their arrival.

Reaching for my trusty stand by's I ripped up some book pages and attached them to the envelope using a Gesso wash. When that dried I added some shimmer by sponging on some pink toned sparkeling H2O's.

Next I added the harlequin stamp all around the edge. This has become my new favorite addition to my pieces.

The collage image is from a Barbie Calender, I cut her out and attached her with a gel medium on top and under her, so she would not get snagged in the mail.

To finish off this envelope I added some touches of silver embossing powder. The swirls are not as clean as I would have liked them but I hand drew them and the surface of the envelope was not the smoothest. I also edged the envelope with the embossing powder.

On the back I attached a coordinating decorative paper to the flap and added silver embossing powder where the diamonds met.

I hope these envelopes made a splash in my friends mailboxes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Knock Knock

This project is killing two birds with one stone. It is for a swap and it is my One Powerful Hour entry this week. One Powerful Hour challenged it's participants to "be inspired" by the design team. I took inspiration from two of the team members and worked it into my swap piece.

Gillian a member of one of the swapping groups I am a part of had some wonderful metal houses that she put up for a swap. I am so glad that I took part in this swap because I absolutely love the metal house, hopefully I can find some more.

She left the theme open, all we had to do was use the house that she sent us.

I have never worked with anything like this before and when I took it out of the package some of the paint (I guess that is what was on it) was flaking off. I pealed a lot of it off and then put a coat of white gesso on the entire thing thinking that this would help hold anything that I stuck onto the house.

After the Gesso dried I added Tim Holtz crackle paint to the top part of the house and then dabbed the entire thing with various shades of Tim Holtz alcohol inks. I love how the alcohol ink seeped into the cracks it really gave it an 'old' feel in my opinion. The Tim Holtz bits were inspired by Nancy at NJP Originals she loves all things Tim Holtz.

Next I added the paper bit which I filled in the swirls with gold ink...I got this idea from Amy at Paper and Gluestix she likes to doodle on her pieces and while I wish my doodling was a little bit more free form I thought it would count for inspiration.

To be honest I had no idea what I was going to do with this house so I flipped through my binder of Collage Images and came upon this owl from a Paula's kit Club. Another thing Amy does on may of her pieces of art is put fun sayings some doddled others clipped and outlined. I came up with my own saying attached it and outlined it in the same gold that I used to accent the swirls.

Lastly I added the door which is stamped using brown ink on transparency.

I really like how my house turned out and hope that my swap partner likes it as much as I do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blogmania Give Away

A while ago a friend of mine started a new blog. She is a reader so that is what her blog focuses on.

Anyway there is this huge Blogmania thing that all the reading/reviewing blogs do and it involves getting sponsors to give stuff away so of course I told her I would help out.

She loves cats and calls herself the Crazy Cat Lady so she wanted the "give away" items for her blog to be cat themed.

I have been wanting to do a canvas for some time now so I thought what better time to try it out than now. Well, turns out this one was a bit trickier than I thought.

For starters I wanted a book print background (to go along with the reading theme) but when I adhered the book print the paint I wanted to put on top of it wouldn't go on so I had to try a different kind. Turns out there are very few glues that will allow you to paint over them smoothly. I think there are 3 layers of book print on this canvas before the one that you can kind of see.

Next I hand drew the cat based on a stamp that I have. I am not sure I got him/her quite the right size for the canvas...maybe I should have attached whiskers on the outside of the canvas and made the cat face bigger...oh well...maybe next time.

The background paint is shimmery it is a blue green with a goldish hue. The cat I painted bronze. I wish that the blue green paint had a bronze hue instead of gold. In my opinion they clash a bit. So that is strike two for this one.

I thought about adding gold embossing powder to the lines of the cat to give it a "golder" look and to add something 3D. I don't think that I have ever done anything flat before. But a friend thought that was a "horrible" idea and "way to much work" so I listened and called it quits here.

Over all I am not very pleased but I think I am going to get a chance to redo or rework this piece as my friend has unfortunately had to drop out of the Blogmania.

Let me know what you think...I am open to any and all criticism as I know this one is "off".

Janice's Secret Garden

Another fabulously fun Circle of Friends Journal.

This time it was a bit different...well a lot different. Janice wanted us to fill in her "Secret Garden". She mailed it out with the background, green floor paint, line drawn tree and blue bird and everything else has been added so far.

Truth be told when I received this wonderful journal I had no idea what I was going to do. Of course I really wanted to add a gate over the top but that would mean no one else could work on the garden easily and there are still 3 more members to add to this.

I was also scrunched for time having just returned from vacation and have to have this back in the mail no later than Wednesday. So I opened my trusty "stuff" drawer and started pulling things out.

The first thing I pulled out were some lovely tile samples that my sister painstakingly removed from a sampler she had and saved for me. She told me they were impossible to break up and the idea I had required they be broken. Down to the garage hammer in hand I went determined to smack the living daylights out of these things. Well, I shattered the first one to a million pieces, who knew I was so strong. After adjusting my smack down I broke up a few more. Turning the broken bits into a small pond that I outlined in sand.

The mushrooms are from a Paula's Kit Club. When I got them I had no idea what I was going to do with them but they were perfect for this project. I considered adding a flower with a plastic frog, like a frog on a lily pad but I didn't like the flower I had that much. Maybe someone else will add something along those lines.

The cats are a colored German scrap from the most recent Paula's Kit Club. When I glued them on I didn't get them pushed down as low as I would have liked. I wanted the tiles to cover the bottom but the glue caught and I couldn't do anything about it. I thought about painting out the water and grass but worried it would look worse, it is almost impossible to match paint.

The member before me had added a Garden Fairy and I decided to turn her into a Queen of the Garden Fairy's and made her a flower crown.

I have to admit this addition made me very very nervous. If i messed up I would ruin Cheryl's contribution and that would have crushed me. I almost didn't do it. But now that I have I am glad I did, I really think it makes her stand out.

I took two different flowers and cut them apart attaching the petals one at a time randomly around the top portion of the face. When the flowers were done and dry I needed to cover the stem ends. I found this bit of pink German scrap and cut it in half affixed it and added a gem to hide where there had been a hole.

My last addition is the white washed fence. I wanted to put flowers behind it or a bird perched on it but once again I was worried that I was doing to much and not leaving enough space for others to work so maybe they will do something else to the fence.

Once I got started millions of ideas came flooding and I just wanted to keep adding and adding. One of my other ideas was to affix real branches to the tree sticking out 3D style so that someone could add to that, put a nest in it.

I also thought clouds would be a nice addition, maybe cotton balls all pulled apart. The only problem with that one is that you don't want to cover up the sun.

And as I stated further up I really wanted to add a gate/fence to the very front of the box with a latch and all.

I hope that the women after me are not influenced by these ideas and have as much fun with this as I did.

Lastly Janice wanted us to Collage our names around the outside of the box. I have a long name so I decided to just put my normal emblem. Stamped it on transparency and using the same flowers as I did on the Fairy's crown I affixed it all to the outside taking up very little space so everyone else can fit their names now.

I still have to add what I did to the back of the box but I am calling this one done and a success. I hope Janice shares pictures of it when it is com pleated.

Here it is with all of my additions.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Themed ATC's

This is the second part of a seasonal ATC swap that I am hosting for Alpha Stamps. These are my Summer themed ATC's. If you are not a member of the Alpha Stamps Yahoo Group you should be...and there are still two more fabulous season swaps that you can take part in. Not to mention the tons of other totally rockin' swaps!

Sun, Surf and Sand:
This ATC gave me a headache...I could see what I wanted clearly in my mind but no matter what I couldn't get it to look right on paper.

The background are pages torn from a "beach read" in other words I destroyed the book with sand and saltwater when I took it with me the last time to the beach. Some fluffy romance that was perfect for loosing my mind. I washed it with a gesso mixture.

I stamped the woman on transparency and colored her in with Tim Holtz alcohol inks. The sun was embossed on cardstock and cut out. I filled the "inside" with glitter and covered it with a page marble.

The blue trim at the top is half of the wave sticker on the bottom which I enhanced with glitter. To finish this ATC off I added the words and a bit of sand.

Sitting with the Sea Shells:

This one just came together like magic...I had no vision I was just playing.

The background is french script stamped in brown ink on green paper with an acrylic wash over it.

Next I cut out the image and positioned her. The boarder is texture paste that I covered with sand and smashed shells.

For the sea shells I used the same acrylic wash as the background (they were too bright originally) cut them apart (they come as a boarder sticker) and placed them as shown.

On the Boardwalk:

I think this one is my favorite. It is also the first one I made.

The boardwalk is made of flat crafting sticks stained with walnut ink. Next I cut out the "on the boardwalk" phrase, staining the edges with brown ink and placing the words behind Tim Holtz filmstrip.

Lastly I affixed the woman image and the star fish.

Exotic Fish Scales:

This was a just because one. Normally I like to have a lot more stamping or more layers but I had done a project recently that I used these sequins for and I just loved them.

I surrounded the image with the sequins. Stamped the fish image on transparency and affixed some sequins on fishing wire behind the image. I wanted them to look like exotic fish scales.

Hiding Behind the Coral:

This is the second ATC that I put together. I also had this one all planned out and it did not come together until after I got a friends help. Sometimes we just have to be shown a different rode.

I cut out the images placed them and then painstakingly cut out the coral. The Coral is covered with distress diamond glaze so it is crackely which is really cool. Lastly I added the sand and the gold German scrap.


This was the last ATC I put together. I was dying to use the sea floor stamp, I tried to use it in Sun, Surf and Sand but that didn't work.

I affixed the entire image onto a vintage toned cardstock and direct to paper stamped the sea floor.

To finish it off I added all the sea shells. They are from a sticker boarder that I cut apart. On the back of the hanging sea shells I have stamped the word "Lounge"

I can't wait to swap these out...some of the other participants ATC's have already started to trickle in and I've uploaded a few. You can view them HERE

All stamps, collage images and stickers can be purchased from Alpha Stamps.