{new and old} favourite tools in my studio this week

Friday, August 27, 2010

I just love it when I find a new tool to use for crafting. I picked up the crop-a-dile corner chomper when we were in the USA a few weeks ago ... I haven't seen it in Canada yet but I'm sure that it will be soon. I have a number of different crop-a-dile tools but this is my favourite one right now. I just printed off some new business cards for myself and used this tool to round off the corners ... something that would have taken me all night to do with my old corner cropper that did one piece of paper at a time ... this tool does a few cards at once and it is so easy to use.
I "borrowed" some of my husband's tools in his workshop to bend these vintage silver forks into business card holders for my desk ... they are quite fun to make so I have a feeling that I will be looking for some more forks to upcycle!
I'm helping a friend's daughter with her wedding ... she is getting married next summer and I'm making their wedding stationery. We have been looking for fabrics to use for the reception decor and from there I can figure out colours and design elements. I love my pantone colour books when I'm working on projects like this ... it helps me to figure out ink colours for printing. I was also soooo excited to find this really awesome book at the bookstore this week ... it is called "Drip.Dot.Swirl" and it is by Von Glitschka. It has 94 copyright free patterns in it to use for designing ... the book is so inspiring and there is a dvd at the back of the book with all of the art files. I'm not sure if I will use any of the patterns it in the wedding stationery but it has been very inspiring. I've been working in Photoshop a lot lately but I think that I may start playing in Illustrator for a while!
My husband bought me a new printer over a year ago ... we were having a problem finding inks and he bought the new one without me as a surprise. The new printer is a great colour printer but unfortunately it has a terrible scanner. I hate using it to scan so much that I have been avoiding doing any work that involves scanning. Well I've been drawing elements to be used for the wedding stationery all week ... I just LOVE my letraset bleed resistant paper pads and pigma art pens ... and I had to breakdown and use the scanner this morning. Let's just say that my printer is still not one of my favourite tools in my studio. With back to school just around the corner, I think that I'm going to start checking out the sale flyers for printers. I'm pretty sure that Kelly Rae Roberts mentioned the name of a printer/scanner that she uses to scan larger canvases in her e-course ... if anyone else has a recommendation for a good one - please let me know! 

love song

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i love this song ...
this is the song that my boyfriend played on his car stereo
the night that he asked me to marry him ...
this is the first song that i danced to with my husband
25 years ago today ... 
i love this song and more than anything,
i love my soulmate

this song ... Truly by Lionel Richie  ... do you have a love song too?

in the studio - sneak peek Friday

Friday, August 20, 2010

My friend, Jennifer, over at studio jru started this cool link party called "in the studio sneak peak friday". It's kinda like "where women create"! Jennifer asked us to show where we create and what we are working on ... so here we go ... here's my creative space .. my "studio" ... welcome!

My studio is on the main floor of our house ... the space was originally designed to be a dining room but when the house was being built we had the builder make some minor changes so that it could be used as a second main floor office space. I love my area and it is usually cleaned up every night before anyone gets home from work/school because everyone walks by my studio door.

Now I do have to admit that the vast majority of my supplies are in the basement on ikea shelves because I would not have enough space to "create" if ALL of my supplies where in here too!

Here's a bunch of shots around my studio space ...

... can you tell that we love antiques in our house? ... here's some more detail shots ...

can't imagine life without my computer ...

... some of my Somerset Studio magazines ...

... favourite scrapbooking albums are stored under an old sewing machine that I had converted into a table to hold one of my printers and my stereo ...

... I still have to hang pictures in my office ... so hard to pick which ones to hang - I'm thinking of a bunch of shelves so that I can "lean" art on the wall and change them up from time to time ... I love this print from Katherine Quinn (that still needs to be framed) ...

... I keep projects "organized" in piles or containers around my office ... some projects are waiting to be completed, some are waiting to be photographed for etsy and some waiting to be started!
 What have I been working on lately? ... I'm so happy that I just completed my quilt square (see above) for my "flying friends" quilt project last night. I just mailed it off to Sonya McCllough this morning and I'm hoping that she gets it in time so that she can start to put together a quilt for Kelly Rae Roberts' baby. I was originally going to add a bird to this design but I loved the way that the nest and three denim eggs turned out and so I left the mama bird out! I think that I may have to make another one of these for myself ... I had so much fun sewing the ribbons and yarns to make the "nest"!

I hope that you enjoyed the tour! You can visit other studios too by clicking on the in studio sneak peek friday button!

upcycling ideas for displaying flowers

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I love flowers! My husband and I have been collecting antique vases and other pottery made in the USA by companies like McCoy and Roseville for many years but I never use any of the vases to hold flowers.

Instead of using my vases, I love to find different ways to upcycle other containers to display flowers ... don't ask me why ... I just do! Here's a couple of ways that I added some fresh cut flowers to my cottage decorating while we were on holidays! 

I received these beautiful flowers from my mother-in-law and my husband's grandmother and I think that they were both a little surprised when I pulled out these six old bottles that I picked up at a the thrift store and started pulling the bouquet apart ...
you can see the flowers lined up on my kitchen window ... I love the way that the sun shines through the glass bottles and flowers. 

Here you can see that I painted part of an old metal bucket with blackboard paint. These sunflower, which came from our friend's farm (first picture), look casual and welcoming in this container on our front porch. I can easily change the message on the bucket with coloured chalk.

Do you like to upcycle containers to display flowers in your home too?
I'd love to know what you are doing! 

more "green" crafting at the cottage

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last week we did some crafting at the cottage while we were on holidays. It was fun to just pull out my scrapbooking supplies and let the girls do what they want. Robyn and her cousin Amanda were keen to try out some collages after I showed them some amazing collage ideas in the current issue of  Somerset Studio The Art of Paper and Mixed-Media magazine.  

I let the girls go through my stash of papers, old books and scrapbooking supplies on their own and only offered helped if they asked me. I really wanted them to come up with their own ideas and not to worry about what was right or wrong or what anyone else thought looked "good".  I think that they had a good time and they worked on their projects on and off for two days. 

On the second day, Robyn was happy that I pulled out some of my special scrapbooking supplies for them to use if they wanted. I keep a bunch of my favourite scrapbooking supplies in a spice rack that I upcycled a couple of years ago ... and I don't share these supplies with the kids very often. 
I bought this spice rack at Costco at least 10 years ago. It wasn't your ordinary spice rack - it came with 16  spice jars, can and bottle openers, measuring spoons and a bunch of other kitchen tools ... and the rack spins! Once the spices were gone and I grew tired of seeing the rack on the overcrowded kitchen counter I knew that I needed to find a new use for the spice rack and give it a "makeover" ... so I turned it into a "scrapbooking supply organizer".

I used bright coloured scrapbooking papers to decorate most of the wood on the rack. The hooks that originally held kitchen tools were perfect for hanging paper scissors and packages of two-sided tape.

I cleaned out the spice jars and decorated the tops with scrap pieces of cork and flowers that I made out of vintage silk flower petals and buttons. I was originally going to make up labels to decorate the tops but I knew that I would be constantly re-labelling the containers over the years and it was easy to see what was in each jar from the side. The jars are filled with rhinestones, buttons, brads and miscellanous scrapbooking elements that I like to use for cardmaking, scrapbooking, collages, etc. 

The top of the spice rack had a hole in the middle to hold wooden spoons ... I used a small clay pot to fill the hole and store a few spools of my favourite ribbons.

 Haley was inspired by the girls as they were collaging and decided to do a little "upcycling" of her own. She had a white chair in her bedroom that I picked up at a garage sale a few years ago ... she didn't like the shiny white paint on it and thought that it would look better painted in a flat sky blue. After painting the chair, she cut words and phrases out of a couple of the books that I use for collages and covered the seat in random pieces of paper ...
it turned out pretty cool and Haley is so proud that she came up with the idea all by herself!

sewing kit in a bottle

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here's a cute little idea I came up with at the cottage while we were on holidays. I found myself doing a couple of little sewing "jobs" and was getting tired of pulling out all of my sewing supplies to find a needle and thread. So I created a mini sewing kit using a vintage jar and an old tee shirt to keep in my craft cupboard.

Here's how I did it:

1. I took the top off the jar and used the metal ring as a template to cut out a circle from an old tee shirt. The circle was about 1" bigger than the metal ring. The tee shirt was a onesy that one of my daughters wore as a baby and had a cute embroidered carrot on the front and a bunny on the back. Note that I tried to centre the carrot in the middle of the circle. 
2. Next, I cut a second circle from a solid part of the tee that was slightly larger than the glass top.
3. Carefully, I sandwiched a piece of wool (cotton batting would work too) in between the two fabric circles and the glass top as shown in photo three.
4. I whip stitched the two circles together and
5. fit the finished piece into the metal ring to use as a pin cushion.
6. I decided to cut out the bunny from the back of the tee shirt with pinking scissors so that I could use the it  to store a few sewing needles inside the jar.
7. In the last picture you can see that I added some spools of thread, a fabric pencil, a measuring tape and my sewing needles to the jar ... now I just have to find a small pair of scissors and my mini sewing kit will be complete!

Somerset Studio GreenCraft magazine

Monday, August 9, 2010

We just got home from our summer vacation last night ... we had a great time and after two weeks of family fun at the cottage everyone was ready to leave the country and get back to the city and our regular routines.

I was so excited to find in our mailbox a copy of the autumn 2010 GreenCraft magazine by Somerset Studio. I knew that my vintage crystal ornaments were going to be featured in the magazine and I could hardly wait to look through the magazine and find my project. I was thrilled to see how they photographed my ornament. I knew that the photography would be amazing ... that's one thing you can always count on from any Somerset Studio publication ... but what I couldn't believe was how much of "my story" was included in the text ... thank you so much Jana Holstein for writing such a beautiful article!  

GreenCraft magazine is a newer publication of Somerset Studio ... it features so many great ideas for repurposing materials into art and ecologically chic creations and I really love that the magazine is printed on recycled paper! I have lots to do around the house this week but I'm now looking forward to my weekly doctor visit on Tuesday and some tests that I'm having done at the hospital on Wednesday because that's when I will have  time to sit and read my new GreenCraft magazine and get inspired!

Here's another picture of one of my vintage crystal ornaments that I took this morning.  Last night I was thinking that this week I will try to show you some of the "repurposed" projects that I made at the cottage while we were on holidays and I'll give you some step by step instructions for making these vintage crystal ornaments.