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Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's Your Craft Legacy?

What's your craft legacy?  Have you ever really thought about it?  Who or what in your memories or in your childhood influenced you to create?  It may have been your parents, your aunt, or uncle, or your elementary school art teacher...someone inspired you to create...to make "something out of nothing."  

I come from a long line of "makers" all of whom influenced me in some way.  Until a generation ago, we were farmers and crafts people.  One of my greatest "influencers" was my great grandmother.  

Born in 1889, my great grandmother lived in a time and place where "making" was a necessity. Nearly every piece of clothing, every curtain, anything that was used in the home was made by hand.  She was skilled in sewing, lace-making, crocheting, and quilting, Bertha Isabelle Gray-Stone was an accomplished crafter. 

Photographed here on the farm in Kentucky in November of 1918 with her children and her sister Ivy, it's likely that she sewed most of the clothing for everyone in the photo.  And typically, those clothes were handed down to the younger ones in the family...and after those clothes no longer fit anyone in her growing family, they were relegated to a bin to be cut up for quilts. 

She quilted throughout her nearly 100 year life and created a body of work in quilts that tells her family story, stitch by stitch and piece by piece. 

  During the summer, tending the garden and preserving food was the priority.  Winter was the quilting season.  Every year, Bertha and her sisters and daughters cut 1000's of pieces of scraps to be sewn together and quilted. Some of my earliest memories of visiting my great grandmother are of sitting around, with piles of fabric, cutting and piecing.  And often, they let me cut pieces to be quilted.  Small geometric paper patterns were pinned to fabric pieces to be cut out.  After the pieces were cut, they were stacked into neat piles of pieces that were later hand pieced together.  Sometimes I was allowed to cut,other times I got to count...and there were usually 300 or more pieces per pile.  After the required number of pieces were cut, the stitching and piecing began.  Each piece, sewn by hand, was joined to another piece, creating larger blocks that would eventually be sewn together, kind of like a family that expands and grows with each marriage and birth. After a careful study to determine which colors and patterns looked best side by side, blocks were laid out and the quilt design was developed. As I remember long discussions about which blocks to place together, and usually each was placed beside another that told a story of  family memories.  After the blocks were pieced together, large quilting frames were set up, and then the hand quilting began.  It was a a long process to quilt by hand and often neighbor ladies or friends from church would come to make the work go faster.  In turn, great grand mother would lend a hand when her friends were quilting their quilts.  I remember running around, and under the frames and getting in trouble for it more than once.  

Over the years, my great grandmother built up quite a collection of quilts.  She gave quilts as wedding and birthday presents and bestowed them on her children and grandchildren as they married and set up housekeeping on their own.  And to this day, family quilts are still used in my parents home...it's a comforting link to our collective history to rest under the warmth of these family treasures.
In the mid 1980's, as my great grandmother approached her 100th birthday, someone in our family had the presence of mind to document her quilt collection with photos.  The quilts were hung on lines between her house and the smokehouse and photographed.

Luckily, I discovered the photos in a box of photos over the holidays and scanned them so we'd have a digital record too.  Seeing the photographs after many years, made me think about my craft legacy and the influence my great grandmother had in making me a crafter.  Not only did I learn some technical skills like cutting and hand-stitching, but I learned lessons in composition and color compatibility too. And more importantly, I learned that objects and materials can be re-purposed and given a different life or use than that for which they were originally intended.  That's very important fodder for an artist; the ability to see beyond.

Photographed here when she was nearly 100 years old, my great grandmother stands in front of nearly a century of handmade family history, documented by small pieces of fabric that were lovingly selected, cut and stitched by together one piece at a time. My craft legacy is rich one; a legacy that reaches back a century, and influences me every day. I think it's the reason I love to distress surfaces, use old-fashioned techniques like accordion folding and quilling, and find ways to use vintage photos in my art. It's a connection I feel to my personal and family history. 

Have you ever asked yourself, "what is my craft legacy?" 
Who influenced you to create?  I would love to hear your answers and why....while our individual stories and legacies will all be different, we're all connected by the innate human need to create.  

Go make it a great day...create something!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Faux Embossed Leather Suitccase Album

Here's a fun mini album that I wanted to share today...that is basically distressed folded paper and chipboard; it looks like an embossed leather satchel or suitcase and the 5x7 mini accordian album slides out to reveal your photos and memorabilia.  It's fun to create and fun to share.  

I started out by creating a 5x7 accordian album.

The album is basically very easy to create, requiring only heavy cardstock or chipboard, some liquid glue and some creative scoring.  

Next, I created a suitcase with a piece of Coredinations French Roast colored cardstock cut to 12"x7" and scored to create a simple folder.  I embossed the cardstock with Spellbinders Imperial M-Bossabilities Folder, sanded it to reveal the core color of the card stock,  and folded it over, and glued it in place to form the suitcase.  

I "clamped" the edges together with paper clips to hold the glued edges in place until they had dried thoroughly.

After the adhesive had dried, I created straps as faux closures and a handle with the same card stock.  

I inked the edges with Quick Quotes Chalking Inks, Mocha Mama. 

This image shows the suitcase with the mini-album extended from inside.  

While the glue was drying on the mini album suitcase, I created a few embellishments and ephemora with Graphic 45 Boardwalk papers die cut and embossed with some of my favorite Spellbinder's dies.  

Here's a list of supplies and tools I used to create this mini album suitcase:

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine
Imperial M-Bossabilities Folder Side A
Spellbinders Romantic Rectangles
Spellbinders Office Supplies
Spellbinders Mix'd Media Elements
Spellbinders Labels and Tags
Graphic 45 On the Boardwalk Seaside Chic
Graphic 45 On the Boardwalk Coney Island
Graphic 45 On the Boardwalk High Style Holiday
Quick Quotes Powder Puff Chalking Ink Mocha Mama
Core'dinations Core Esssentials French Roast
Core'dinations Sand It Gadget
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue

And, when I'd die cut, distressed, and inked the all the emphemora and memorabilia, I affixed all the pieces behind one of the suitcase straps.  I loved how this turned out and I can't wait to work on the mini album that goes inside.

With the embossing, the sanding, the cool die cuts, this was an exciting project to design.  I hope you like it and please leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Thank you for stopping by!  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Love: Preserving Your Family Heritage

Christmas Love: Preserving Your Family Heritage

Today's post is part of Susuan K. Weckesser's Christmas Love Campaign. The campaign was started after Susan lost her father to cancer and her mission is to share love at Christmas time.  You can read her story at My Sweet Earth,  today, I am sharing a beautiful project that combines paper crafting, glass and metal and let me share some Christmas love with my family and share our family heritage at the same time.     
Preserving your family heritage is an easy way to show your family how much you love them,  lets you share stories and memories of loved ones who are no longer with us, and lets you discover together the intricate and often fascinating fiber that weaves us together into a rich tapestry of family love. 

At this time of year, we’re completely consumed with going to parties, shopping for presents…the decorating; the complete and utter chaos that envelopes us at Christmastime can be overwhelming.  And the real joy of Christmas is often overshadowed by the pressure to shop, spend, give…This year,   I made a very conscious decision to give “handmade.” There’s no better way to share your love than to share something made by your hand.  Sure, I have spent many nights cutting, gluing, soldering, painting and creating…but I’ve spent that time in the peace of my home surrounded by music, things and people that make me happy.  I have yet to go to the mall or visit one of those mega discount stores.  And I feel all the better for it.  In these very challenging days, giving handmade gifts, especially like the ones I am sharing with you today, will touch hearts and will let you preserve and share your family heritage.
This heritage project started in November, while I visited my parents in Indiana at Thanksgiving when my mother and I started scanning boxes of old family photographs.  As we were working through the piles I started to realize how very lucky we were to have this record of hundreds of photos and how special our family truly is.  We were farmers, we were workers and we were makers…life in rural America at the end of the 19th century was hard…money was dear, and usually if you wanted something, you had to learn how to make it…you might have guessed by now that crafting is in my DNA.
After the holiday, I returned home to Phoenix with the images in my mind…I love working with vintage family photos and really wanted to create some art objects that preserve the images in a decorative way, and in a way that would invite family story-telling and memory sharing. 
To share the images we’d worked on together, I decided to create some special Christmas ornaments that would be in character with life in rural America at the end of the 19th century and preserve our heritage in a way that could be enjoyed for many years to come and hopefully by generations to come. 
First I created photo transfers onto clear acrylic sheets.  This technique captures a transparent image. Anything you place the image on shows through the photo. 
Then using some spray paints and alcohol inks, I faux finished beveled glass pieces to give the effect of antique mercury glass. 
Next, I created mini collages using the images and scrapbook papers. 
Here, you’ll see the reversed side of the collage.  I used Graphic 45 paper and tiny elements using Spellbinders die templates and craft foils for a very vintage look.  Ink and glitter also add a layer of instant age to the collages.
Enclose the collages between t layers of beveled glass then use copper tape to seal the edges and hold the solder. 
Apply flux and solder around each piece.   I’ve been really fortunate to have worked with Guiseppina "Josie" Cirincione, who has mentored and taught me some very cool soldering technique through this project.  Her book Solder Technique Studio: Soldering Iron Fundamentals for the Mixed Media Artistis an invaluable resource. 
Then to finish the ornaments, remove all residue with a spray bottle of alcohol, then apply liquid patina to the soldered area to age the metal. 
I added strips of antique saree ribbon to hang the ornaments.  The look is elegant and harkens to the fact that crafters or makers generations ago used strips of old clothing or fabric strips to create yarn or string.
Each one of these ornaments tells a story, stories of my grandparents on their wedding day, stories of my great grandmother and great grandfather and their lives on the farm in rural Kentucky.  I love looking at the ornaments, each one is a treasure.  It’s been a real joy to create them and a privilege to share them with you. And I am really looking forward to sharing them with my family this week over the holiday…I expect we’ll get to tell stories to my nieces and nephews about days and times that are long ago and far away…and I am really excited to share and preserve a small bit of our family heritage.  

Thank you again for letting me share this with you today during Susan K. Wessecker’s Campaign of Love.  It’s so important to share family traditions and to preserve our heritage, especially during the holidays.

Make sure you LIKE the Christmas Love Campaign on Facebook. Share your photos and stories there and you'll be entered to win a subscription of Canadian Scrapbooker. 
 Merry Christmas All…Make sure you create something beautiful today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Spelllbinders is Running the BIGGEST Contest They've Ever Hosted!

So I know you love craft supplies and I know you love contests!  And, I know you've been creating some awesome art this year...so why not enter.  It's so easy.  And you can win $5,000 of craft supplies to start the New Year.  Really, it's as easy as uploading a picture!  

Spellbinders is currently running the BIGGEST contest they've ever hosted to date!Spellbinders Explore Beyond Challenge: Craft to Win gives you a chance at a $5,000 Grand Prize Package from Spellbinders and their cross promotional partners! They'll also be choosing a 2nd place winner to receive a $1,000 prize package and a $500 3rd place prize package!  I'm sharing some photos below from Spellbinders Idea Gallery for your inspiration!  

How do you participate? It's easy!
Simply create an original project using at least two (2) Spellbinders dies. And get creative with it! Push your own creative boundaries...do something different. We'll be looking for those crafters and artists who have really taken on the challenge to truly "Explore Beyond".

Take photos of each step of your project. If chosen as a finalist... You'll be asked to submit these photos.
Submit a photo (of your finished project only!) to the appropriate Spellbinders Flickr Group.
Contest runs from November 26th, 2012 through December 26th, 2012 Midnight EST.

Official Rules:
You may enter more than once in multiple categories. Projects entered must be original. A total of twelve (12) finalists will be chosen. There will be two (2) finalists from each category. Finalists will be announced on December 27, 2012. Finalists will be asked to submit photos of the steps of their projects to validate their originality. Finalists will be asked to mail in their final original project to the Spellbinders office. Original projects must be received by end of day, Friday, January 4, 2013.

A celebrity panel of judges will review the twelve (12) final submissions and narrow it down to three (3) winners. Winners will be announced on Friday, January 11, 2013. There will be one (1) Grand Prize winner of a $5,000 prize package and the project will be featured at the Spellbinders booth at the Craft and Hobby Association show on January 12, 2013. There will be one (1) 2nd prize winner of a $1,000 prize package and featured on the Spellbinders blog. There will be one (1) 3rd prize winner of a $500 prize package and featured on the Spellbinders blog.
All federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners. By acceptance of the prize, winners agree without limitation to the use of his/her name, photograph and/or likeness for publicity purposes without any additional compensation. Winners agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the Spellbinders panel, which are final and binding in all matters regarding this event. Winners agree that the event and its representatives affiliates, agents, directors, officers and employees have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses or damages of any kind relating to or arising from this event or resulting from participation in this contest.Contest is not open to Spellbinders Employees, Various Team Members, or their immediate family members (Grandparents, Parents, Siblings, Spouses, Children).

So enter today...you could have a whole new stash of yummy craft supplies to ring in the New Year!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Handmade Card: Sending Out Love

Hi again blog friends, it's that time of year when we're all very busy with shopping, holiday parties, making Christmas cards, and celebrating the season, but with the tragedy this week in Connecticut, and the grief we're all sharing, I just wanted to take a minute to send out a little LOVE in the way of a simple handmade card.

Cardmaking does not need to be overly complicated or difficult.

To create this card, I used the Spellbinders Card Creator Die Templates to cut my layers.  Using the Card Creator you can Choose your design, Assemble your pieces, Refine your details, and you are Done.

Create the basic layers for the front with  Spellbinders Card Creator A-2 Matting Basics A and
Spellbinders Card Creator A-2 Fancy Postage Stamps.  They are prefect for A2 sized cards.  I used sheet music and a red and white dotted patterned paper to get this look.

Then lightly ink the edges to give the card a vintage feel.  I used Stazon Timber Brown.  It goes on easy and dries very quickly. Then I glued all the layers together.

Cool Cardmaking Tip:
Emboss your envelope.  It really makes your card pop.  Your envelope is like the "gift wrap" of your card. Make it special.  And it looks REALLY cool.

Next create a small address label for the address.  I used Spellbinders Card Creator A-2 Fancy Postage Stamps die template.  And lightly ink all the edges.

Then finish with a handmade Spiral Blossom and a sheer metallic ribbon loop.  It's very elegant. If you are concerned about a very dimensional flower on your card, here's a tip: before you affix your flower to your card, turn it upside down on your work surface and lightly mash it down with the heel of your palm.  It will flatten slightly and curl the petals back naturally, and gives you more surfaces to ink.

Tools and Supplies I Used:
A-2 Kraft Card and Envelope
Spellbinders™ Grand Calibur
Spellbinders Card Creator A-2 Matting Basics A
Spellbinders Card Creator A-2 Fancy Postage Stamps
Spellbinders Spiral Blossom One
Spellbinders Mbossabilities Venetian Side A
My Minds Eye 6×6 Paper “The Station”
Tsukineko StazOn Timber Brown
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist Almost Black

So, here's sending a little LOVE your way today...make sure to do something nice today...compliment s complete stranger, pay some one's toll, or say Merry Christmas to someone you don't know, hug a friend or call a dear old friend just to say hi,  just put a little love out into the universe...little ripples create big waves.

Sending love and hugs your way,