Harper's Bazaar

When I saw the images this week at Digital Two for Tuesday, I thought they would be perfect for a long card. I should have realized when I saved them that images that were designed to be displayed in black and white would be hard to color.

I so completely ruined the background that I had to cut the woman out. Then I kept dumping stuff on this card in hopes it would get better, but it never did. It does look a lot better in person, I must admit. I used Stargazers to color it, and the ribbon is sparkly too, so it has the whole "oooh, shiny!" thing working for it.

I think it will be perfect for the Bunny Zoe vintage challenge.

Juliet Arrighi

Not such a good CASE

CASE - Copy And Steal Everything

I went to a stamping workshop the other day, and I really liked the cards we made. I wondered if I could make ones as nice at home. Here is one we did:

I really liked it, so I thought I would see if I could do an equally manly card with stamps and papers I already own. Here is my attempt:

I'm not very good at copying other people, am I? I just get distracted...

I was having fun with the stamp set, and decided to try another card, a long one, this time.

This uses the TJ Color Collage technique. I just had to have this CTMH stamp set, because my husband and I both used to be air traffic controllers; he still works for the FAA. We like everything aviation-oriented.

Juliet Arrighi

Sanded Core'dinations

I've grown to like Core'dinations cardstock - It has a nice weight and texture, it has a colored core for distress effects, and it doesn't cost any more than regular cardstock. About once a month, Joann has it on sale, five 12x12 sheets for a dollar, and I can buy as much of whatever colors I want in whatever mix I want. I don't have to sand it of course, but it is so fun to see the color pop through!

Juliet Arrighi

Purple wire

I went with a friend to a couple of bead stores in Maryland yesterday, and spent way more than I am willing to admit. However, sitting down yesterday to create something new, I ran across a spool of purple wire I bought before Christmas last year, and felt that it was more important to use that than play with my new toys.

There is nothing really special about it other than the purple wire, and the matching earrings. This is my first time making ear wires, and it wasn't hard. I suppose a lot of people couldn't wear craft wire in their ears, but nothing really bothers mine. It's just another ensemble to wear to my Red Hat functions.

Juliet Arrighi

Fairly Successful

As I promised, here are scans of the items that won ribbons at the county fair, along with their categories.

Necklace - Wire/Metal

The necklace above was made by crocheting wire with beads and the charms I received from last years charm swap.

Necklace - Multistrand

As I was pulling the item out of the bag to scan it, I noticed that one of the judges wrote a lovely note on the back, praising my colors and organic design, but pointing out that it would look more finished if I had capped the ends before I attached the clasp. This is why I enter things in the fair - anyone will say nice things about stuf posted on my blog, but the fair judges will not only let me know truthfully how my work compares with others, but make me a better craftsman. I now wish I had all the other crocheted necklaces I've made back so I could refinish them.

Handmade Book:

Elena taught us how to bind books at The Keys 4 Art retreat I attended this past spring. The cover of the book I made myself with paint and gesso and some collage bits on red rosin paper. The pages are red rosin paper, too. The book is blank inside - I still haven't figured out what I want to put in there. I will say that this book beat out quite a few other books, many of them completely filled, but mine was the only traditional binding.

Stationery set:

I made this at a workshop, so I can't really take any credit for designing it. All products are CTMH.

Necklace and ATC:

The beaded necklace is done in a pattern of my own design. It and the ATC have both been featured on my blog before. Competition was pretty stiff in these categories.

I had three other items entered, in Greeting Card, Bracelet, and Jewelry Set, but I readily concede that there were better items that won. I was a little embarrassed about my card - I thought I had a good one in my stash, but apparently, I mailed away all my best cards. I will know better for next year - either hold back a good one for the fair, or make one especially for the fair.

If you are thinking that you make things that are just as nice or better than mine, why not enter them in your local fair?

Juliet Arrighi

Asian coins

I was shopping at Target yesterday with my sister, and I found a little bracelet in the dollar section. No, I didn't need a little bracelet, but this bracelet had little chinese coins on it, two between each bead. 25 little chinese coins for a dollar, and a handful of beads to boot? How could I pass it up? I would have bought more than one, but my sister slapped my wrist (we have that kind of relationship). Basically, I can only go buy more if I use a lot of these.

So, to start, here is a quick little ATC I whipped up, just to show off one of the coins. It is not my best work, but you can see the merit of the coins - you can't buy them as ephemera anywhere this cheap!

The coin fits the round and metal challenge at the Creative Belli blog; the old, forgotten parts are the embossed background and the orange handmade paper, which have been sitting in the scrap box forever. The yellow, orange, and red are this month's color challenge at Gingersnap Creations.

Juliet Arrighi

Crafting Dreadlocks

My crafting time today has been spent on my youngest son's head:

It was heartbreaking to ruin his beautiful, soft curls like this, but teenagers just have to try new things. It is not a quick, easy process to dread a head of hair. I wonder if they will lock up tighter, or fall out?

Juliet Arrighi

Ego rollercoaster

This morning a phrase jumped out at me from the Washington Post - "Your cat is not as cute as you think." The article was talking about YouTube videos that really aren't worth watching, but being the kind of self-absorbed person that I am, I decided that it was time to do something other than vanity projects with my cat doodle.

I needed to muster some humility anyway, as I was going to the fair, primarily to demonstrate my craft (wire working) in the Home Arts building, but also to see how my entries did in the judging, and to watch the Demolition Derby.

I did much better than I thought! This weekend, I will photograph/scan my winning entries and post them for you, but the short story is that I got three blue ribbons, a red ribbon, and two white ribbons. The competition was stiff, too.

Anyway, while I was demonstrating my wire skills, I made this necklace:

My point in making it was to demonstrate the many techniques I use in wire working, winding and cutting jump rings, hammering for strength and texture, wrapped loops and wrapped beads, and making my own closures. So much for humility!

Juliet Arrighi

Playing with my cat

I tried zentangling outside the cat this time. This was fun; I may have to print out more of these for zentangle cards.

I made some like this for a recycling swap. I decided the cat needed some yarn to play with. Can you guess what the base of this ATC is?

I had some more scraps, so I made a little quilt for my cat to recline upon. The faux stitching qualifies it for the Corrosive Challenge this week.

Finally, I have a color mingle in my inchie group, so I made these in the designated colors of dark green, yellow, and bright blue.

It's more fun playing with an image when it is your very own image!

Juliet Arrighi

A cat of my own

You may recall that I had to draw 30 cats for a drawing assignment; to be honest, I probably did fifty before I had enough. Then I looked at the book and there were some additional assignments. The first was to digitize (scan) our best cat and apply the faux offset printing effect on it.

You have wonder about a book that teaches you how to doodle cats, but assumes that you can already do a faux offset printing effect digitally (is that a PhotoShop thing? Because in PSP, you have to juggle layers to do it).

Anyway, the next thing we were supposed to do with our cat was to use it in our normal art. My normal art is inchies, ATCs, and cards, so I printed out a sheet of cats in three sizes. Here are some inchies:

The shape of this cat makes it very easy to cut out, and since I had relatively thick lines, it reduced very well. The think the plainness of the cat really offsets the backgrounds. Now, to the ATCs:

I thought that this would be a good size to embellish an ATC while allowing a lot of background to show. I just had this painted background lying around, plenty for this ATC and the inchies. This fits the Gingersnap Creations paint challenge. The thing about acrylic paint is that it resists water based media, but you can use alcohol markers and pens on it just fine.

This was a colorblocked background that I made from old scraps of paper. I realized that my largest cat would fit on it fine if I turned it to a landscape orientation.

I like a plain white cat, but it also occured to me that the cat would take well to coloring, paper piecing, and even this:

At this size, the lines are bold enough to hold their own against the zentangling. I was going to leave more white space so that the cat would look like this one that I know in real life, but I got carried away. The cat is in my computer, I guess I can do whatever I want with him.

What a coincidence that the theme at Fun with ATCs is cats!

Would you like to play with my cat? Here is the plain scanned HiRes image:

Just click it to see it full size. If you use it, I would love to see what you make! Share it and I will send some love your way.

Juliet Arrighi

Teddy ATC

This limited time freebie over at Designed2Delight was just my style, so I printed out a whole sheet of them. I chose to print them on cocoa cardstock so that they wouldn't need to be colored, just cut out and applied. In addition to the four that I printed out in a suitable size for cards, I also printed out a dozen for ATCs.

I've used the TJ Level Up technique here, it gives a very simple layout just enough depth to be interesting. I happened to have a bunch of CTMH paper scraps that a demo I know kindly gave to me, and the little balloon brad was a dubious clearance bin buy - dubious because this is the first time I've used it since I bought it years ago. It doesn't matter how cheap something is, it's not a good deal if you never use it. I hope the ATCs that I make will justify the balloon brads - the rest of the ATC is free!

Juliet Arrighi

Drawing Lab - Week 1

I just bought this book that I thought would help me with my drawing -
Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun (Lab Series)
- and the first assignment is to draw 30 cats while lying in bed.

I know, this is only ten of them, but I have a short attention span. I just have to do 10 at a time. I can't draw 30 cats at one sitting.

I do understand the point of the exercise, though. Real artists don't pick up a pencil and create art on their first try. They draw something over and over until they figure out how to make their image look right. Only amateurs think that everything they do is great. Pros know that most of what they do is just practice for the real thing.

Also, lying in bed is supposed to help us be more relaxed. Unfortunately, for me, it isn't relaxing. I don't do anything that involves sitting up in my bed, like reading or writing, because waterbeds aren't designed for that. There are only two things I like to do in bed, and they both start with the letter S. Sketching isn't one of them.

Juliet Arrighi

Ice Crystal mermaids

These two ATCs are from a set I created for the TJ swap. They have the Ice Crystal Technique on them, which may be hard to see, but if you compare how these look to how the inchies look, you will see that the surface is different. By using a wash of an Epsom Salt solution and letting it dry, the surface of the card looks iced over. The white spots you see on the mermaid images are salt deposits. The Epsom salt did not behave on the packing tape the way it did over the acrylic/gesso background. Fortunately, the white spots brush off fairly well.

So, this is my recommendation for the Ice Crystal Technique - use it on a toothy surface, so it will resist flaking, and apply it as a final finish, not on raw cardstock.

Mermaid inchies

I enjoy doing Packing tape transfers, but it always feels like I used stickers. Homemade stickers maybe? I just thought these mermaids were too cute.

The background is an acrylic paint/gesso wash that I made a while back. Whenever I get my paints out for a project, and I have a bunch squeezed out onto my palette that I don't want to waste, I slap it on cut up cardboard boxes so I will have backgrounds handy for future use. This box had breakfast cereal in it, and the cut up squares are a good weight for inchies. These fit the Creative Belli challenge of using paint.

Juliet Arrighi

Gray, Navy and Mustard - yech!

I don't know who came up with the colors for this challenge, but they should be shot. Actually, I've seen the other inchies for this mingle, and they are really very nice, but I think they would have been even nicer in pretty colors.

I hope that whoever gets these can forgive me!

Juliet Arrighi