Fiskateers CHA CHAllenge CHAsers Wrap-up

Each January and July, the major players in the craft industry attend the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) tradeshow. (I was lucky enough to attend in January 2011.) For those of us who don't go to CHA, the Fiskateers always throw a big online crop. This summer's event was called the CHA CHAllenge CHAsers, or CCC for short. We Fiskateers were challenged to complete 16 projects, in addition to participating in a variety of games. (One had us writing a poem about our favorite Fiskars supplies! Difficult!) Being a pathological overachiever, I always try to complete all the challenges.  

The "Recycle Me" challenge asked us to turn trash into treasure. That was an easy one for me, as I keep a pile of 'trash' items that have potential in the corner of my craftroom. All I had to do was choose one. I dug out an empty hot chocolate container, removed the label, and wrapped it with coordinating patterned papers. I added borders and my initial. I think it's pretty cute!

The "Go Ahead and Borrow an Idea" challenge sent us to our friends list. We had to go to the 7th friend on our list and scraplift something from their gallery. My 7th friend was the awesome Cheryl Waters, who just ended 6 years as Lead Fiskateer. Since I've seen all the things she's posted during the time I've been a Fiskateer, I went WAAAAY back in her gallery to before I joined. I chose napkin rings that she made using a border punch. Here is Cheryl's project (posted with permission, of course!)

This is what my version looked like on the table.

And here's how it looked on a napkin.  Cheryl's style is about as different from mine as you can get, so I really challenged myself to stay true to her inspiration piece.  I even folded my napkin the same way she did.  :)

The "Beautiful Backgrounds" challenge had us get out our mists and play. I spritzed orange and yellow on white cardstock, backed it with orange, then used that same orange to make candles. The flames are coated in Stickles. I liked the card up until the point when I added the sentiment.  I think it looks like a tiny cake with oversized candles, as opposed to candles with a sentiment over them. Oh well!

The "Think Outside the Box" challenge was a struggle for me. It shouldn't have been. The directions were simple- alter a box. I found a cool box in my 'trash' pile that I've been wanting to alter. 

I painted it white, then misted it. Ugh. I repainted it white. I stamped it. Yuck! I painted another coat of white, then I did a masking technique. Bleccch. I painted it white again and ended up covering it with a cool black & white patterned paper. Which is what I should have done from the start! I like how it turned out. This picture doesn't really do it justice.   

The "You Spin Me Round and Round" challenge asked us to make anything with circles. I started by punching out a circle and using temporary adhesive to stick it to my cardstock. Then I stamped blue circles on the card.  

I added purple and green circles until the card was covered.

I removed the purple circle, then laid the strip I'd punched it from over the top of the card.  

I added a rub-on to the empty spot, then backed the card with purple and attached it to the card base. I really like how this one turned out!

 Tomorrow I'll share more of the projects I made during the CCC event.


Evening Beading: Basic Stringing Class

Anyone remember my first attempt at making jewelry?  I thought it would be pretty easy, but my complete lack of experience meant that I was totally and utterly baffled as I stood there in the jewelry aisle of the craft store.  I fumbled my way through my project, but realized that I absolutely needed to take a Jewelry 101 class before ever attempting any sort of jewelry project again.  

Fast forward to my list of 40 Things.  I knew Jewelry 101 had to be on the list!  After some Googling, I realized that our local bead store would be the best place to take a class.  I recruited my friend Cathy and we signed up for the "Evening Beading: Basic Stringing Class" at Beads on Main in Vacaville. We were told to come an hour early to pick out our beads.

An hour was not enough time.

Talk about overwhelming!  The walls all looked like this:

and the center of the store looked like this:

Fortunately, the employees were incredibly helpful.  Our teacher, Jess, recommended we just start picking out beads we liked, without worrying about how many we'd need or what works with what.  She also pointed out some kits they had available.  She suggested that we find a finished piece that we liked and use it for inspiration.  I decided to make a bracelet similar to this one:

I knew I didn't want the turquoise/rust colors of my inspiration piece, but I had no idea what I actually DID want.  I started picking out beads... some blues, some whites, then some oranges, all with no real plan or vision.  Then I came to this section:   

I was totally drawn to these greens, so I decided to build my bracelet around these.  I kept the orange beads I'd chosen earlier, but put back the white and blue ones.  After a LOT of indecision, eventually I ended up with greens, oranges, and yellows.

Once I had my beads, it was time to lay them out and start planning the bracelet.  I spent awhile experimenting with different patterns and designs.  I snapped a photo of each rough draft so that I could move the beads around and easily recreate a previous design if need be.  

Then it was time to string the beads and to learn about the findings!  I was so excited to finally be taught the proper techniques.  I took a ton of pictures so that I'd remember how to do it the next time I make something.  

The class was small enough (6) that Jess was able to supervise each of us during the critical crimping step.  I was first, which meant that I had some time to snap some pictures of her helping the others.  

I also had time to add up the cost of my bracelet.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the whole thing cost only $9.21.  

Here's my finished bracelet. I LOVE it. I had so much fun at the class and will definitely be beading again. (In fact, some of you on my Christmas list might get bracelets this year...)
Goal #26 accomplished! 


Sketch #7

Here's another of the layout sketches I drew on vacation.  

I realize this is Sketch #7 and that yesterday I showed Sketch #4.  I number the sketches in
the order I make them, not the order they appear here. I'll show #5 and #6 when I can.

I used the sketch for the page about our 8th anniversary celebration in Napa.  Here's my rough draft:

When I make a page, even from a sketch, the first thing I do is lay the pictures on the paper the way I think it's going to go, then check for any problem areas.  In this case, I wasn't happy with the large white space above our heads in the focal photo.  I ended up adding three small rub-ons (a curved set of dots, a heart, and the word AMAZING) and it totally changed the feel of the page.  Here's the finished page.

I just realized 4 of the 7 pictures are of food!  I checked last year's anniversary layout - 12 pictures and not one of them has any food.  I guess you can't really visit Napa without eating, photographing, and scrapping some outstanding food!


Sketch #4

Remember the layout sketches I drew on vacation?  It only took a few minutes each to convert those rough pencil sketches into clean digital versions, using Open Office Draw. Here's my Sketch #4:

I originally intended it for some more Young-Me-Now-Me layouts that I'm planning.  But I had two random pictures of Trevor from Home Depot and Lowe's kids workshops that worked perfectly with this sketch.  So that's what I did.  This layout came together incredibly quickly.

A few fun facts about this page: 

*I've had the hammer/lumber stickers for at least a decade.  There's no date printed on the sticker back, which is a shame.  

*In contrast to the ancient stickers, the patterned paper (from the Heidi Swapp 'No Limits' line) is the newest supply I own.  

*The letters in the title started out turquoise (let's) and yellow (BUILD).  I inked them to make them both look brown, but it's pretty clear that they started out as different colors.  My eye goes right to that, but I decided that most people wouldn't notice.  And even if they did, it looks fine.  


I've Seriously Been Wondering....

I have some questions.  They're all things I've been wondering for a long time.  I'm hoping you, my Trusty Readers, can help.

Question 1: What are the little punch-out things on the sides of grungeboard, chipboard or stickers called?  Are they chads, like the Florida ballots?  I hate them.  It seems like no matter how carefully I snip, sand or clip, they never quite go away.  I need to know the name of these things I hate so much.

Questions 2:  How do you ink the insides of letters, numbers or shapes without getting ink on the front?  I like to use the side of an inkpad to sweep ink onto edges, which works great for exterior angles but not at all for interior angles.  I've tried sponge daubers, q-tips and felt pens, but there are major limitations to all.  

Question 3:  When you make a product list (for a submission or other important reason), do you credit the broad owner or the specific line?  For example, are the stickers pictured below properly credited to Fiskars or to Cloud 9?  Would I have credited them differently in 2007 when they were made vs. now when Cloud 9 is owned by Colorbok and not Fiskars?

Question 4: What is the generic term for self-adhesive rhinestone shapes that are connected together by a clear backing?  Prima calls theirs "Say it in Studs" but what is the generic term?

Question 5: Is there a way to find out what specific chipboard shapes are supposed to be?  For example, the link to BasicGrey's chipboard shapes from the Obscure line tells me that the shapes are modern and masculine, but not what the shapes actually are.  Look at the picture below.  Is the lower left a cassette tape?  If so, why does it look like a shark took a bite out of it?  And what's that thing on the right?  Is it a bird?  A one-winged airplane?  I've tilted my head every direction and can't make sense of it.  

If you know the answer(s) to any of my questions, PLEASE let me know in the comment section!  I will be forever grateful.   


Stamped Gift Bag and Card

Check out this gift bag and card.

I didn't make them.  Trevor did.  Aren't they nice?  The only thing I did was to help him use the paper trimmer to cut the papers for the cards.  He even put the tissue paper puffs in by himself.  These are based on the gift bag and card on my Found Object Stamping and Trash to Treasure projects.  

He used the same four items for stamping that I used: an empty pill container (yellow), an empty tape roll (red), an old sponge dauber (green), and a drinking straw (blue).  

There's something soothing about the dip-stamp-dip-stamp rhythm.

After the front dried, he stamped the back.  He didn't know how to stamp the sides, so I taught him this little trick.  Works like a charm!

 These are two of Trevor's 8 fair entries.  Just over a week until the fair opens and we can see how he did!


Trevor at 6

Each year on his birthday, Steve takes portraits of Trevor holding up his age.  Then I take a minute to list the adjectives that best describe him.  These are some of my absolute favorite layouts to do.  Here is Trevor at 6.

My layout is based on this sketch by Shannon White.

Here's a look back at Trevor's birthday portraits from ages 1-5.  One of these years, I want to do a 2-page layout with one birthday portrait from each year to show how much he's changed and grown.  Maybe I'll tackle that soon....


1st Field Trip

Remember the vacation planning folder I made using the Heidi Swapp 'No Limits' collection?  Here's the latest project I made with that collection:

It was perfect for a layout about Trevor's first field trip.  It was my first field trip too, in a way.  I went on around 50 field trips as a teacher, but this was my first field trip as a parent.  Much easier!  


Seinfeld Superfan Gift: The Seinfeld Food Quiz

My sister Kari just celebrated her 37th birthday. About 5 years ago, she announced that she has too much stuff and would prefer that any gifts she's given are consumable (no more knick-knacks or things that take up space). Since I feel the same way, I was happy to comply.  

About 5 months ago during a random visit to Cost Plus, I noticed Bosco. If you're a Seinfeld fan, you'll know that Bosco features prominently in an episode. Kari is the world's biggest Seinfeld fan, so I bought the Bosco. It would be a fun addition to whatever I'd be giving her for her birthday. Then I realized I could build a whole gift around food items that have inspired Seinfeld episodes. And I could challenge her to tell the plot of every item in the bag! Fun!

Here's what I got her:

As she removed each item, she had to tell us the plot of the episode. She breezed through all of them except the Snickers, Pepsi, and Twix. I had to give her hints for those ones.  


If you're a Seinfeld fan, see how you would do!

1) Bosco
2) Cinnamon raisin bagels
3) Fusilli
4) Jujyfruit
5) Junior Mints
6) Mango
7) Oh Henry!
8) Ovaltine
9) Pepsi
10) Pez
11) Pretzels
12) Snickers
13) Twix

Here are the answers. I've added affiliate links in case you'd like to buy these to give to the Seinfeld fan in your life!

1) Bosco
“The Secret Code” (episode 117): George reveals to Mrs. Peterman's dying mother that his ATM code is Bosco. He later needs to reveal his ATM code to save a man who is trapped.

“The Strike” (episode 166): Kramer returns to work at a bagel shop after 12 years on strike. This explains why he's never held a job.

“The Fusilli Jerry” (episode 107): Kramer makes a statue of Jerry using fusilli because Jerry is silly. Frank Costanza falls backward onto the statue.

4) Jujyfruit
“The Opposite” (episode 86): Elaine's boyfriend Jake is in an accident and she stops to buy Jujyfruits at the movie concession stand before heading to the hospital.

5) Junior Mints
“The Junior Mint” (episode 60): Kramer drops a Junior Mint into the open chest cavity of Elaine's ex-boyfriend Roy during his splenectomy surgery.

6) Mango
“The Mango” (episode 65): After eating a bad peach and insulting the store owner, Kramer gets banned from the shop. Jerry gets banned too. George ends up buying their fruit and discovering that mangoes cure his sexual dysfunction.

“The Caddy” (episode 122): Elaine runs into Sue Ellen Mischke, an acquaintance from high school who is an heiress to the Oh Henry! candy bar fortune and a 'braless wonder.'

“The Fatigues” (episode 140): Kenny Bania has a comedy bit about Ovaltine (“Why do they call it Ovaltine? The jar is round; the mug is round. They should call it Roundtine.) His notes get mixed up with George's presentation on risk management. George ends up speaking about Ovaltine at a board meeting.

9) Pepsi
“The Dinner Party” (episode 77): The group is headed to a dinner party and Elaine wants to bring wine and cake. George prefers to bring Ring Dings and Pepsi.

10) Pez
“The Pez Dispenser” (episode 31): Elaine laughs loudly at George's girlfriend's piano concert after Jerry offers her pez.

“The Alternate Side” (episode 28): Kramer gets a line in a Woody Allen film, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!”

“The Pledge Drive” (episode 89): Elaine's boss Mr. Pitt eats a Snickers bar with a fork and knife, which sets off a citywide trend.

13) Twix
“The Dealership” (episode 167): George buys a Twix from a vending machine at Puddy's car dealership, but the Twix fails to fall. He ends up making a candybar lineup, made entirely of Twix, to prove that a mechanic stole the dangling Twix.

How many did you get right?


Ramona Owls

Trevor has just started to get into Beverly Cleary books. I'm thrilled, as she was my favorite author when I was in first grade back in 1978 (and for several years after that). The drive to my inlaws' cabin in Bear Valley is just over 3 hours, so Trevor and I checked out a Ramona audiobook for the drive up and a second one for the drive home.  

In one of the key scenes in Ramona the Brave, Ramona's first grade class makes owls from paper bags for Back to School Night. Ramona adds creative and unique details to her owl and then her nemesis Susan copies Ramona's ideas. After their teacher praises Susan for her creativity, Ramona destroys both Susan's owl and her own.  

I paused the audiobook for a teachable moment:
Me: Trevor, what would you do if someone copied your art ideas?
Trevor: Nothing.  I wouldn't care.
Me: Why do you think it bothered Ramona?
Trevor: Can we make those owls when we get home?
So much for the teachable moment. Yes, Trevor... we can make owls.

Materials: 2 brown lunch sacks (used is fine), a piece of newspaper, brown ink and a stamp of the letter V, glue gun, scissors, yellow and black cardstock scraps.

Start by stamping brown V's on the front, back and sides of one of the lunch sacks. (You could use a pen and draw V's, but stamping is faster and more fun.) Set aside the second lunch sack.

Wad up a sheet of newspaper and stuff it into the stamped lunch sack. Fold the ends of the sack over and glue them down.

Fold the flap down and glue in place.

Use the yellow and black cardstock to make eyes and glue them into place.

Cut wings and a beak from the second lunch sack. Add stamped V's to the wings. Glue the wings and beak into place.  

Here is my Ramona Owl:

And here is Trevor's Ramona Owl:

Thanks to Beverly Cleary for books that I loved as a child, enjoyed years later as a teacher, and that are just as good now that I'm rereading them as a mommy. Thanks for stories that leave my son begging for trips to the library. And thanks for inspiring a fun art project.  :)


More Art from Vacation

I did a few more art projects while we were in Bear Valley.  These were all done lakeside, but I didn't photograph them until later.  (Obviously, since lakeshores are rarely carpeted.)

The inspiration for my first project came from, of all places, CraftFail.  I followed the instructions from the original artist at The Forest Room.  (The instructions are in the comments, not in the body of the post.)  That's Trevor's hand on the paper.  I think the illusion works pretty well except for the thumb area.  I was going to leave it uncolored, but Trevor wanted his hand to be underwater.  

Next, I tried an Op Art Inspired project from the Art Club Blog (original source: Art with Mr. E).  I read the instructions at home before the trip but didn't really remember what to do once I was on vacation.  So my project looks almost nothing like the ones that inspired it. Next time I go on vacation, I should print the instructions and try again!

This was a quick sketch I did.  There's nothing like sketching in Sharpie.  There's no erasing, so every mistake needs to be made into something else.  There's no way to vary the color, so 'shading' can only be done by using more or less lines.  (Speaking of color, the pink blobs on my sketch are from Trevor's 5 Dot Art that soaked through the page.)
Finally, I did a couple pages of layout sketches.  I haven't done much scrapbooking recently. With Trevor out of school for the summer, 95% of my creative time is doing kids' crafts with him.  I have a huge pile of photos waiting to be scrapped, so I created sketches with those in mind.  You'll be seeing a few of these sketches in finished form (and the layouts that go with them) soon.  I hope.

So that's what I did to stay creative on vacation, with nothing but a sketchpad, a Sharpie, some markers, and a pencil.  I'm curious- do any of you pack art supplies on vacation?  What do you do?