Friday, April 27, 2012

More Resin Pendants

The resin pendants shown on a previous post were large pieces but for those who prefer daintier jewelry, I decided to make smaller pendants. The chains used with these pendants were purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts awhile ago, but I'm sure they sell other comparable styles. If you look carefully in the heart pendant you can see that I embedded in the resin a small heart-shaped pearl embellishment from the BFC scrapbooking department. The pendant in the bottom photo had a top and bottom connecting loop so I attached a crystal and silver heart bead with a head pin (all parts were from BFC). Hope these photos have inspired you to check out the vast quantities of jewelry findings available at Ben Franklin Crafts. It's easy and fun to make your own custom designed jewelry. Give it a try!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Boy's Day Waterfall Card

As a mother of two very fine boys, May 5th ( Traditiional Japanese Boy's Day) has always been a special day in our household. In honor of this day and because I've never made one before, I decided to attempt a waterfall card. (The instructions were found in the Spring 2012 CardMaker issue called Creative Cuts & folds for Paper.) The series of three boy stamps by Sister Stamps seemed perfect for this Asian holiday card. I made the waterfall portion of the card slightly wider because I didn't want to do the ribbon part. My Boy's Day card has washi tape on the cross piece and for the pull. The background paper is just a scrap of Japanese wrapping paper. I found that because this card is formed mostly from little squares of paper, it is a perfect card to use up scraps. Again on this card I used paper from the Artist Marker pad because it works so well with Copic pens (both available at Ben Franklin Crafts). In recent years May 5th has also been celebrated as Children's Day, so I hope that you will spend the day celebrating the miracles that we call children. Hug one today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Resin Pendant Necklaces

I tried really hard to capture the colors and details of a new type of jewelry I've been making. The pictures don't really show the details well so I guess you'll just have to see them in person if I decide to teach a class on this new technique or Ben Franklin starts to stock the supplies. I love the irridescence of the sheets imbedded in the resin. The large heart pendant is hanging on a very reasonably priced silver plate chain from BFC. The heart shaped bail is also from BFC and I think it adds just the right touch to complete the overall look of the piece.
The second photo also turned out better andt I really love the Asian inspired look of the piece. The fabric cord was purchased from Japan, but I'm sure crafters can make their own cord with Asian print fabric. The last photo shows how the cord was attached to the chain and clasp. I glued the cord ends into pinch bail ends and added a chain with jump rings to make the necklace adjustable. In the next few blogs I will show other jewelry pieces I deisigned using this new kind of resin and embossed shimmer sheets. Have a super day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tea Bag in a Jar

This card had its start by my desire to send a card with a tea bag gift. I've seen so many cute ones recently. The American Crafts 'Neopolitan' series has a 12x12 paper that features canning jars and this was also an inspiration. I also had my Inky Antics clear stamps out (the one with the mouse and a teacup). By folding an individually packaged tea bag to fit the shape of the jar, I was able to use Merikan tape (available at Ben Franklin Crafts) to affix a clear acetate sheet over the teabag (run the tape along the inner edge of the jar) before cutting off the excess acetate. The basic card is 9-1/4" x 3-7/8" with a 1-3/8" square window cut out. (I used an old Making Memories card but I'm sure you can fashion your own long card to fit a long envelope.) My card was so old that it had some fading on the front, which is why I smudged the front with purple ink. I liked the look but it needed words and some mouse footprints (I had no stamp so I drew them in).The inside of the card was easy to finish with the images (adhered with pop-up dots) and words from the Inky Antics set (purchased from BFC). I stamped the images on paper from the Artist Marker Pad (a product purchased from Ben Franklin Crafts) which is specifically designed to work with Copic pens. The paper has a smooth finish and accepts the ink well. This card was so unfussy that I'm going to make a bunch of them and perhaps put a birthday or thank you message in some of them. I hope you liked visiting this blog and that you'll return often. Make someone smile today......send them something you've crafted!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shopping Fun!

As many of you know, I am a recreational shopper. I love shopping for new products as much as I love crafting with them. The following photos are of just a few of the exciting craft items I recentlybought from Ben Franklin Crafts. The major part of my purchase consisted of K and Co. "Travel " series of papers, borders, tags, vellum, etc. I am really attracted to this line of ocean themed products. I think they are perfect for summer holiday scrapbooking, cards and gift crafts. If you are a resident on an island, you will find that these K and Co. products can be used all year round for local style crafting. Another fun summer inspired find at BFC was a boxful of inexpensive rolls of American Crafts ribbon with summer colors and summer themed words. These will be delightful on any happy summer craft project. I was walking by the floral department I couldn't help grabbing a wreath-like roll of lavender and green. These pretty artificial flowers will certainly find their way onto some of my spring/summer creations. My last exciting find was from the bead department. This new Cousin's product called 'Snap and Style' is a very clever, very simple jewelry item. There are many bases (pendants, rings, etc.) which pair with a wide assortment of parts that snap into the base. I am really impressed by this jewelry because the looks achievable are endless and beautiful. Even more impressive is that the snap-on buttons can be snapped off and interchanged with other bases. To top it off ,the Snap and Style jewelry is really inexpensive but has a high quality look. I know I'm going back to get more parts...such a deal! Hope I see you shopping at Ben Franklin Crafts. Thanks for stopping to read my blog and leave a comment if you have the time....I love hearing from you!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Rustic No-Knead Bread

Whether it is a craft experiment or a cooking one, I can't seem to resist the unknown. There's nothing I like better than to challenge myself to create something that I've never made before. Oftentimes the result is less than satisfactory, but that usually only nudges me to try again. This was the case with this bread recipe which I adapted from a recipe I found on the Frugal Living website (which was adapted from a recipe from Jim Lahey's book, My Bread). I've successfully made bread before but it always involved kneading the dough. This recipe intrigued me because it just had a very long rising period and was popped into a Dutch oven and baked. Amazingly, the recipe worked on the first try, so I decided to share it with you:

6 cups whole wheat flour (King Arthur's white whole wheat) minus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons gluten flour
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
2-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2-2/3 cups cool water

Because I didn't have bread flour which the Frugal Living recipe called for, I took out 2 T. and replaced it with the same amount of gluten flour to make the bread more stretchy. Stir all the ingredients together in a big bowl to form a sticky dough (add more water if necessary). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. When it is ready it should look like the bowl in the first photo.
With floured work surface and hands fold the dough into itself and form a sloppy ball. Place the dough ball in a floured non-terry towel (my dough stuck to the towel so I will try another towel or use parchment paper next time). Wrap the dough ball loosely with the towel and let it rise for about 2 hours until doubled in size. (See next photo.)

In the last 1/2 hour place your dutch oven (make sure it is oven safe at 450 degrees) in a cold oven and let it preheat to 425-450 degrees. When the two hours of rising is over and your oven is at the right temperature remove the cover and plop the dough into the (6-8 quart) dutch oven. I carefully (it's really hot and heavy) took the dutch oven out and rested it on my counter before placing the dough in it. It's okay if the dough ball ends upside-down and is messy. Bake the bread covered for 40-50 minutes and then uncovered for 5-10 minutes more. Take out the loaf with wooden spoons or heat resistant spatulas. Cool your bread on a wire rack before slicing.

My bread looked very rustic. The taste was wholesome which made it yummy with herbed butter (try the new Challenge Butter Tuscan flavor which has olive and canola oil). For my next loaf I think I'll try adding herbs or nuts and fruits. This bread freezes well too. If you've always wanted to try bread baking and thought you couldn't do it, you've got to try this method. It's so easy and all you really need are a few simple ingredients and some free time. Experiment and experience life! Blogland Bunny Blessings to You!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art Nouveau-style Thank You Card

I found this incredible new EK Success punch at Ben Franklin Crafts and I just had to get it. (See bottom photo.) This border punch has a button that when clicked into position shifts the punch from a free border to an attached border. I love this feature! I also purchased a new set of border word stamps from Hero Arts. The scrolls around the word seemed to beg to be paired with the punch border design. Then I spied the new Sizzix die set that had a long label die which fit perfectly around the border stamped images. I heat embossed the stamped words in gold and then cut it out with the die. The dragonfly brads (from my stash) were the perfect Art Nouveau touch to this very swirly, romantic card. Oh the lavender and white fuzzy paper was in my scrap bag of fancy papers. (If you keep your scraps organized by type you will know just where to look for that perfect match.) Sometimes a new toy (uh, tool) will inspire your creations, so keep a lookout for products which can be used in a variety of ways. Shop smart (at BFC) and craft happy everyday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Humorous Easter Cards

Easter is one of my favorite holidays mainly because of the happy memories I have as a mother. My boys loved dyeing eggs and the 'HUNT'. In fact, I had to suggest that perhaps we should discontinue the Easter kid stuff when they were taller than me. Ha-ha -ha but they were no dummies because they knew that they could make a bundle of money in the egg hunt. They practically threw away the candy filled plastic eggs. Both my boys have great senses of humor and always make me laugh so I decided to make humorous Easter cards this year. I also wanted to use the new Honey POP honeycomb paper and the Inky Antics clear stamp sets (both available at Ben Franklin Crafts).

My first card I titled, "Bad Monkey". The background paper was from my scrap box so I don't really know the manufacturer. The Easter wishes stamp is a G Studio product and the eggs were die cut with a Sizzix thin die. The knocked out rabbit is my re-do of a Dandelion Design stamp. (I cut the legs off and re-attached them, and replaced his eyes with X's. The grass was made with a Martha Stewart punch.

My second card is called, " What's the matter Daba?" My husband didn't get the humor of the card even after I explained it. Daba, the cute rabbit stamp from Sister Stamps. looks horrified (I altered his face)by what he sees and the chick is trying to communicate with her chicky friends (or so she thinks).

The shock (and humor) of the card is that the sounds are coming from a giant rainbow egg and the suggestion is that the other hatched egg yielded robots (punched out silver glittered paper with an EK success border punch) who have come to see the birth of their leader.
The grass is a border from an Eclips cartridge and the thought balloons are stickers. The yellow border is rickrack and the chick is an Easter staple that comes in a boxof 10? from BFC.

I hope that these two cards have made you smile and remember your Easter past. If you have little ones don't forget to make their Easter holiday memorable, because the years really do fly by quickly and you really can't go back in time. Smile and enjoy your life now. Happy Easter!