Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Texas - Time with Friends, Blue Bell Creamery, Bluebonnets and the Beach

We are staying on a Hotel by the Beach in Galveston, Texas as I write this blog posting!  We arrived in Texas on Friday and have had a great time.  We spent the weekend with our friends, the Heddens Family.  We had a great time bowling, at the drive-in movie, and the Houston Zoo.  On Monday, we drove to Brenham, Texas to tour the Blue Bell Creamery.  Our friend Charlie joined us at the tour and lunch.  It was great to see him.  Afterwards, thanks to a tip from our Blue Bell Creamery Tour Guide, we found a nice area with Bluebonnets!   Monday night, we spent time with the Wilson family.  We got to see Moira during her track meet.  Tuesday morning, we drove to Galveston, TX.  Among other things, we spent time touring a WWII Destroyer Escort and submarine, at the beach building sand castles, shopped on the Strand and  collected sea shells! 

Tomorrow, we plan on driving to San Antonio Texas to spend time with  June and Cindy.  By the weekend, we will all be in Austin, TX to spend time with David's parents and brother (his family). So far, it's been a great trip and are looking forward to spending time with our family and friends in the coming days!

Blue Bell Creamery, Brenham TX -- Alex

Texas Bluebonnets

Stewart Beach in Galveston, TX -- Laura & Alex

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Mix Media Canvas Tote

As we are on our way to Texas, I wanted to post the last canvas tote bag I created using the gel medium to recreate the fabric lining onto the canvas tote. Again, just like the totes from yestuday's blog posting, I loved mixing mediums. 


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break in Texas!

This August will be 5 years since we moved from Houston, Texas to Littleton, Colorado.  Although we love living in Colorado, we always look forward to spending time with our family and friends. We have many friends in Texas who are part of our extended  family and are very excited to be spending time with very soon!

So, it's only fitting that I create some Texas inspired projects.  First, in an effort to re-organize my craft room, I came across many decorative pins I wanted to display rather than leave in a box.  Previously, I created pin cushion for Staci's birthday...now, I created a Texas inspired pin cushion.  All the fabric I used for these projects are fabrics from Moda, Wildflowers IV.  Naturally, my Texas pin cushion was created using the bluebonnets prints.

Besides our friends and family, one of the things I miss about Texas is the wildflowers along the roads like Highway 290 during the spring.  Thankfully, there is a very good chance I will get to take pictures of  bluebonnets along the road. 


My tote bags were inspired by three things.  The wonderful Wildflowers IV Moda fabric, create ruffles with my ruffler attachment and Donna Downey.  Last week she had an entire week of inspiration videos.  During that week, she tried various techniques to work on a canvas journal.  Among other things, I learned how to use Golden's Gel Medium to create an image transfer onto canvas.  This inspired me to create my project using canvas....except, I used canvas fabric to create Texas Inspired Totes!

I took the fabric, scanned it to create an inkjet copy of the fabric.  Using the gel medium and inkjet image, I transferred a portion of the image onto the canvas material.  I love butterflies, so I had to include them.  I used my sizzix machine and the butterfly die to cut butterflies from the same canvas material.  And, inspired by Donna Downey's inspiration week, I used my Texas stamps, stazon ink pad, clear beads and black india ink brush pen to add layers to my canvas bags.   This felt more like an art project than a sewing project to me!  I hope my Texas friends like them too.

Fabric lining - Blueboonet & Indian Paintbrush Wildflowers -both found on East Texas Road!

This Texas inspired tote bag is slightly different.  Instead of writing bluebonnets, I wrote Wildflowers.  Mostly because the fabric lining for these totes has a wildflower print.

Moda's Wildflower IV fabric - assortment of wildflower print, including what I believe to be Columbine flowers...a new favorite since moving to Colorado.  I have seen them mostly in the  Mountains.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Alex's 7th Birthday Party

My son Alex's birthday is not until next Wednesday, March 23rd but we celebrated it a little early this year. In many ways, Alex  reminds me of my dad...stubborn but very sensitive.  Alex is extremely creative whether it's with paper & colored pencils or Lego's.  He also  loves music...actually, I think he actually feels the music.

So, today we celebrated Alex's 7th birthday with his friends.  We had the party at a local bowling alley.  Alex invited many of his 1st grade classmates and they all had fun.  My tradition is to decorate my kids birthday cakes for their birthday parties.  This year, the theme was Toy Story.  We have always loved all the Toy Story movies and when Toy Story 3 came out, all four of us were at the theatre the weekend it opened.  We loved it!.

This year's birthday theme was a natural choice since Alex's backpack this year is Toy Story! I spent hours looking for just the right on-line image to use for Alex's birthday cake.  Alex loves dinosaurs and naturally, one of his favorite characters in Toy Story is Rex.  I had concluded I would have to create my own image by combining Woody, Buzz and Rex using Adobe Photoshop Elements.  But before I had time to do this, I had to pick up Alex from school and as he is running to the car...what did I see?  His backpack with just the right image!

Alex's School Backpack

This was probably the most challenging of all the cakes I have decorated.  I was not even sure I could do it but I decided I had to try for Alex.  Alex was very happy with his cake, and so was I.  It took a long time to paint this onto the cake, but the time spent was well worth it given the joy it gave Alex.

Alex's Birthday Party Cake

 Another tradition is to create Popcorn wrappers and Hershey candy wrappers as part of the party favors.  I created these using images from the web and Adobe Photoshop Elements.  I love to personalize them with the birthday theme, age and picture of the my birthday boy or girl.
Popcorn and Candy Wrappers - Part of Party favors

Back of Popcorn and Candy Wrappers - Alex's picture blurred for blog posting

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Staci! Did you say 40?

Today is Staci's 40th Birthday!!  I always look forward to my friends birthdays because I get to celebrate with them.  I don't know who has more fun, them or me!   Staci's birthday helped get me out of a place where I did not feel creative.   I recently re-organized my scrapbook/craft  room.  Between felting, crochet flowers, fabrics/sewing, scrapbooking and painting I have A LOT of supplies!  Although I love all my stuff, it get's overwhelming and organization is key to my creativity.  During this re-organization, I was feeling overwhelmed and not creative at all. Realizing Staci's birthday was approaching was all I needed to get creative again.  I am not done with my craft room re-organization but I shifted gears and created some birthday gifts.

I love Sweetwater fabrics and their blog.  I am a member of their monthly label crew which corresponds to a monthly kit purchased at their Etsy store.  I put together the kit for February, you can see their blog here.   This is my first quilt style bag that I have created.  Most of Staci's birthday gifts will fit inside.

The next project was inspired by my craft room re-organization.  I love decorative pins and realized I have acquired an extensive collection.  I wanted to display them rather than just be in a box.  Recently, I went to Pier 1 and found these little appetizer dishes.  I saw something else, I saw pin cushions!  I took these dishes with me to Joann's and found styrofoam balls that fit inside.  I cut the styrofoam ball in half, covered it in fabric and lace....now, I have a pin cushion to display my pins.  Since Staci loves pins as well, I decided to give her one of these (along with the pins).
Staci also got me started on Estate Sales so it's appropriate I would make one of her gifts from a find.  Sometimes, on Friday mornings I will go to an estate sale that is near my home.  About two weeks ago, I found a package of these tart tins for $1.00 at an estate sale.   Again, inspired by my room re-organization, I created another type of pin cushion. 
I am also a fan of Jenni Bowlin  and recently saw a post on one of her blogs. Using tart tins, she created a box with a vintage wood thread spool.  I also found many of these wood thread spools at the estate sale several weeks ago.  Of course, that inspired my own version...I placed a little fun ring I found at Pier 1 for Staci inside this little "box".

Recently, I discovered Maya Road makes these large size bottle caps.  I think this one is about 3 inches.  You can see a post by Maya Road here.  Using paper from DCWV, The Mademoiselle Stack, I created this magnet for Staci.  I played with silver German glass glitter...I need to figure out a way to keep the glitter from traveling.  I hoped to keep the glitter to the edge, but as you can see, it did not stay there.

And, of course, I needed to make a birthday card.  So, I played with vintage style paper, crepe paper, rhinestones, tattered angels mist and more German glass glitter.

Lastly, over the weekend, I played with a new technique for satin flowers.  I learned this technique from 217 Creations .  This time, I attached many layers of diecut satin flowers (used sizzix) with a brad and then used my heat gun to melt the satin petals/layers to create this melted satin vintage flower.  I am attaching one of these experimental flowers to Staci's other gift (did not fit into the fabric gift bag).

Staci and I had plans for a birthday lunch today but she called, literally as I was working on my blog post, to reschedule our plans for Wednesday.  Her daughter is home sick today. Carli, hope you feel better soon.  I will drop off her birthday gifts this afternoon.   So, Staci, thanks for inspiring me to get creative.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Silver Lining...

Originally, this post's  title was "Happy Birthdy Lisa" as I planned on posting this on February 22nd but I am afraid my friend Lisa did not have a great birthday this year.  It all started well, on Sunday February 20th, my daughter Laura, Lisa, her daughter Sophie and I spent the afternoon celebrating Lisa's birthday.  We had a late lunch, went to Gigi's Cupcakes and then to the movies.  We were planning on having dinner but realized none of us were hungry due to our late lunch.  We were going to part ways but the girls (Laura and Sophie) did not want "the party" to end so we ended up at Target (Sunday night...Barnes & Nobles was closed).  Sometimes, it think God puts us in a certain place to help our friends.  I say this because, while we were at Target, Lisa got a phone call from her apartment manager.  

Her apartment suffered heavy water damage (pipe issue) and sadly, her dog Fiona had died.  We don't know how but Lisa and Sophie had lost their beloved pet.  Long story short, Lisa and Sophie came home with us that night since their apartment was uninhabitable.  Thankfully, they were able to stay in our guest bedroom for two weeks.  Last Friday, they went to live with other close friends....living in their basement where they have more space.  
The silver lining is that although Lisa has been very sad and overwhelmed by this terrible situation, during this time she also realized she can be a homeowner.  This last Saturday, we saw the property  Lisa loves and hopefully will become it's owner!!!!   It's a lovely condo.  I have faith that this property will become Lisa and Sophie's soon and they will call this condo home in no time.

Here is the picture of the birthday card I made for Lisa.  I have faith that next year her birthday will be much better!

birthday card clipped to bag with a fabric flower(pin)