Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend at the Artsy Craftsy's

It's funny, I don't feel like a did a lot this weekend.  Good thing I take so many pictures!

First, the painting of the back fence.  Strictly speaking, all I had to do was call The Painter and verify the color and sheen with the homeowner's association (who did not know anything about the sheen, and provides a color number that only works at a certain store, only they don't tell you that...ok, enough on THAT subject).

Mr. AC had a LOT of prep work to do to enable the painting, taking down years worth of overgrown bushes and weeds to expose the fence, and more of the view!

The Painter & His Assistant did a fabulous job of knocking it off on Saturday.  I like this picture because it shows the before and after color (that's how much fading occurs with 13+ years of neglect), as well as the fall colors on the trees and the view of the somewhat smoggy but beautiful Silicon Valley.

Then there was some baking and cooking going on. Ever since I downloaded my free copy of the Pumpkin Cookbook on my Kindle, I was keen to do some pumpkin cooking.  I like to use the Kindle app on my iPad to view recipes in the kitchen.
Pumpkin Recipe

These Harvest Loaves, made with pumpkin, cranberries and nuts, are delicious!  
Made an extra loaf to bring to lunch at Ms. AC's on Sunday.
Harvest Loaves

Harvest Loaf

Although I still have some last-minute details to complete, I worked on my Halloween costume. No, I'm not going anywhere, and I don't even like to answer the door to the trick or treaters, but I like making stuff, and am pleased with my hat and beard (still working on those eyebrows).
Gnome Costume

While browsing through JoAnns on Saturday, I came across this huge skein or pretty yellow and white cotton kitchen yarn. I just love cotton kitchen yarn, and as it was NOT on sale, I could use a coupon! This is the start of some kitchen cloths...don't know if I will use them as such, as this is SO pretty, but I will enjoy making them.
Cotton Crochet

A new member of the gnome family arrived this weekend, a Tom Clark gnome called Birdie. He popped up into my recommendations on eBay while I was looking for gnome costumes, beards and hats. He is going to be an inside gnome, but he needed an airing out, as I did not think to check whether he was from a smoke-free home (the issue was more in the packaging...he was cleared to come inside today).
Tom Clark Birdie Gnome

Ms. AC celebrated the Halloween weekend as a pumpkin...which gave me an excuse to play with my newly-acquired Photoshop Instagram skills, especially since the messaged phone photo was pretty dark and blurry.
Megan Pumpkin 

Phew...all that, and there aren't even any pictures of golf, progress on my double wedding ring quilt, priming of the birdhouses (more on this soon!), lunch with Ms AC & That-Sam-I-Am, a perfectly timed catch of Twilight on TV, and the start of another round of watching the Harry Potter movies in prep for our trip to Harry Potter world at Christmas. 

Just another weekend at the Artsy Craftsy house.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Almost Done with Orvieto

Getting to the last of the photos selected for the must-include-in-Europe-scrapbook list.
I can never resist taking these shots of streets and alleys in hill towns, and ordinary villagers going about their business.  This town made such an impression on me, which I get to relive when I open the photos in Photoshop and think about how to arrange them to tell a story.  Not may words necessary here, this is simply a story of wandering up and down the hill, in and out of the streets and alleys, wondering what is around the next turn, behind the shutters and doors, behind the windows.

Orvieto 8a Wandering

And this is the story of being in a hilltown in the morning as it wakes.  Journaling reads:
Many people visit the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria in a flash, coming in on a quick tour, walking the streets, poking into the shops, having a quick meal, then catching the bus.  If that’s all one has time for, it is worthwhile.  But there is nothing like the specialness of waking up in a hill town, watching the town wake, the people come out, opening their doors and windows and shops to another day, a day hopefully filled with tourists, but also filled with the life of the town, time to do some quick errands, time to catch up with the neighbors, life goes on in these tiny villages, perhaps oblivious to just how special it all is.  How special is the morning in a hill town.
Orvieto 8b Morning 
Credits: Template is a combo of Anna Aspnes Project 2011 template #4 and Magic FotoBlenz Template 7, plus Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Saffron Villa and Special One, Anna Aspnes Travel Word Art and Jen Maddocks Tell Your Story.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Orvieto View & Poppies

With all the October challenges done at Oscraps, let's see if I can make progress on scrapping Europe.

I love these pictures, showing the views, and the poppies in the fields as we walked the rupe trail around the tufa hills on which the old town of Orvieto sits. If it seems like I talk and scrap about Orvieto a lot, it is because I loved this little town. Orvieto Scenic Poppies

Credits: Jen Maddocks Enchanted masks, with Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Autumnal and Poppy, plus Anna Aspnes Descriptives Word Transfers

Friday, October 28, 2011

San Francisco Heart Journal

The last of the October challenges at Oscraps was the Creative Techniques challenge to do an art journal page lift of a page from Bush Girl.

I chose this page, as it spoke to me immediately of San Francisco and the famous Tony Bennett song.

Even for art journaling, I like to include photos.  I had a set from September 18th that I hadn't yet used, although some of the shots are the same shots I take every time I am at Ms. Artsy Craftsy's on Twin Peaks.

It was super warm that day, and we went for a walk in the neighborhood so I could take a closer look at the mosaics at the Rooftop School across the street.  With the sun setting behind us, I snapped a photo of our shadows on the sidewalk.

I love how the shadows juxtapose on the city images, surrounded by a heart.  The heart is a simple custom shape, clipped with a collage paper (from Maya de Groot Designs Collage Papers) and erased with a few brushes.  The San Francisco word art is another extraction from a photo I took at the Embarcadero in April.

I wanted to incorporate additional elements from the original, like the wing brushes, the staple and brad, but I think I already have enough going on.

Journal San Francisco 
In addition to Maya de Groot's Collage Papers, which appear in the heart as well as the lower left corner, I used masks and stitches from Anna Aspnes Magic FotoBlenz Album and the background paper is from Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palette Barren Sunrise.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October Reflections

I love reflections photos, and haven't had occasion to take any in a while.  Last week I tried taking a couple of reflections in the pool and spa, and got some really nice results!  I think they look quite Monetian!

Pool October 2011 Spa October 2011

I decided to use one of the photos for a Web Inspiration challenge at Oscraps.   The challenge photo was a lovely shadowy fall scene, with Halloween decorations in the foreground.  So I used a background/foreground concept to place the reflection photo in the back (turned 180 degrees) with another more focused photo, of some of the last of the Rose of Sharon blossoms in front of the fall foliage that shows through the back fence.

The "Reflections" word art is simply the word typed out using the TrueType font Porcelain, then repeated, flipped vertically, with the opacity adjusted down to 30%.  I tried rasterizing the reflected title and applying a Gaussian blur, but that made it blurry :-)

Credits: Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Autumnal 2 and Seafoam, Anna Aspnes Magic FotoBlenz Album, Anna Aspnes Fall Wordart overlay, Jen Maddocks Enchanted

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 42 Scrapped

Keeping up with the weeklies, hot off the pres is Week 42.

Since I did Week 41 as a single page, I wanted to do Week 42 as a single to keep the balance. I also used the same rounded corner shapes for the photo masks, tailoring them to the partly portrait and partly landscape orientation of the photos.

Once again I found a nice grouping among the photos, a couple about quilts, a couple about people, a couple about flora with a pizza thrown in.

Week 42 Scrapbook Page
Credits - original template design, papers and elements from Anna Aspnes Autumnal 2, Jen Allyson Vintage Findings alpha.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crafty Flop and Banner Revival

My weekend pumpkin crafting project was, unfortunately, a complete flop.I've seen many cute pumpkins made from books, and somehow, stupidly, I thought I could make one from a phone book.

Don't try this at doesn't work!

I grabbed a random piece of cardboard and drew a pumpkin shape.
Then I traced the shape onto the phone book pages and cut out a few pages at a time. 
It made a bit of a mess, cutting up the pages, but it didn't take all that long, and I did it while simultaneously doing other things. I loved the way it came out, shape wise, and was excited about painting it orange.
But alas, it would not even begin to stand :-(  So my crafty pumpkin from a book project was a flop.  I haven't tossed it in the recycle bin yet, hoping some brilliant idea will come to me to save this and turn it into a pumpkin.

It was fairly craftily depressed about this, and needed a pick-me-up.  I've been wanting to find the crafty fall banner I made several years ago.  That was the year we decided to spend Thanksgiving at Kirkwood.  We'd done that the previous year and it was so fun, especially when we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow on Thanksgiving morning.

The second year tradition of thanksgiving at Kirkwood involved additional people, some of whom were reluctant, because there wouldn't be sufficient decorations at Kirkwood to make it look like Thanksgiving.  So I made some trips to JoAnns and rummaged through my fabric to make a fall banner.  We brought a tablecloth, some mini pumpkins, faux fall foliage, and the banner, and decorated the place festively.  Then the banner came home, got put with the fabric, and when we moved, who knows where it went.

I looked around for it last weekend but didn't find it.  But with Mr. Artsy Craftsy's help to remove some bins from my sewing room closet, I found the banner.  And hung it on my fireplace, after first locating the stocking holders in the hall closet with the Christmas decorations, and only a tiny accident of a stuck foot, lost balance and a scraped shoulder.  The things I do for crafting!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sorrento Scrap Book Complete

My latest Shutterfly book, this one a 25-page digital scrapbook covering Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, including Positano, Amalfi Town, Ravello and Capri, is complete and ordered.

It was mostly free thanks to an offer from United Airlines, just had to pay for the 5 extra pages, but these were 20% off of 20% off, thanks to sales and coupon codes.

The one frustration...Shutterfly's new Custom Path is a great interface and super easy to use, however, not all styles, which of course seems irrelevant in a digital scrapbook, offer a full bleed cover, which is important to us digital scrapbookers.

Their help page on Digital Scrapbooks said to use the Everyday Classics style, but that one doesn't have a full-page picture cover....maybe it did at one point, but it doesn't now.  If you use New Custom Path and want a full bleed cover, use the Modern Black style, and there is an option for a full-page picture cover with text, and if you leave the text blank, you will get a full page cover.
This is only an issue for the front cover.  Other styles have full bleed on the back cover.

I'm glad I finally figured this out, because although I made this book with the Classic Custom Path, this option is supposed to go away in January 2012.  Plus, I like the interface of the New Custom Path much better!

Photo books are the perfect gift for any occasion.

Pages in the book are made with the digital scrapbook templates and kits of Jen Maddocks, Maya de Groot and Anna Aspnes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Remembering the Orvieto Market

Getting back to scrapping one of the highlights of our European adventure, Orvieto, and one of the highlights of Orvieto, the trip to the market.  Like most hill towns in Tuscany and Umbria, once or twice a week a market pops up in one of the village squares.  Besides the usual fruit, flowers and vegetables, the market in Orvieto featured tables full of vintage linens, providing hours of interesting browsing, for me at least.

Orvieto 7a Market

Orvieto 7b Market
Credits - Anna Aspnes Artsy Layered Template No 7, ArtPlay Palettes Strawberry Preserves and Poppy, Jodie Lee Junk Mail Brushes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 41 & An AnnaLift

Right on the heels of Week 40, I have completed a single page for Week 41, which pretty much catches me up!  The impetus to get it done quickly was provided by the next AnnaLift at Oscraps.

I chose this layout by Anna, since the opportunity to use it for a weekly was immediately obvious, with 6 photos, and knowing it is easy enough to plop one more into the background.

I am often drawn to rounded corner photo mats.  I remember there was a time I didn't know how to make them, then learned they are a very simple option in the Photoshop shape tool.

Anna's layout has stitching around the edges of the photos, which I toyed with, but ended up using a simple keyline in each photo.

Here is a mini tutorial on how to get this effect:
This is done by adding a new layer on top of the mat+photo, and while the new layer is highlighted in the layers palette, Ctrl-click on the mat layer, which will put marching ants around the mat.  At the top, go to Select > Modify > Contract, and enter 30 pixels.  This will shrink the marching ant selection  30 pixels from the edge.
Then go to Edit > Stroke and select a color and size, I used 10 pixels, for the stroke.  I chose a slightly different color for each keyline to accent the photo.  If you wanted to make this into faux-stitching you could use an eraser brush, but that was more than I had the patience for, plus I like this solid look.

Although I have been doing multi-page layouts for the last several weeks, I liked the fact that my photos from Week 41, October 9-15, divided pretty well into three crafty photos, my wreath, the Great Wall of China, and the paper mums, and three flora and fauna photos, with the wonderful photo of the pampas grass on the 17th hole, the beautiful red rose from the house on the corner of Arezzo, and, ok, perhaps fauna is a stretch, but the center photo is from the GI Joe conference room at work.

The last photo, from our late lunch/early dinner at GrubStake in San Francisco, was perfect as a background photo, being slightly different in subject matter from the other six.
Week 41 
Credits: This uses Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Strawberry Preserves, Seafoam, Poppy, Artsy Layered template No 33 and FotoBlenz Template No 1A, Script Tease Overlay.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Over & Grout

I wish to report that grouting is complete on The Great Wall of China.  Yes, the Great Wall of China is the same as the Big Mosaic Project.  I like to name things.

There is still a bit to be done...checking the grouting, making sure there are no holes or missed spots, fixing any holes or missed sports, cleaning any grout off the tiles, cleaning the grout off the ground where I neglected to cover the ground, putting all the supplies away, and sealing the grout.

But other than all that, it is done.  I'm prety happy with the choice of Silver Shadow as the grout color, although I could have stood a wee bit more contrast.

It's hard to get an impressive picture of the whole thing since it's so large.
Mosaic Wall

But here is the left...
Mosaic Wall Left

the middle...
Mosaic Wall Middle

and the right.
Mosaic Wall Right 

All in all, I am pretty proud of it!
It would be fun to know how many pieces of glass, china and ceramic are in this creation.  Care to hazard a guess??

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 40 Scrapped

EEk, I am falling a little behind with my weekly layouts, juggling them with making photo books, participating in scrapping challenges, grouting the Great Wall of China, work, golf, arranging home repairs...phew, exhausting.

But I did get Week 40 done!  Both pages are using Anna Aspnes Artsy Layered Temp[late No 6, with papers from Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palette Autumnal 2.

Week 40  Left Week 40  Right

I repeated the hanging banner from Week 39, using the super cool Abandoned Office alpha by Agnes Biro at Design House Digital.  I also used a fun floral glossy alpha from Angie Hinksman's new Sarah kit at DHD.

I divided the pages somewhat thematically, the left side dealing with the mosaic wall and the view from the back yard.  Hard to tell from the picture, but those are cowboys up on the hill!
Week 40  Left

And the right side dealing with fun and comfort.  What's more comforting than freshly toasted pop tarts?  Can't you just smell them?  Yum, I may need to have some right now.
Week 40  Right 
Additional credits - Celeste Knight June Freebie frame and Jen Allyson Vintage Findings Newsprint, overlaid onto the frame and the background.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Missing You - A Scraplift

The weekly Anna Aspnes "AnnaLift" challenge at Oscraps was a lovely card this past week.  I recognize these colors from the Saffron Villa ArtPlay Palette, and love how the loops are filled in, in this, the original card by Kathy that we were challenged to lift.

Unlike previous weeks, where I was able to accomplish my lifting quickly and easily, this one had to percolate for almost the whole week.

Should I make a card?  I love cards, but would I actually print it out?  Probably not.  So in the end I decided to lift the loops and fills ideas, but in a full-sized layout.  Or maybe it is a big card!

I took the picture of the rose on one of my morning jaunts around the block.  It's at the neighbor's house at the bend in the road.  The inner petals are all balled up and paler than the luscious red of the outer petals...the form is beautiful! 

The words I found somewhere on Facebook, and modified them, and so perfectly express something I have thought about so may times...
Missing someone isn’t about  how long it has been since you’ve seen them or  the amount of time since you’ve talked. 
It’s about that very moment when you see something or find yourself doing something and wishing they were right there by your side.

AnnaLift 1014 Missing You Rose 
Credits: Anna Aspnes Portal Art Prints 3, ArPlay Palettes Floralis, Autumnal 2 and Seafoam, Scribble Blooms and the mask and overlay from FotoBlenz template 1.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PIQF Highlights

PIQF, the Pacific International Quilt Festival...I first attended nearly 20 years ago, when it was held at a hotel in Burlingame, and I was just discovering quilting.  Then I attended for many years thereafter, religiously, even when it moved to Pasadena that one year.  That was the year I met Pat Yamin, Pat the quilter.

It came to be such an important part of my quilting business, entering quilts in the show, working at booths in the show, and finally having my own booth at the show.

It's funny how things have come around, to where I am once again a spectator.  Able to just look with my eyes and feel inspired and not have to evaluate everything as a business opportunity.

I enjoyed that very much.

And here are the highlights...
A winning quilt, intricately pieced and magnificently quilted, with sparkly things on it.  That seems to be the norm for winning quilts these days.

PIQF  Winning Quilt

Another winning quilt, a impeccably executed portrait in fiber.
PIQF Audrey Quilt

Quilts made by a dear friend.  I remember when I first started teaching her quilting.  How far she has come, and how I loved seeing these special quilts.
PIQF Felicia 1

PIQF Felicia 2 

A theme quilt about time, using some of my favorite imagery from Alice in Wonderland.
PIQF Alice Quilt

A fun quilt about coming of age, I loved the colors and execution.
PIQF Japanese Quilt

A sculpture of beautiful pearly buttons.
PIQF Curvaceous Buttons

Wonderful realism rendered in fabirc.

A story of patience and bonding, a story of 1000 cranes.
PIQF Thousand Cranes

I am anxious to do some sewing some time soon!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cover Girl Quilt

It was last July that I finished and sent off my Spooling Around quilt, made for my friend Pat Yamin of Come Quilt With Me.

Yesterday, at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, I was able to see the result.  Not only is my quilt in the book, but it was selected by the publishers as the cover quilt!

Two Patch Book

The book is beautiful! Fresh off the press with that wonderful ink smell I love so much, crisp and colorful and full of wonderful quilts.  The inside covers have a fun pink and white version of the spools quilt.

Two Patch Book Inside Cover

I wouldn't want a copy if not signed by the warmest and most wonderful quilter one could ever meet, I treasure this, dear Pat.
Two Patch Book Autograph

And there on page 100, the quilt again, with the simple and wonderfully written (not by me) instructions for making this quilt.
Two Patch Book Page 

Two Patch Scrap Quilts is a beautiful book by Pat Yamin, published by AQS Publishing. 
It includes the templates and instructions for 21 two-patch quilts. Pat also sells the acrylic templates for all these two-patches, making the cutting and sewing a breeze. I've made many of Pat's quilts with her templates and she makes the most difficult quilts, with curves and set-in seams, quite easily doable. But more impressive than the instructions are the beautifully photographed quilts. I enjoy just leafing through the book over and over, gazing at how wonderfully diverse can be quilts made with just two different shapes. For the more advanced or comfortable quilter, some of the shapes can be rotary cut without templates, for example the Spinning Spools quilt is made with a 4 1/2" center square. But I also like the slots/dots on the templates, which help enormously with set-in seams, indicating exactly where to start and stop sewing. I also love the simple tables with instructions, which include three different sizes for each quilt, so at a glance one can see the yardage needed for each quilt. But for me the true charm of these types of quilts is digging into the scrap bag, finding pieces big enough to cover the templates, and making scrappy quilts the "new" old-fashioned way, with old scraps and new tools.
I expect to try many of the quilts in this lovely book.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thankful Self-Portrait

A challenge layout for Oscraps, the challenge was to use the following things:  the word "thankful", something red, 3 flowers, a frame, 3 squares of paper, a sepia photo, a sticker, a photo mask, a key, the letter S.

I chose the photo of me with all my band-aids.  I smiled for the self-portrait, but there have been a few tears over these band-aids.  Thankfully, all the results were negative from this round of band-aids, and for this I am So Thankful!

The little cluster at the bottom is saying, "the key to more time is sunscreen".

Self Portrait OStash Challenge

Anna Aspnes FotoBlenz Template 12 
Anna Aspnes ArtPlay Palettes Autumnal 2, Find My Way, Barren Sunrise 
Maya de Groot - The Art of Journaling, Hoity Toity, Artsy Fartsy and Fun in the Sun. 
Thankful work art from Jessica Sprague.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Crafty Decor Flowers

Hot on the heels of my super successful Numeric Analysis Wreath, I decided to try my hand at these cute paper flowers I found on the Design House Digital blog.

I used 12x12 scrapbook paper, cutting it down to about 8 1/2" x 12", then folded in half and cut as per the instructions.   I hot glued them to sticks from our recent bush trimming.
Paper Flowers  

Sitting on a colorful quilt, this is my DayZ BloomZ quilt made with LakeHouse fabirc, on the dining room table, these look quite fall-ly festive.

Paper Flowers in Dining Room 
I intend to add some reality to the mix with pampas grass and perhaps a cattail or two, but haven't gotten around to that expedition yet.