Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Craft Products of 2011

As crafters we buy a lot of stuff...well at least I do (zip it hubby)! Stuff that we either love and can't live without. Stuff that we like, look at, and think we will use someday (zip). Stuff we don't like (in some cases "yet") and horde or give away (ZIP IT PLEASE!). And, sometimes we buy stuff we already had...just did that a few weeks ago...oops! I don't know why I don't use up every single bit of everything before I buy more, or at least stick with a certain genre of art for awhile before moving on with another.  I think I have a craft product sickness...or as some (hubby) would call it crap product sickness, i.e. "crap-booking". I probably need a 12 step program, but it would have to involve inking, painting, gluing, and cutting homework before I would even sign up. I have brilliantly managed to fit most of it in a 7 x 7 foot space...until somebody (hubby) builds me an awesome studio. Anyway, here is my list of all my favorite products from this year, and even though some have been around longer, I only started using them this year. 
 In No Particular Order:
1.  Core'dinations Paper - TH Kraft-Core; Core Impressions for Graphic 45, Jenni Bowlin, and Cosmo Cricket; Color Core Cardstock for TH and Ranger, and Black Magic (Yummo...I love paper! I totally understand why goats eat it!)
2. More Paper (Sorry!) - Graphic 45's Communique Collection; TH Idea-ology Kraft Resist
3. TH Idea-ology Tissue Wrap (Both designs...need more please Tim!)
4. Cosmo Crickett Glubbers...those really large glue dots great for flowers and rosette dies (I'm told you can make your own. Someone give me the tutorial.)
5. Dies & Fades - All TH Alterations Mini's (Hello!..The big ones are grand and now little them!); TH Alterations Texture Fades in the Jack, Queen, King (How cool are those? I need stamps too please Tim!); and you guessed it...TH Alterations...duh!...Mini Rosettes and Vintage Lace (Just got the latter, and have already been playing.)
6. Prima's Shabby Chic Treasure Pieces - Chandelier, Candelabra, Bicycle, and Birdcages (I love everything metal! These rock!)
7. TH Distress Stain - Every single color, but especially White Picket Fence and Black Soot. (This is probably the most genius of all projects this year!)
8. Stamps - (Oh no...get ready!) Hero Arts (All the vintage lady ones.); Graphic 45 for Hampton Art Vintage Ladies (Who knew they even made stamps?); Pink Persimmon Antiquated Collection by Lisa M. Pace (All of them are fantastic!); Artistic Outpost (The Paris and SteamPunk ones.)
9. TH Distress Ink in Festive Berries, Iced Spruce, and Gathered Twigs (The latter is my new favorite. Vintage Photo is now gathering dust.)
10. Wendy Vecchi Studion 490 Art Parts "Clearly for Art Blackout" Modeling Film (Phew...that is a mouthful!) (This stuff is amazing when heated. The possibilities are endless!)

I really do have issues! Please tell me I'm not the only one! Leave a comment and let me know your favs for this year as well! And, before anyone asks, no, I did not get paid to advertise for any of this. They are just my favorites and my opinion. Happy New Year's Eve everyone! I hope your hands get creatively dirty soon!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Debby's NYC Christmas Project Completed!

Our whole little group in Rockefeller Center!
The roomies...Heather, Susan, Karen, and me, in front of How To Succeed In Business (I highly recommend it)!
 I decided to take the whole day today and finally finish up my project from Debby Schuh's New York City tour and Tinsel Trading Company class back in November (have I mentioned I had a blast?). True to my form, I did not follow her sample, but made it my own. She gave us SO MUCH ephemera, embellishments, paper, etc., that my mind went into overdrive at several different points along the way. WOW!!! The whole paper line and all the journal cards and ephemera were from October Afternoon's new Holiday Style line. They had not even put this on the market yet at that point. How cool was that? Debby even mentioned that if she did design a Christmas line, it would look just like this. It was hard to choose which to use and which to horde away, as is my usual nature, because every single item was fab.  I have been working on this project here and there since November, just tinkering and trying out new techniques I have learned on bits and pieces of it. I loved Tim's wrinkled up Tissue Wrap background technique so much I tried it here on this background and as you already know on a few tags. So, I found it ironic when I read the Grungy Monday challenge this week to use "Tissue Tape and/or Tissue Wrap". I have already used both on this project, so I will enter it on GM 30, as well as the Sunday Stamper, where there is an "anything you want" challenge. These two challenges did spur me on to finish this up, so I hope this project qualifies for both even though technically it is a Debby kitted project. In any case, I had the best time of my late autumn, made a gorgeous project I am proud of, and met the most wonderful people (several who are now close friends) on that trip. Thank you so much Debby...for every single bit of all of it!!!
The pictures are so not doing this project justice...sorry.
Tissue Wrap background...I love how you can see through it.

This is Debby's sample picture.

Paper Used- Holiday Style by October Afternoon; TH Idea-ology Tissue Wrap in Composer and Tissue Tape in Tidings (snowflake)
Stamps Used- TH Collection for Stampers Anonymous in Reindeer Flight (snowflakes)
Coloration Used- TH Distress Inks in Gathered Twigs, Tumbled Glass, and Peeled Paint; TH Distress Crackle Paint in Clear Rock Candy; TH Distress Stickles in Clear Rock Candy, Brushed Pewter, and Peeled Paint; Ranger Stickles in Black Diamonds, Diamond, Green, and Christmas Red; Ranger Inkssentials Crackle Accents
Embellishments Used- Amy Tangerine Thickers in Goodness by American Crafts (Noel); Thickers Eclair by Amercian Crafts (Joy); The Girls Paperie Tinsel & Twig Chipboard Alphabet (Merry Christmas); The Girls Paperie Tinsel & Twig Flower Market Crepe Paper (snowflake flowers); TH Idea-ology Mini Paper Clips; October Afternoon Holiday Style Tin Pins; candy canes, vintage tinsel, holly, and red polka dot ribbon are from my stash
*The rhinestones, all other ribbon, die cuts, glitter, and clothes pins, were given to me by Debby, as well as the 14 3/4 in. x 14 3/4 in. wooden frame.

I really wish these pictures were better. I really need a better camera. It is hard to pick up all the glitter and shine of this project. It doesn't help either that I typically photograph in the late evening after I finish up, when all natural light is gone. Any-who...I hope you get your hands creatively dirty soon!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December ATC Swap

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend! My clan had a wonderful time with family. It is always a special time of year for us...everyone really seems to shine. But, it ended, and alas, the mail came today after its little hiatus, and a small package came for me. My "All White ATC's" from the All Things Tim Yahoo Group monthly swap had arrived. I tore into them as fast as I could, this my last Christmas present. I love them all! I was especially excited to see one that is similar to my own...great minds!
This cutey is from Susan Salyer...who ironically lives pretty close to me, and we've never met...small world! Love this happy Santee!!! Fabulous pattern that sparkles too...beautiful!
This pure white beauty is from Jocelyn Cazier. These sparkly white gears really had me turning! Have you ever noticed that pearls add instant old school class? I'm in love! is  Donna Jean Eno's beautiful winter white scene! Isn't it funny that we used the same dies, and had polka dot backgrounds? I love it! Her deer is really raised up from the card which really makes it pop. It is so striking! is mine again.
Thanks again to all the participants and especially to Sandy who does all the work! I look forward to next months theme. If you have not joined in on the fun and you are in the group, why not give it a try? It will be a new year, a new beginning, and a time to try new things! I hope you get your hands creatively dirty soon!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Twas The Night Before A Crafter's Christmas!!!
Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wonderin' what Santa, brought just for me;

Could it be cardstock or chipboard or lace?
or a cricut? I said with a smile on my face!

and that's when I heard him...''HI SANTA,'' I said.
''you know good little girls should be in their beds''.

I know I should Santa, and now I've been caught!
but I was excited, to see what you brought.

well, lets take a look in this room where you work.
he shook his head quickly and left with a jerk!

I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear...
you've got enough stuff, I'll see you next year!
(Borrowed this poem from my friend Jody Myslinski. Thanks girl!!!) 
I am so grateful to all of you who have supported this blog and meI wish each and every one of you the most beautiful and joy filled Christmas, Hanukkah, holiday, and/or weekend! Hugs to all, Anita

Friday, December 23, 2011

3 Challenges Christmas Tag

Hello again today!!! I wanted to quickly do one more project before Christmas, and then take a little break for a couple of days. Hels Sheridan, from the Sunday Stamper, has a challenge this week to show a Santa Claus. Simon Says Stamp and Show has a challenge to make a Tim inspired tag. Our Creative Corner has a color challenge to make something using pink, blue, red, and white. I really didn't know if I could handle this. Pink, Santa, and Tim inspired??? I gave it my best shot. It is not so grungy, but somewhat vintage. I really wanted to make one of Tim's trees that he blogged about this week. I loved that project! I tweaked it some to make a taller tree, and one that lays on a tag...not even possible without a glue gun, because I had to cut each rosette in half.  Kudos to the inventor of that!!!
I die cut 3 rosettes from the TH Alterations dies Paper Rosette and Mini Paper Rosette, using white cardstock. Only half way closed, I set each one in a glob of glue on my craft mat until hardened. I cut each one in half, making 6 now. Then I stacked them up biggest to smallest and glued them together.
cut a piece of Imaginisce Snowy Jo paper 1/4 inch smaller on all four sides than my jumbo sized manilla tag (4 1/4 in. x 8 1/2 in) in. The tag was coated in TH Distress Stain in Spun Sugar, and left to dry. I stamped the Christmas Carol music stamp from TH for Stamper's Anonymous Holiday Wishes Collection, using Ranger Jet Black Archival Ink. Then I stamped the Hero Arts College Music Background stamp all around the sides of my jumbo tag using TH Distress Ink in Worn Lipstick. I adhered the snowflake paper to my tag, and then ink around it with Worn Lipstick. I added a TH Idea-ology Reinforcer and inked it with Tumbled Glass. Then, I used a Uniball Signo pigment ink pen in White (my fav) and traced over the green snowflakes on the paper. I cannot have any green on this tag. Since my paper had glitter snowflakes in pink and blue, I added a little more sparkle with TH Distress  Stickles in Worn Lipstick and Clear Rock Candy.
I tied pink tulle, white webbed ribbon, and Tumbled Glass stained ribbon around the tag, and affixed a sanded rose gold Muse Token from TH Idea-ology. The sanding gave it a shiny quality that I liked. The transparency sentiment is from K&Company's Brenda Walton Evergreen Die Cut Collection. I adhered it with 3 glittered brads placed strategically on each dotted letter i.

Make Mine Vanilla!

I love that Paula Deen!!! My daughter is addicted to the Food Network, and I love it too. Ms. Paula made homemade vanilla extract once, and I thought that would be the perfect Christmas gift for family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and neighbors...24 to be exact. After all, I don't know anyone who doesn't use or like vanilla. I was shocked to learn that the pure stuff is 100% alcohol. I didn't even realize that it is made with alcohol. When I looked at the grocery store the best I could find was 60% alcohol. No wonder people always bring vanilla home from Mexico...they make the good and pure stuff!

I ordered Madagascar vanilla beans and bottles from Amazon for a very good price. After sterilizing the bottles I split 5 beans in half length wise, removed the tips and bottoms, and place them in the bottle. Then vodka (you can use rum too) was added to completely fill the bottle. You give it a good shake everyday and in about 4 to 6 weeks (6 to be safe) you have vanilla extract. You can fill the bottle with more vodka when it is about half full and keep making more a couple of times as well. When you have finished the vanilla up, you can remove the beans, dry them off, and place them into your sugar jar where they continue to give off their lovely flavor. It really is the gift that keeps on giving...for a while at least.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All White ATC

Hello All and Happy Holidays! Before I begin my post subject, I would just like to tell you that last night I was scrolling through the Simon Says Stamp and Show's blog, and caught my name. I read through and realized that 13 days ago I won one of the top three blinkies for my Diva Christmas Tree! I was in shock, this being my first to win a challenge, especially when there are sooooo many other projects that are far superior to my piddly tree. I have my blinkie proudly displayed though. Wow! Thank you to all the SSSandS team. I really am deeply honored!

This month at the All Things Tim Yahoo Group, the theme for the Monthly ATC Swap was an All White ATC Christmas style. I was concerned. I have never done anything all one know me! I had to email Sandy, the coordinator, and ask if a touch of silver was okay to accent with. She said yes...phew! I decided to make it into an ornament after I found some paper mache rectangle ornaments just a little bigger than an atc, for only $.50...what a bargain!
I die cut white cardstock and dotted ribbon with TH ATC die.
I attached the ribbon to the ATC with Glossy Accents.
I die cut mini reindeer from white cardstock and painted them with TH White Picket Fence Distress Crackle Paint. When dried, I heat embossed them with UTEE, and added wire ribbon around their necks.

I die cut mini trees using white glitter paper and painted them with TH Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint.

I painted the paper mache ornaments with TH White Picket Fence Distress Stain. Then I attached snowflake Tissue Tape to the sides and repainted with the stain.

I painted TH Christmas Sentiment Muse Tokens with Ranger Adirondack Paint Dabber in Snow Cap, then heat embossed them with UTEE. I also painted TH Memo Pins with the paint.

I slipped embossed paper with "North Pole" and an arrow into the memo pin, attached a star above the tree, added German foil lace, and a beaded snowflake to the ATC. I attached the ATC to the ornament, added a bow and token, and used Stickles to trim it out.

Vagabond Material Used- TH Alterations ATC & Corners and Snowflakes Texture Fade, Movers & Shapers Mini Pine Tree & Holly Set, and Mini Reindeer & 25 Set
Paper Used- Paper Mache Ornament; white cardstock from my stash; The Paper Studio Glittered Christmas Cardstock Pack; Celebrate It Wide Ribbon (white tulle with dots); 32 Degrees North Dresden Foil Lace in white; TH Tissue Tape in Tidings (snowflakes)
Coloration Used- TH Distress Stain in White Picket Fence; TH Distress Crackle Paint in White Picket Fence and Rock Candy; Ranger Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabber in Snow Cap; TH Distress Stickles in Clear Rock Candy; Ranger Stickles in Silver
Embellishments Used- TH Idea-ology Muse Tokens Christmas and Memo Pins; Mark Richards Metals Silver Star; beaded snowflake (can't find packaging); white wire ribbon from my stash

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From My Door To Yours...Merry Christmas!!!

Now that 12 Tags is over I am frantically trying to finish up making gifts, and preparing our home for guests. I also have not even attempted Christmas cards yet. It has been five years since I have sent out cards to everyone on our list, which is quite large. I have only sent a few to family. However, I had an idea for a Christmas card tag, so I have also been working on that the last few days when I can spare a much needed moment to create. I'll only make a few and send them out to family, because it is so time consuming. I envy and respect all of you who make every single one of your Christmas cards to send out. That is a real WOW!!! One year, I will try to do that, but I'm sure I'll have to start in April.

For this tag, I tried to replicate my front door, but in mini form. I used a jumbo manilla tag and die cut a frame into it to create the hole for the glass...or in this case, the plastic. I embossed a piece of plastic that was cut from a package, in a pattern to mimic the large version. I added 2 pieces of embossed and colored paper for the door panels. Hardware was added for the knob and key hole. The knob is actually made from a solid brass charm base with a hitch fastener glued to that. For the wreath I die cut two rosettes, colored them, and decorated. 

Here you can see the pattern in the plastic a little better.
I died the plaque with alcohol ink and added Crackle Accents, then embossed with UTEE.

Vagabond Materials Used-  TH Alterations Texture Fade in Wood Pattern; Sizzix Texture Fade in Damask Pattern; TH Alterations Die in Styled Labels, Mini Paper Rosette, Paper Rosette
Coloration Used- TH Distress Ink in Black Soot, Peeled Paint, Festive Berries; Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Forever Green; Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Black Magic; Ranger Stickles in Christmas Red, Golden Rod
Embellishments Used- Ganz 3D Stickers; Artchix Studio charms (key hole, charm base); TH Idea-ology Plaquettes, Hitch Fasteners; Ranger Inkssentials Memory Foil Tape in Brass