Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Recycled Japanese Bento (Lunch) Box

On a recent trip to the land of self-flushing toilets (Japan), my husband and I purchased lunch (bento) boxes for a train ride.  We were surprised that the traditional lunches came in pretty faux lacquer boxes. After eating the delicious contents, my husband wanted to throw away the plastic coated cardboard boxes but my crafty senses would not let him toss them.  Reluctantly, he let me pack the boxes in our suitcase...I did fill them with other purchases to save suitcase space. ..LOL!  Later on the trip I purchased some hanafuda card stickers that I knew I could use for future projects. (Hanafuda is a Japanese card game that I played as a child so I was really attracted to the colorful images.)  
Because the box already looked like a fancy lacquer box, all I had to do was press down the stickers and apply a coating of Glossy Accents (available at HM BFC) over each sticker. After letting the Glossy Accents dry overnight, I tied on the faux kimono fabric cording (discovered in my hoard of Asian bits and pieces drawer).  My husband cannot believe the upcycled remake of the 'throw away' lunch boxes.  He promised to trust my crafting instincts in the future...hahaha! I think this box will make an excellent cookie gift box...green tea (matcha) shortbread might be a perfect match.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Once in a Blue Moon

With crafting it is 'Once in a Blue Moon' that a project turns out just as it looked in your mind's eye.  This is my Once in a Blue Moon card.  I was testing out a new product, called Opal Polish, I found at HM Ben Franklin Crafts.  It is a thick paste that has an opalescent sheen when dry.  I used Blue Wisteria and applied it with my fingers...just discovered that the top of the jar contains a sponge applicator..LOL!  I just used one color but as you can see it dried pinkish, bluish purple.  After the paste was dry on the marker paper, I applied a little white tickles paste and let it dry, too.  The Stickles gel paste has some stars and glitter which are very attractive.  At first I planned to use a circle die to cut out a tag from the Opal Polish glitter paper. However, once I made the circle I decided that it looked like a blue moon....that started my imagination going!  I found my Hero Arts fairy die and a newly purchased pack of  12 glitter cards with envelopes (Paper Accents).  Both are from HM BFC.  I used the die on grey vellum paper. Be sure to run the die and vellum through your machine many times because the details are very delicate and some vellum papers are tough.  The last steps are to glue (Fabri-tac) down the moon onto the glitter card and then the die cut vellum to over the whole card. That's it!...super simple. As you can see the iridescence appears pink at some angles and bluish purple at others.  The photos don't show up the glitter blank card but it also has a slight iridescence. I hope this holiday season brings you many 'Once in a Blue Moon' experiences...just keep your eyes and mind open wide! 



Monday, November 20, 2023

Autumn Gnome Tags

I really like gnomes and fairies. I guess I like the idea that there might really be tiny creatures who exist in a secret fantasy world. Anyway, I just couldn't resist getting another gnome stamp set. This one is from Hero Arts and has some great gnome images.  These two tags were made not only to ink up the gnome stamp but to use up my experimental background papers.  I do a lot of trials with new mediums and I hate to waste the test pieces so I make them into tags.  The top tag used a scrap of foiled Pink and Main black toner autumn leaves that were foiled with the Minc machine.  The words were also Pink and Main black toner autumn phrases.  Sorry that the foiled areas and words don't show up well in the photo ....blame the lousy photographer. The gnome and mushrooms were stamped on marker paper and then colored in with Copic pens.  The gnome had a matching die which I used...love the Hero Arts bundle sets (dies and stamps together).  The mushrooms were fussy cut by hand.

The second tag also used an experimental background made from a brick stencil (Stampers Anonymous) that came with the mushroom stamps. I used a red (barn door) stencil butter with the brick stencil to create the stone look. Before the stencil butter was dry I sprinkled on some brown heat embossing powder. Once dry I heated the piece with a hot air gun to melt the embossing powder. This technique did not result in a rock-like appearance as I had hoped but the 'bricks' looked a bit more realistic.  My favorite part of making tags is finding the 'perfect' yarn/cords to match the tags.  I am pleased with the finished look of these tags especially since I was able to use some specialty yarns I discovered in Japan.  Having a stash of craft supplies to chose from is the highpoint of being a crafter/hoarder. Hahaha!


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Snarky Cat Autumn Tags

I didn't get the Stamper Anonymous Tim Holtz Snarky Cats Halloween stamp set until it was too late to make Halloween stamped projects so I adapted them for the autumn season. I love the snarky sayings and the weird looking cat.  Since I already had some leftover large tags cut out using a Little B die, all I had to do was stamp the images, sayings and color them in with water color pencils. The mushroom stamp came from another Tim Holtz stamp set. I spattered the resulting tags with gold and copper ink. Finally, I used a hand punch to pierce a hole in each tag and attach  fibrous yarn and ribbons. I made a bunch of these tags so I am ready to quickly tie them onto hostess gift baskets during the holiday season.  I hope the recipients appreciate the odd humor. LOL!  I already have a set of snarky cat Xmas Tim Holtz stamps....can't wait to ink them up!


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Foxes and Autumn Leaves Card

Although I've never seen a fox in the wild, I do admire their sleekness,  agile movements and coloration.  It makes me sad to think of how many foxes were hunted by hounds and horse riders over the decades.  With all of this in mind, I designed this card for the fall season.  The fox images were from a Hero Arts bundle set which includes the dies.  The leaves and words were from a Pink and Main stamp and die set.  Pink and Main were also the makers of the 6x6 paper pack from which I cut the background for this card.  Using Copic pens I colored the three loose leaves and group of leaves with the FALL letters.  I tried to match the colors of the 6x6 paper and used color pencils here and there to enhance the shades.  The F-A-L-L letters were cut from copper colored foil which are a bit too shiny at some angles.  I'll choose a low sheen foil next time. Foam adhesives were placed under the three loose leaves and foxes to give more dimension to the card.  This is one of my favorite autumn cards and it makes me smile as I think of foxes playing in crisp falling leaves. Ah, Happy Fall to All!!


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Honey Bottle Gift Tags

My husband and I support the Adopt a Beehive program on the Big Island.  We believe that bees are a necessary element to the agriculture industry, so we willingly donate to Adopt a Beehive and in return receive bottles of honey several times a year and have our name on one of the hives on the Hilo agriculture campus. I am so impressed with the quality of the honey that I dressed up some of the bottles to give away at upcoming events.

Since I just recently purchased a Hero Arts honeycomb design foiling plate for use with my Spellbinders foiling machine, I felt it was perfect for glamming up the honey bottle tags.  At first I was just going to hot foil the gold onto yellow card stock and then die cut the hexagon shape but then I thought the same idea would work on printed card stock. I chose some Pink and Main bee themed card stock from a 6x6 paper pad. The foil was applied easily and then the tags were die cut with the Spellbinders hexagon die.  Some Sticko bee stickers were applied to each tag. Then a small round paper punch was used on the top of each tag and raffia was attached. Some small squares of washi paper with fibers included were positioned on top of each bottle before the raffia with tags was tied to each one. A short message was written behind each tag.  I am pleased with the outcome of the decorated honey bottles and hope that the recipients will appreciate the hard work the bees did to produce the 'nectar of the gods'!

DID YOU KNOW?  Honey is the only food that needs no preservatives.  It was found in the tombs of the Egyptians still in edible condition!

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Autumn Squirrel Card

I couldn't resist making a squirrel card again this fall because it is my grandson's favorite animal. ( He sleeps with 6 identical stuffed squirrels. They are not identical to him. They all have names and he can tell them apart!) Anyway, I worked hard on the backgrounds for these cards. I started by impressing the solid colored paper with the Sizzix texture folder.  Then I rubbed the surface with Inka Gold paste, sprayed it with Ranger Distress Mica, and applied Ranger Distress Pearl Crayons here and there.  I applied and rubbed and applied some more until I was satisfied with the look.  Next the squirrels and nuts were stamped with the three part stamps, layering one over the other.  I used the matching dies to cut them out.  The embossed panels were sized to fit the card blanks which were made from printed autumn themed 12x12 card stock.  The inside of the the top card has small leaves which will not distract from a message written inside so I think this card stock was a fortunate find.  The squirrels were adhered with foam dots.  The top card message was actually a tag that was cut to fit.  I really like the message. 

The background for the second card looks very different from the first but it was created in the same way....cool huh?  The William Blake quote was clipped from the edge of an Authentic paper.  It pays to save stuff that appeal to you. You never know when it will be useful and just what you need.
A SCARY SQUIRREL STORY:  Recently, while in Boston, I was waiting in a car when I spied a squirrel cutely wiping his face with his paws. I was about to go out and take a photo of the lovable grey animal when he got off his haunches and slithered away swishing his snake-like tail behind him. It was a RAT! This is my belated Halloween TAIL! LOL!