Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Seven+ Reasons Why Fall is the Best Season. Ever.

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall, and guess what!  I!  Love!  Fall!  Don't you?  PPPFFF, what am I even saying?  Of course you do!  But, maybe you have forgotten all the many reasons you love it, or, perhaps, you just want to know why I love it!  And so I shall tell you all the reasons!  And then you'll obviously have to agree that Fall is the best season.  Ever.

1.  It is beautiful to behold!
  • Colors - All the colors of Fall are just so...scrumptious!  Seriously, this is one of the biggest reasons I love this season so much.
    • Goes with deep purple (best color ever!) - Yes, deep purple is my favoritest color!  And Fall looks SO good with it!  I think so, at least.  I'm aware that not everyone agrees with me on that.
    • Goes with my hair - And well, who wouldn't love that?  I mean, a whole season to match your hair?  Yes, please!
  • Leaves - See this picture here, the one right below?  Yeah, that one.  Isn't it amazing?  I took that last Fall in Tennessee.  This is what I love.
2.  It smells beautiful to the nostrils!
  • Air - Have you ever stopped to smell the roses?  Just wondering.  Have you ever stopped to smell Fall?  It's 10x better!  Literally, just go outside in the middle of Fall, and sniff.  I'm thankful to God for the gift of Fall for our nostrils.
  • Food - To tell you the truth, when I think of traditional Fall foods, pumpkin pie is the first thing that pops into my head, and I really don't like pumpkin pie.  But other foods, like...
    • Warm drinks - Okay, not even a food, I know.  Not like I actually drink warm drinks all the time anyway.  But the idea is nice, y'know?  (I talk more about this down ther' under numbah four.)
  • Fire - Doesn't fire smell so good?  Perhaps not if your house is going up in flames, but y'know.  Usually it's a glorious smell.
3.  It feels beautiful on the skins!
  • Cool weather - I'm a warm-natured person, so I really enjoy this.  Other people, however (eg. my mothah), don't like this so much.  And along with the cool weather, comes...
    • Rosy cheeks - Small point, but so enjoyable.  And we don't get to enjoy the enjoyableness if we don't go outside in the wonderful cold and play in the leaves and run around and stuff, which is wonderful in itself.
    • Start of fire building season - Okay, so, we actually haven't done many fires the last couple of years, but I have good memories of having warm fires in the family room, and standing right in front of the left vent because it's warmer than the right, hogging the heat, being freezing after moving away...funny how I somehow don't have many memories of really making one myself...
  • Breeze - Bring on the breeze, please.
  • Clothes - Yeah, I like to wear clothes in the Fall.  HAHAHA I'M SO FUNNY.  What I meant was, I prefer Fallery clothes to Summery clothes.  And sadly, I can't wear Fallery clothes in the Summer.  Why do I love Fallery clothes?  (See below.)
    • Cozy - Cozy clothes are the best!  Just because I'm warm natured doesn't mean I don't like to be warm.  Quite the opposite!  I like the climate to be cold so that I can wear warm clothes.  Make sense?
      • Start of bathrobe wearing season - I own three bathrobes, and each one is special to me.  They're fuzzy and soft and smell oh, so good.  (But somehow I'm the only one who thinks that?)
    • Fashionable - Also Fall clothes are so fashionable, I think.  I much prefer them to Summery apparel.
      • Boots - My gray boots are probably my favorite pair of shoes.  They're almost up to my knees, and they have heels, and they have straps around the ankle and up towardser the top, and the toes are rounded, not pointy, and as I said, they're gray, which is such a good color for boots, and they match almost everything, and they are JUST SO STYLISH.
      • My favorite shirt - is a soft, long sleeve, darkish but not navy blue, uber comfortable piece of clothing, and it's not even absolutely necessary to wear a cami, which I think is superb!  It's so fashionable that I can wear it to church, but I love it so much that I also wear it to my ever'day life.  If I was a cold-natured person, I could probably wear it in the warmer months too, but I ain't cold-natured.
  • Leaf Pile - So...actually this does not feel good on the skins...It's quite the scratchy situation.  But this was the best category to put it in.  Let's say the memories of leaf piles feel good nestled up in your brain.  :)
Yes, that's me, in the midst of jumping.  And that is my little bro in the tree.
4.  It tastes beautiful on the tongue!
  • Warm drinks - I don't actually consume warm drinks often, but when I do...
    • Hot chocolate - Yummy.  It's chocolate.  It's good.
    • Tea - This is one of those things I occasionally drink, but don't enjoy it enough to drink all the time.
    • Cider - We don't get this often, but it's fun when we do.
  • Apple Pie - Not like you can't make this any time of year, but it's usually around Fall when we do.  Also chocolate pie, which is even better than apple, but that's not traditionally Fall-y.  (Wanna split a pi'?)
5.  It sounds beautiful to the ears!
  • Wind in the trees - Go listen to it, and take in the wonder.
  • Laughing - So this isn't something that only happens in the Fall.  For me, it happens every!  Single!  Day!  But with the coming of the holidays, come siblings from faraway lands, and with them come old stories and good vibes and...laughter.
  • Fire - Crackling embers, hollow wind out the window, tea kettles screaming on the all goes together so nicely.  Alright enough of the cheesiness.  (Heehee, does it worry you that this is the third time I've mentioned fire?)
6.  Holidays!
  • Reformation Day - Which is on the same day as Halloween, isn't that funny?  But we don't celebrate Halloween!  Instead we celebrate the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the church, and began the Reformation.
  • Early Christmas - For several years now, our neighbor and we have celebrated this holiday we made up, called Early Christmas.  We play in the leaf pile, traditionally (although I don't much anymore) roll down the ramp with roller blades, eat popcorn, and listen to Christmas music.  Oh yeah, and this is at the beginning of November.  Hence, Early Christmas.
    • Anticipation of Christmas - Can we please all agree on the simple fact that anticipation of Christmas is almost as wonderful as Christmas Day itself?  And one of the reasons for that is...
      • Gift preparing - Anyone else out there who enjoys preparing Christmas gifts?  So fun.
  • Thanksgiving - OOH FOOD.  Me like.  Plus family, good memories.  All that.
7.  *lies through teeth*  It is less stressful!  No, but seriously!
  • Minimal traveling - Not sure how accurate this is...we always travel for Thanksgiving (except for last year), and we have gone to a Fall conference in TN last year and 2013, and I'm sure there are other things...but, in comparison to, like Summer...
  • Extra hour of sleep - Haha, no, not every night.  But during the time change, we get an extra hour of sleep instead of losing one.
  • After camp ends, but before preparing for next year - Please don't misunderstand me here, especially fellow camp people.  I love camp, but it is also kind of (very) stressful for me.  It's relieving to have that time in between where I don't need to be preparing for it.
One of my first pics after discovering the wonders of manual focus.

This post had been in the making for over a year before being presentable to y'all today.  Of course that doesn't have anything to do with the fact that I didn't work on it for months.  It was only because there are sooo many reasons, and I wanted to list them in a clear and defined way, and connect the ones that are connected, and not let it all be a jumbled mess.  It may still be a jumbled mess anyway.  Heehee.

If your favorite season was already Fall, then good job, even though it's not surprising!  If not, did I convince you?

What is your favoritest season ever?  What could you add to the list?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

How to Construct a Painted Bead Necklace at Eleven PM on a Saturday Night

July 9, 2016.  Eleven o'clock pm.  I'm in my room, about to take on a three and a half hour project: making a necklace to match my outfit for the next morning, and I haven't even showered yet.  Because when inspiration strikes, YOU'VE GOT TO GRAB IT BY THE NECK AND HOLD ON TIGHT AND NOT LET GO, because if you do, IT MIGHT LEAVE YOU FOREVER!  So I did not let go.  (But just so you know, I don't recommend staying up that late.  Especially on a Saturday night.)

I specifically wanted to make a necklace that would match my outfit in the morning, and there was no way I was going to postpone wearing that outfit to another day, because I already had it all picked out!  Do you know how much planning goes into picking out a Sunday outfit?  (Okay, actually this one didn't take much planning.  It was just a dress.)

Get yo' supplies!  My supplies included:
Pearly white beads, different sizes
Smallish rocks
Glass jar
Green acrylic paint (or whatever color you want)
Elmer's liquid glue (not pictured)
Clear stretch cord
Round acrylic paintbrush.
Foam flower (not pictured)
Itty bitty glass beads in a color that goes with the paint

My supplies did NOT include:
White acrylic paint.  Why I put it in the picture, I don't know.  But give me a little grace here - it was like 11:30 by this point, probably.  I was tired.
The first* thing I did was to go outside and gather a few smallish rocks from the driveway.  I washed them off, and put them in a jar with the beads.  And...I SHOOK THAT JAR LIKE I MEANT IT!  Because I did mean it.

*Actually the first thing I did for this project was fiddle and tinker and mess around with different things to use for the necklace, until I found these beads, and was like, "Ah, perfecto!  I shall use them, with Rebecca's permission because they belong to her!"
But...apparently I shook it a little too hard.  The jar broke.
But!  The shaking worked, nonetheless!  I shook them a little more in another jar, gentler this time, and then they were ready.
All I had to do was peel the pearly white finish off of each. and every. individual. bead.  Noooo, not tedious at all!
After all the pearliness had been stripped away from those poor beads, I decided to shake them up with rocks one last time, to sand them.
Squirt!  Goes the paint.  Into the little white bowl thing.
Paint!  Goes the brush on the bead, which is on the toothpick.
Done!  Go all the little beads after they've been painted.
Alright, alright, alright (watch the video.  The whole thing, but especially 29 seconds in).  When they are all painted (and dry), mix together a wee bit of water with more than a wee bit of glue, and glaze every bead.  This is to minimize the chance that the paint will come off (refer to bottom of post for some important words on this topic).
The glue will take a bit longer to dry than the paint.  Ooh, and really important note here if you care about your brushes!  Please please please wash out all of the glue from your brushes!  Even if you don't care about your brushes, do it because I care about your brushes!
Because gravity is a thing, the glue will drip to the bottom, so there will be wet glue at the bottom of the bead, while the top is dry.  Like this:
In order to keep the glue from drying on the toothpick (and peeling off when you remove the bead), you'll want to flip the bead over before the glue spot at the bottom dries.  Like this:
HEY!  Would you look at that!  After only, like, two hours or something, the beads are done!
Now we've got to string them onto the elastic string.  Cut the elastic to whatever length you want.
It took me a long time and many tries to get a pattern of beads that I liked, because there were two sizes: big, and smaller than big (as you can see from the picture up yonder).  I wanted it to look random, but also consistent.  (I'm a woman - I'm hard to please.)
Playing around with a favorite letter of mine*...
*I'm not saying it is my favorite letter.  I don't think I have a favorite.  But obviously it's gonna be one of my favorites.

After all that, the necklace wasn't long enough with only the painted beads, so, for like the tenth time, I took them off the elastic (but made sure they stayed in the right order), and I put a little bitty glass bead in between each painted bead.
A note about these glass beads: aren't they pretty?  And also, see how they're not the same color as the painted beads?  This at first irked me, but they were the the best option of all the glass beads my sister owned,* and as it turned out, it worked quite well since the dress I wore the next day had many colors.

*I don't make jewelry.  I don't own beading supplies.  My sister doesn't often make jewelry either. But she has beading supplies.
Once there was a little bead between each painted bead, I still wanted it longer, so I added more little beads on the ends.
I added about two inches of little beads on each end.
When it was as long as I wanted it, I slipped one end of the elastic through one side of the hole in a little bead, and the other end of elastic through the other side of the same hole.  Like this:
Then I pulled it tight and knotted it.  I realized after wearing it the next day, that I should have pulled the elastic tighter.  I didn't want to pull it tighter and stretch it out, but it was going to stretch out anyway, by hanging around my neck.  So pull it tighter than you think you need to.
I knotted it a couple more times, than snipped off the leftover elastic!
I have this other necklace that I did not make, that I thought would look good paired with my homemade necklace.  I ended up just wearing the other necklace as a bracelet instead, but still, they look pretty snazzy togever.
So fashionable.  While I'm bragging about its fashionableness, I suppoooose I should also tell you about something not so grand.  Being, I wore the same outfit to my cousin's wedding last weekend, and ALAS!  When I was unpacking from the trip, I noticed to my VERY GREAT dismay that the paint been *gasp* dare I say?  ScerATCHED from some of the beads!

Needless to say, I was PUT.  OUT.  Yes, it pains me to tell you.  Probably it never would have happened if I was carefuller in how I packed them.  So just keep that in mind if you make this necklace, and pack it carefully!
So tell me, lovely ladies of the world, would you wear this?  Have any tips for sealing it so it won't get scratched?  What color would you paint it?

P.S.  If you noticed that there are three places in this post where there should be a space, know that I know, and it bothers me to death too, but it won't let me add spaces there!  If you know what's going on and how to fix it, plz holp.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Make a "Things I Love About Coffee" Card

Long ago*, on a Google+ post, I was once told, "you need to make that into a card ASAP."*  Referring to:
*October 1, 2015
**Yes, I actually went and found that particular post on Google+ where that was said to me, so that I could type the words verbatim.  Which is why I also know the exact date of the transaction.

To which I replied that I would think about it, even though I don't drink coffee.  And so I did!  For nine months, I thought about it, until I finally made it a few weeks ago!

Of course, I didn't make it exactly like the original work, because, well, I don't know how?  Or I can't let myself make something the same as another has already made it?  What can I say?  I'm an artist.  I like to "make it my own," as people say.

Supplies for My Card
White cardstock card, roughly 7 inches tall by 4-1/4 inches wide
Slightly smaller piece of white cardstock
Lined paper (to copy)
Extra fine black Sharpie
Three mugs stamp (any mug stamp would work, or simply draw a mug, as in the original)
Black stamp ink
Brown stamp ink
Doily (can't get away from 'em!)
Silver eyelets
Now, all that looks like an awful lot of supplies.  I make things complicated like that.  But you can see from the original, that it really is not that complicated.  So, if you want, here are the supplies for the original card.

Supplies to Make the Original Card (Which Happens to Be Much Easier)
White cardstock card, same size as mine
Lined paper (to copy)
Extra fine black Sharpie

Wow.  So much shorter, amiright?  But I'm here to tell you how I made the card, not how to easily and quickly make it, like the original!  (Two totally different matters, you see.)  So let's get on wit' it.

You see the lined paper in the above picture?  I wanted to have lined paper in the card, because that's what the original had, so I copied a piece of lined paper onto a piece of cardstock, and made sure it printed in black and white.

But, alas, I was not satisfied.  For some reason...I didn't like that it was so...straight!  (Strange, for the OCD-ish person that I am.)  So, I re-copied it, but this time, I crookedinized (totally a word) the lined paper in the machine, so it printed out crooked!  (Note: to make it even better, you could crumple it up and then flatten again before copying.  I didn't even think of that when I was making it.)

Then I cut out a piece of the lined cardstock, just a wee bit smaller than the card base.  At the top, I wrote, "THINGS I LOVE ABOUT COFFEE."
This is the scribbled list of things to love about coffee, that I copied from the original.
Using the list, I wrote each point on the card, along with, "THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU" down at the bottom!
I didn't care if I messed up, since it was supposed to look all hand-written and stuff.
Here's the mug stamp and the black ink I used.
I inked it only partway, because that's all I would need at this point.
Then I stamped it down in the open area near the bottom right corner, and also up in the top left corner, after I inked the other side of the stamp.  Make sure to have a piece of scrap paper underneath when stamping off the edge like this.
And then I stamped the heart stamp in black in the top right corner, left middle-ish, and bottom right-ish.  I also re-stamped the hearts in brown, over top the black hearts.
That's when I realized that I missed the "coffee" in the second point.  I freaked out a little in my brain at first, but then I remembered:  It is okay.  And I just added it back in with an arrow!
Now it's time to use another doily!  To make this doily brown, I just rubbed it all over with my brown ink pad.  Usually it annoys me that it's such a light brown, but it worked spiffily for this!

Line it up along the top right edge, and with the edge of your scissors, score a line along the edge of the paper.  That's where you'll cut it.
Do the same for the bottom left corner.
Now all we need to finish up this card is a few eyelets!  I used eight silver eyelets in all.
Punch the holes, insert the eyelets, glue the panel onto the card base, and you're done!
I thought it looked a little busy, and still think that, but again, I'm deciding not to worry about it.  Can you think of any other points that could go on this card?
Wouldn't this be adorable to send to a coffee lover?  Do YOU like coffee?  How do you like to drink it?

P.S.!  Ooh, I am sooo so so excited about this!  Jennie Moraitis' PAPERBACK book, The Creative Retreat, is out, and I was SO excited to find it waiting for me in its pretty pink package when I got home from camp!  And do you know what's exciting about it?!  (Many things, but one of them is this.)  I'm IN it!  I am so honored to know Jennie enough  that she would ask me to be a contributor to her book.  Learn more about the book HERE!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Make a Springy Watercolor Card

Do y'all remember when I guest posted for Jennie at Little Girl Designs?  Welp, I hope you enjoyed it, because I get to re-share that post with you today!

That was back in the Spring time, so this card was fitting.  Now, we're approaching Fall already (don't know whether to cry or jump for joy), and this card doesn't really match the season, but it's okay.  Someone could use a Spring card any time of year!
White cardstock
Molotow art masking liquid pump marker (what I have) or liquid frisket
Watercolor paper
Tissue paper
Sticker maker (if you have one)
Extra-fine light pink marker (I prefer sharpies)
Liquid glue (I specify liquid, because that's what I use and prefer, but really you could use whatever type of glue you want that actually works; I don't think glue sticks work well)

If I was making this card in the most efficient manner, I would do the masking liquid part first, so that it could dry while I cut out circles, but that's not actually the order I did it in, so I won't organize this tutorial in that way.

The first thing I did was cut out three circles from white cardstock.  The circles should be of varying sizes.  They need not be exactly the size of mine, but to give you an idea of how big each should be, my biggest circle has about a 2-3/4 inch diameter, the middle about a 1-3/4 inch diameter, and the smallest a 1-1/8 diameter.
That being said, I think it might look a little better if the biggest circle was a bit smaller, and it probably wouldn't hurt if the middle circle was a little smaller too.  To get the circle shapes, I traced around various circular objects I found in my room, which you could do, or you could use a compass.  Either would work.

I set the circles aside, and got out my trusty art masking liquid.  Liquid frisket was on my Christmas list, but instead I got this stuff, which seems to work just fine!
Before drawing with the pump marker onto watercolor paper, we need to cut out the watercolor paper first, of course!  I cut mine to 2 inches by 4-1/2 inches.  I think it actually would look a little better if it was slightly smaller, but it works fine.
After that's cut to size, we can start on the fun stuff!  The first time I made this card (nope, this isn't the first time), I wrote the words, "HEY, YOU," in the same font as I did here.  In other words, all caps, and with the scallop border too.  Wait for that to dry before heading onto watercoloring.
This is one of my favorite parts because it's fun, easy, and beeyoooootiful.  For the watercoloring, I usually, without wetting the paper first, start with pink (not sure why - you certainly don't have to!), dab it in the top left corner and then dab on the orange, and then light orange, and just go back and forth between those three, until it's all covered!

My art teacher has talked about this thing that happens with watercolors, called a blossom.  It just means that when you paint an area and it dries and then you go back and continue painting, it will be obvious where you left off, because there will be a sort of mark.  A lot of times when painting a picture, blossoms are bad, but with things like this, I think blossoms are a good thing, and I love the way they look!

After that's all dry, you can rub off the masking liquid to reveal the white of the paper!  Because of this, feel free to go kind of dark with the watercolors so when you rub off the stuff, there will be an obvious difference.
Note: When I used this masking liquid for the first time, I thought you were suppose to peel it off when it was dry (because that's what the directions say to do), so I got quite frustrated when it wasn't working.  After a while I just started rubbing it out of frustration, and was overjoyed to find it came off!  So if you get this stuff for the first time and it doesn't work to peel, then rub.
I have a mesh drawer under my desk full of tissue paper that I've collected over the years.  I don't use it that often, but it certainly comes in handy!  To stay with the color scheme of pink and orange, I used orange, light pink, and hot pink.  These will be used to cover the circles we cut out earlier.  Hot pink for the biggest, light pink for the middle, and orange for the smallest.
Cut out a square from each color, that is each a little bigger than the circle it will cover.  Carefully insert each square of tissue paper into your sticker maker and roll until they emerge out the other side!  Individually peel each piece from the backing, and stick the circle on.  I like to leave part of the tissue paper still on the backing while I stick on the circle, because it curls up really easily, and is difficult to uncurl because of the stickiness.

Note: Of course it is not hard or time consuming to erase the pencil lines around the circles, but if you want to eliminate that step, be sure to lay the circle down on the tissue paper with the marked side facing you, not the tissue paper, so it doesn't show through.  Especially do that if you used a pen!
Once the circle is safely on the tissue paper, pull the leftover down on the back.  I like to do it in a nice orderly fashion, but who cares - no one's going to see it!
If you don't have a sticker maker, perhaps you could squirt some liquid glue on your finger (or the circles) and rub it all over the circles and then stick on the tissue paper squares.
I had my blank card set aside this whole time.  Once all the previous steps are done, you can go around the edge of the card with a light pink marker and roughly draw a border with scallops.  Don't try to make it perfect.  In fact, try not to make it perfect!
I always like to put together all the parts of my card before gluing everything in place, so I know exactly what it'll look like, and can do any last minute touches.
When you have your circles in place as shown above, you can go around them with the scallop border like you did around the edge of the card.
Now adhere the circles in place, and put the sentiment over top!  If you do have a sticker maker, you could use that again here for the circles and sentiment, and it would make everything even more secure than liquid glue would.  I didn't because I don't like to use up my sticker maker cartridge if liquid glue works fine.
And it's done!  Since this is such a Spring-y card, I love the way it looks with the pretty flowers in the background.  :)  Now go make one of your own, and knock your pen-pal's socks off!
Heheh, this was one of the first pictures I took of this card.  Isn't it fab?

Have you ever used liquid frisket or this Molotow stuff I have?