Friday, November 30, 2012

Tea and Tags

Last weekend, my friend Lorraine and I bought some Christmas tags from Christine at Primitive Heart in St. George, Ontario.  She told us she had stained them with tea prior to stamping them with red ink.  Such a simple idea but they look fabulous, don't they?

I immediately made some tea when I got home and started dunking plain manila tags into it.  I used two teabags and about 3 cups of hot water (from the tap as I was too lazy to get the kettle out!) in a small bowl.  In some cases, I thoroughly soaked the tags and other times, I just dribbled tea onto them by squeezing the tea bag or using a dropper.

I dried them in my dish rack.

I discovered that the colouring works best if you actually rub the tea bag on the tag.  Crumpling the tag either before or after it is wet results in cool lines and darker areas where the tea soaks in (see front tag in photo above).  The tea bag should be warm or hot (just be careful not to burn yourself), it doesn't seem to be as effective once it has cooled.  It also works well if you use a stencil.

I also stained some music paper, with excellent results:

It's definitely a process that I need to experiment with some more but in the meantime, I'm really happy with how mine turned out.  Here's a small tag that I then stamped using sepia coloured ink.

Lorraine has been experimenting as well.  She made me this beautiful tag for my birthday!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Birthday Celebration

On Tuesday, the day before my birthday, one of the things I did while passing the time at work, counting down until my date with Mr. Bond, James Bond, was celebrate my birthday with my co-workers.

When I arrived at work, I found my office had been decorated with a "Happy Birthday" banner across the doorway and several balloons.

My assistant Karin got me this button to wear and a gift card for one of my favourite stores.

Eight of us went out for lunch at a nearby Jack Astor's.  We sat in the Elvis booth.

Our waiter Ty brought me a free dessert.  Amazingly, Ty has the exact same birth day as I do!!  What are the odds of that??

My co-worker John took a picture of me that was supposed to include the sparkler on the cake, only it burned out while he fussed with the zoom, so it looks more like I have impaled Tinkerbell on a stick.  Oh well.

All in all, a lovely birthday lunch!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

I found this old photo of my brother Craig and I celebrating a birthday. I can't be sure if it was his cake or mine (are there two candles on the cake or three? We're only 15 months apart, so knowing the number of candles would help) but since today is my birthday, I'm pretending that it was mine. 

Looks like my brother just stuck
his fingers in the cake!
If you crop the photo just right, no one would ever know it might have been someone else's cake! ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bond, James Bond

I've got a date with this guy tonight:
Skyfall Daniel Craig 007

Finally going to see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall.  Can't wait!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Play Date at Bizzy B

Every once in a while, a bunch of us get together at Bizzy B to have a play date.  Which for us adults means bring your craft supplies and let's work on our journal pages together.  We hadn't gotten together since the spring, given that summer is a busy time for everyone, people away on holidays, etc., so when Barb suggested this past Sunday, I readily agreed.  Turns out, she had forgotten it was Christmas Club day (held on the 25th of each month throughout the year so everyone can get their homemade Xmas cards and projects made in a timely fashion without waiting until the last minute), so I was the only one working on a non-Christmas themed project.  How was I to know?!

No matter, I can handle a little teasing. It was great to just hang out together while everyone talked and laughed and I enjoyed seeing the Christmas projects everyone was working on.  Most of the ladies were making their own Christmas cards:
Susan, Shirley and Judy making cards
Daniza was attaching glitter to the tree Shirley had made by folding pages in a book:
Daniza adds glitter while
Shirley assists a customer in the background
Kelly was gluing glitter on a bunch of tiny little acrylic flowers which she is then going to adhere to a bunch of tutus she is making for a school play (for a production of The Nutcracker Suite, naturally!).  I wish I had taken a picture of flowers themselves, there were dozens of them, all pretty and sparkly!

Here's Barb holding up one of the little flowers, pre-glitter:

I worked on my postcards for the swap I am taking part in, all of which got finished in plenty of time for me to mail them off today.

It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, hanging out with a lovely bunch of ladies making cool stuff!  Why don't you join us next time?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Maggie Sleeps

Watching over two young kittens can be exhausting work and no matter how much Maggie seems to be enjoying having these young foster cats in the house, she does get tired.

Such a pretty girl, my Maggie cat.

Then she wakes up and wonders why I'm pointing the camera at her.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Near Paris and London

My friend Lorraine and I did some antiquing near Paris and London today.

Ontario, that is.  But we felt like we were in France when we went to the "A Day in the Country" sale in the Caledonia area (about an hour SW of Toronto) hosted by the lovely ladies Kim from Tattered and Torn and Kathy from Eclectic Pelican. 
The Quonset hut/barn where the sale was held.
They always have the coolest stuff and it's always beautifully displayed.

There was this strange white stuff on the ground in the area:

but the ladies were prepared for the suddenly frigid temperatures, with propane heaters helping to take the chill out of the barn.

After we picked up a few things there (I bought a couple of small vintage photo albums, some vintage greeting cards in a beautiful box, a very cool collection of songs and music written out by hand and some letters and envelopes written by soldiers in the World Wars.  One spoke of bathing in a stream with the dead bodies of men and horses in it, I couldn't buy that one, it was too sad), we headed to a little town called St. George to visit Christine of Primitive Heart.

She has the cutest house with a white picket fence:

and a beautifully decorated porch.

Behind the house is a small building which houses her store, which is even cuter:

It was cold enough for one to be tempted into purchasing these long johns on the porch, but I'm pretty sure they were just for display.

Inside everything was festively decorated for the Christmas season.  It was so beautifully done, I actually started to get in the mood, after weeks of saying "it's too early to be thinking about Christmas!".

We found a few more treasures there as well as in a consignment shop on the main street (old books for half price, a Vivien Leigh paper doll book (including the Gone With The Wind curtain outfit!) and packages of cotton quilting squares in every colour of the rainbow for only 50 cents a piece!), followed by a visit to the local pub for lunch before it was time to head home.

Definitely a lovely way to spend a chilly Saturday in November!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

Seeing as we Canadians had our Thanksgiving about 6 weeks ago and it always falls on a Monday, I'd never paid much attention to Black Friday before.  But this year, not only was it a big topic south of the border, it seems all sorts of Canadian retailers were also having Black Friday sales and doing a lot of advertising about it.  So it was on my radar but I thought I was going to be able to resist temptation, until I got an email from Freckled Fawn around lunchtime which contained this photo:

Of course I clicked on the link and of course I was intrigued by their offer of 5 mystery rolls of washi tape in a grab bag for only $12 (regular price $20), the only advance clue to the purchaser being the choice of colours or style - pink/purple, blue/black/green, red/yellow/orange/pink or letters/numbers.

I succumbed.  I ordered one of each of the last two, which means 10 new rolls of washi tape will soon be making their way to my mailbox. Suddenly Black Friday has an all new, colourful meaning for me!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Postcard Swap

I signed up to take part in a postcard swap, organized by Hanna Andersson.  You can read more about it here.  Basically, you make 5 postcards, send them out to the names Hanna provides - they are to be in the mail by next Monday, November 26th - and receive 5 postcards from others who have done the same.  Today's the last day to sign up, if you interested (and who wouldn't be?!). 

My friends Laurie and Kym are signed up too (that's how I heard about the swap) and we're going to make a few extra cards to send to each other as well (assuming we don't get each other's names as part of the swap, that is!).

Of course, I can't reveal the finished product just yet, don't want to spoil the surprise for those who will be receiving them, but here's a little peek at the cards I'm making:

(I'm using a template Hanna provided on her blog, which I printed out on cardstock. Thanks for that, Hanna!)

I'll be sure to share pictures of the cards I receive when I get them.  I'm looking forward to finding these pieces of handmade art in my mailbox in the next week or two!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nathalie's Über*Media Acrylic Paint Book

This past Sunday, during the 3rd class taught by Nathalie Kalbach at Bizzy B, we learned various techniques to use on our journal pages.  We made about ten pages over the course of several hours and at the end, Nathalie showed us how we can bind them together as a journal.  We have the option of either continuing to complete the journal pages or leave them as a technique book, which is what I might do with mine (haven't quite decided yet).  Since it wouldn't be fair for me to tell you all about the actual techniques and give away Nathalie's secrets (you'll need to take her class to find out!), I'll just show you a few of the photos from our day. 

As we worked on our pages, we hung them up to dry while we worked on the next.  The store has these very handy clothes lines strung up for exactly that purpose.  Here's Shirley and Colleen, hard at play.

Here's my seatmate Dianne, having a laugh:

As you can tell from her expression, having a large container of clean water for her paint brushes makes Nathalie a very happy girl!

I took a lot less photos on Sunday, mostly because Nathalie kept us very busy.  All in all, it was a great weekend.  My brain was total mush by the end of both days, must have been the strain of absorbing all the new information.  We had so much and I'm really thrilled with the artwork I made.  Can't wait until the next time Nathalie comes to visit, hurry back Nat!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Seasonal Canvas

The second class I took with Nathalie Kalbach at Bizzy B this past Saturday was called "Season Canvas".  We made a multi-textured piece after choosing one of the four seasons as our subject.  Nathalie had two samples, summer and fall. 
Nathalie Kalback
I had decided in advance that I wanted to do winter, since that season is just about upon us, but I wasn't sure I wanted the word "winter" on mine so when Nathalie suggested we could use other words, I decided to go with the word "believe".  As in, I believe spring will eventually come around again (I'm going to need to hang onto this thought!).
My finished canvas
We layered many different things on our canvas but here is the most unusual object, that I would not have thought of on my own:

Yup, that's right - egg shells!  Here's the proof on Nathalie's picture:

Here's the whole class with our finished (or in my case, almost finished) creations:
Back row (L to R): Vicki, me, Laura, Nathalie, Kelly, Chloe, Marg and Diane
Front row (L to R): Brenda and Carol
This class was a lot messier than the altered book class in the morning and by this time, we were getting into the groove and getting a little sillier, so there were more shenanigans:
Laura using not 1 but 2 heat guns!
and more laughter.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and everyone was excited about what they made, which is always the best way to end any class!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Bunch of Book Nuts

The first class Nathalie Kalbach taught at Bizzy B this past weekend was how to alter a book. 

Here's the book I started with, a small volume measuring about 4 inches wide by 6 inches tall, entitled "Lorna Doone", written by Richard Doddridge Blackmoor (I just looked it up on Wikipedia -  according to this writeup, it was first published in 1869 and has never been out of print since then! Who knew?).  As you can see from this photo, the front cover was quite a bit faded compared to the darker green of the back cover.

I bought this book because of the "C" on the front cover (in honour of the publisher Collins, I believe). I think I picked it up at an antique store for $1.00.  Hopefully I didn't just cut up a valuable edition of this book!
My tablemates cutting their covers
After Nathalie showed us how to cut a window in the front cover, she taught us various ways of decorating both the cover and the inside pages, using the kit she had supplied which was full of fabulous Prima products and just about everything we would need - decorative papers, glue dots, lace, flowers, double-sided tape, etc.   We also used paper punches and folding techniques to make pockets and embellishments for our pages.

Here are my fellow students, eagerly absorbing everything Nathalie was demonstrating:

It was only a 3 hour class so we didn't have time to finish our books within that time period, which is just as well, because decorating them is such a fun process, you don't want to rush it.  I spent about an hour on Sunday morning working on it, putting in several photos from the class that I had printed out on my POGO printer the night before, to make it a momento of our class.  I called it:
inside front cover
Here's a peek at what my book looks like at the moment, but I still have more pages to decorate, more fun to be had:


This photo of my tablemate Marg is from the afternoon class
but I wanted to include a picture of her in my book,
she was such a lot of fun during class.
She had travelled all the way from Newfoundland!
I really enjoyed doing this project, looking forward to making some more altered books using the techniques I learned from Nathalie!!
This pretty design is from the
inside covers of the book.