Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Custom Frenzy

Challenge is good.  I've been a little ambivalent about some changes happening at work.  Half of my job is going to be removed from me over the next five years - the half that I fought for and wrote the job description for.  I'm going to regress back to what I was doing before.  I'm also going to have to re-prove my skills for my old function now that I'm returning to it full-time.  On the other hand, the opportunities and the ceiling for me at work just sky-rocketted a whole lot higher.

So, while I see the next 5 years are a setback for me, it's a temporary set back.  It has made me realize that, new growth is found through challenge.  I fear change.  I accept that life is about change - from year to year, from day to day, from moment to moment even.  I face it, but I'm allowed to still fear it.  So long as I face it.  If you don't, you go the way of the dinosaur.

Which brings me to my first custom order: a die cut dinosaur.

So, I've gotten a frenzy of custom orders this month.  It's a challenge for sure.  These orders make me smile and fret at the same time.  The day job comes first and it has its own host of challenges right now (and for the next foreseeable five years).  With that going on, will I be able to get enough supplies in for these custom orders?  Will I meet the deadlines?  Will I even be able to create what is desired?

Well, I had to say no to a couple designs.  I knew I didn't have the talent to make them.  If I can't draw it, I can't break it down to basic shapes and, therefore, can't reproduce it on my computer.  Lucky for me, the customer gave me choices.  As soon as I saw the choices - one stood out.  An image immediately came to my mind and I sketched it down:

At first, I planned to cut the dinosaur body separate from the spikes because the body is one colour and the spikes are another. Then, I realized I could cut the dinosaur FULL in silhouette - body, spikes and all.  I could then cut the body without the spikes and just layer it on top of the full silhouette.  The spikes will stick out and be placed perfectly every time.  I won't have to place each spike by hand.  (Nor will I have to place that itty bitty eyeball.  It can be the same colour as the spikes if I just cut it as a window through the body layer.)

Here's what it looks like on my computer screen.

And here is is all finished as a Christmas ornament.  The names are too small to make with die cut letters.  I put a gel pen in my machine and drew them.  Then I just coloured them in.

I like that this ornament doesn't have to be an ornament.  It can be a door hanger!  One day, I will have time to make some plain ones, but not until my other custom orders are happily on their way.  I'll tell you about the others later!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's a keeper!

I made my first match box treasure box a little while back.  I've been meaning to make more ever since and have also been thinking about artist collaboration but I have only brainstormed and not much more than that.  Yes, it takes me a LOOOOONG time to execute an idea.  But, as I said, I've been wanting to make room for a new machine and that means cranking out old project ideas.

This is my baby boy keepsake box.  I upgraded the box pulls from my awkward button knobs on my first box to ribbon pulls.  I think this is much better!

I found a little poem on a quote site and used it for the outside of the box.  I completed it to suit my box with the inside poem.

(Click to Enlarge)

I'm happy with how it turned out.  My brainstorming is leading me towards smaller themed boxes.  At my pace, I'm sure I'll get to it in a year or two!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Little Quilled Angels

I snagged a big table for my paper studio from my favourite local scrapbook store's closing sale.  I bought it to hold the big honkin' machine I've been drooling over for nearly a year.  However, to make room for it, I had to move one of my microwave carts out.  Until I can buy the wall unit I want, I can't abandon the cart, so it's in the hallway.

Plus, my new table is just littered with unfinished projects.  I tried to tell myself that if I finished these projects, then I could buy my machine.  No toys if I don't sit myself down to use them!

Some of my unfinished bits are these quilling strips I cut from cardstock.  I think I'm going to try real quilling strips on my next round of goods to buy.  However, I had cut these for a class, so they were all the right size to make little paper quilled angels.

When I was pulling out some Christmas paper to donate to Creating for a Cure (which I talked about a couple weeks ago), I realized just how much Holiday paper I have.  Put two and two together, and I have some more paper quilled angels!

I love the colours in this paper combo (from Die Cuts with a View). It reminds me of snowflakes on a calm day.  When the wind is still, that is when winter is beautiful.

It's a small start, but it's a start!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are you a Beanie or a Bonnet?

This weekend, my workshop gals and I are making beanie hat gift card holders!  We are using the tutorial posted by Carolina Buchting on Splitcoast Stampers.  I provide guidance and pre-cut materials and workshop fee covers materials and a donation to the Southern Ontario Animal Rescue.

Our kits use this teal-green, white polka-dotted paper.  Depending how you dress the brim, you can make it a birthday bonnet or a boyish beanie!  I was so impressed with how easy it was to put together.  I had to alter the instructions a little because I don't have a handheld Crop-a-Dile.  I have the Crop-A-Dile II Big Bite, so I could not easily slip it between the layers to punch my hole and set my eyelet.

I like my revised way better anyway.  It's easier to work with flat pieces.  The other revision I made was to round the corners of the brim at the top.  I think it makes it look more like the brim is going around the hat instead of the sharp edges in the original samples.

I made whole bunch of these, they were so easy (and fun!)

On some I used buttons and a straight-bottomed brim.  I think that style lends itself better towards males.  I also created a Naked Baby Beanie!  Now, before you all report me to the authorities, the "naked" applies to the BEANIE.  These beanies aren't dressed in any patterned paper.  I simply embossed the cardstock, added ribbon and didn't even dress up the eyelet hinge.

I used a Stampin' Up! punch for the brim lace on them.  On the others, I used decorative scalloped scissors.  Any border punch or border die would work though!

This one is my best attempt at a male winter hat.  The reveal is in the next photo.  The gift card sits under the cap!  The cap is hinged and tucks behind the brim.  Open it up and reveal your gift card!  (It would work as a money holder too.)

Of course, I had to make some that were holiday themed

I think it's going to be a VERY fast class but oh so fun!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Holidays Are IN!

Now that October is gone, it is time to turn my brain on to the idea of Christmas.  Yes!  I feel the holiday spirit weaving its way in to my thoughts.

On Saturday, I went to the "Made by Hand" show at the International Centre in Mississauga.  I think it was the first ever.  It featured only local Ontario artists.  I saw many shops that I recognized from iCraft and Etsy.  Among them, I met:
  • Ahkriti, a jewellery maker on iCraft - a hardworking, inspiring lady with a great eye for colours
  • Thunderpeep, a digital artist selling stationery and other papercraft both on iCraft and Etsy, an artist with fabulously crisp and out-of-the-box designs
  • Sewlutionsbyamo, a handmade leather accessories shop on Etsy (including wallets and cuffs), one I have long looked at on Etsy for seamlessly practical AND fashionable items
I went to the show originally just to check it out.  It was larger than I thought it would be.  I also noticed on the flyer that the door proceeds sponsored Crafting for a Cure.  Door tickets were amazingly low for an International Centre event (only $1 or $2).  My entry was free because I brought the flyer.  I went to their site (WARNING: Some pages launch video immediately.)  I found that they take product donations.  So, since I wasn't contributing to door proceeds, I rummaged through my scraproom and donated: a whole bunch of Christmas paper, two unopened Tombow Aqua glues, one opened and one unopened Scotch photo splits, a bunch of stickers, some cardstock alphabets (punch outs) and some ribbons.  It was probably a 2 inch thick stack of stuff plus the ribbons and glues on top.

Dropping off my donation at the entrance put me in a warm fuzzy mood.  I wandered for a bit first, not really looking hard because I hadn't intended to buy anything in particular.  I saw some hand painted ornaments that I really liked though.  There was a deal to buy 5, so I made a little set out of them.  Once I bought that, then I remembered I needed a tree topper too.  I found a couple but I bought the smaller one because our tree is not super tall.  The topper is pictured at the top of this post.  I LOVE the contrast of the jingle bell colours against the neutrals of the angel.  Plus, the jingle bells are such a happy sound!  The other things I bought were gifts, so I'm not going to mention them here.  All in all, I was very happy with my purchases.

It was a good kick off to the Holidays!  We had a family skate that night.  We rented an indoor ice rink.  When you split the cost between a few families, it was quite affordable and less intimidating for the little ones than a public skate.  Our nephews started out shaky and nervous but were having fun by the end.  We let them take it slow and their confidence kept building over the hour.  Skating was another happy holiday feeling!

Sunday, I worked on my workshop samples and instructions.  The item was much easier to make than I imagined!  I made a whole bunch of samples AND all the kits too.  (I'll post those soon.)

There's something in the air, I tell you.  Something good.