the trail I'm on

What would I do without paper?! Go crazy that's what. Below is the latest piece that I've been working on.

A close encounter with the wolf is soon at hand. Sometimes I feel like I'm on my way to meet the wolf when I put my work "out there". It still is a little difficult to show what I do - gulp. You'd think I'd be over that by now. This is one of several pieces that will be available in my shop towards the end of next week.



Have a great weekend everyone! This time it's for real. I thought that last night's post was the last for the week. I can't seem to stay away.

PS - I posted a new interview on Crafty Synergy this morning. Enjoy!

one week down



Ahh... Thursday night. It already feels like Friday. It's been a long but productive week. Getting up early with the kids, to get them to school on time, and then going to bed late has taken it's toll. My creative juices are nearly depleted. We have to settle into our 'school routine' again. Surprisingly I've gotten a lot done. I say surprisingly because sometimes I feel like I get nothing accomplished when I have a lot of free time.

I'd forgotten how fun it is to pick up the kids from school. They both come out with their arms wide open, smiles on their faces, yelling "Mooooommmmy!" and running all the way until they wrap themselves around my waist. It just about makes my entire day. --insert proud beaming mushy Mom picture--

During a little break today I worked on a couple more note card designs and I printed them all up. I'm set. I like them even though I'd prefer if they were printed offset (too expensive). That's the designer in me speaking - the killjoy part. ;) Note to self: get a round-corner cutter for the final touch.

And YEAH for me! I'm one of the six Craft Tags Contest winners! One of my tags will be in Craft:05. I don't know which one yet. I can't wait to see it in print!

a little something for me

My shop has been at a stand still for a while. There's a couple major reasons for that. The first, is that spending the summer with the kids put all that on the back burner (as it should have been). The second, is that I'm struggling with focusing on a certain creative voice, style, whatever you want to call it. I think the cut paper constructions I've been making are getting me there. I don't know how but I feel it coming.

In the meantime, I've been fiddling around with some patterns (I've shown you a couple before) and I wasn't sure what to do with them. Tonight it dawned on me that I don't have nice flat note cards to write on and in my opinion that's a tad absurd. I also decided it was high time I have something a little more contemporary, so here are my new simple designs. I'm going to be printing these on beautiful recycled card stock. Yes!

how I absorb what I see



I love trees and I love lighting candles just as the sun is setting. I thought of drawing one of my tree silhouettes and placing it behind a small tea light to see what the shadows would look like. In the back of my mind, I couldn't help but think that I had seen something like this before and I was right. It seems my inspiration, subconsciously, came from the gorgeous work done by Adam Frank. I saw his designs for the first time on someone's blog a while back - don't know which. His trees just kill me. They're so gorgeous!

Speaking of inspiration I can't wait for the Austin Maker Faire in October. Yesterday I found out that my project was accepted and I'm going to be there as a presenter/maker! I'm really interested in seeing what others are going to make. Wish me luck!

Back to work and listening to Pandora. I've been under a rock because before reading about it on Jessica's blog I had never heard about it. I love it!

what's in a name

I've been tagged by Tara and here are the rules:
1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.
2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.
3. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

I'm going to cheat a little... I'm going to use my first name. Lets just say that my middle name is something that prefer to keep to myself! ;)

P - Psychology - My mom sometimes thinks this is what my major should have been (it was actually one of my minors).

A - Art - something that has always been with me in one way or another.

T - Two children. The loves of our lives. I'm a Taurus and I love Trees.

R - Reading - I love it. I wish I had more time for it.

I - Investigative - I've always been the type to grab a dictionary/search the internet (or encyclopedia back in the day!) when I want to learn more about something I just heard or read about.

C - Crafty - Quite obvious. ;) I was just trying to remember when I first started being crafty on my own and I think it was when my mom crocheted some blankets for us when I was little. She taught me how to crochet and I made some mini blankets and pillows for my Barbies and clothes for my dolls. I think I was about 8. I still have one of those pillows and one outfit that was for my favorite baby.

I - Incessant - I can never stop thinking of new crafty/design projects. Notice I wrote 'thinking' not 'making'. Who has the time!? Sometimes I wish I could just turn that part of my brain off and give it a rest. I just can't.

Proof: These are most of the sketchbooks that I carry around. I didn't have two more on hand for the photo. Each one has it's own purpose. One is for pattern ideas, one if for design work sketches, one is for just doodling, one is to just write down ideas, etc. I know it's crazy but I prefer it this way. I used to use one sketchbook with everything in it but I could never find what I was looking for.



A - Accessories - I'm not very good about wearing them. I tend to stick to simple earrings and maybe a cuff type bracelet. I'm not really into necklaces although I do have a couple of these with matching pendants and that's pretty much it.

So there you have it... That was fun! Forgive me but I won't be tagging anyone. I discovered a few weeks ago that not everyone enjoys doing these so I won't be doing that again. ;)

handmade toys

I'm back. Well rested. The week turned out very differently than we had planned but that's ok. You can't control everything can you? Little C and I had the stomach flu at the beginning of last week. We were pretty much wiped out for a few days. You know how that goes.

The rest of the week, accompanied by a lot of rain, we played cards, board games, etc. Crafty things were put aside until I had the urge to make a couple of things for my little C to play with. Toy recalls must have been on my mind too.

I've had this little popsicle house in mind for a while and I still want to add some other trinkets. It's funny that even though little C has a couple of other doll houses, that are much bigger and better, she's been playing with this one a lot. I guess the best toy is always the newest, regardless of price or size.



Little C saw some stuffed cow, hippo and elephant ballerinas in a store this past week but instead of buying any one of those for her I told her I'd make one for her. I knew I had everything I needed at home. Even the tulle. But why o why do I promise something that I've never really made before? I studied the animal heads, before we left the store, and they are definitely a challenge to put together. In the end, I convinced her that it was best to make a little girl instead. That was still a stretch since this is the first time I make a round head (with no pattern!) and only the second doll I sew together.

The flower thingy around her neck is to hide the fact that she looks like she has a neck brace instead of a regular dainty neck! I ended up crocheting the shoes because the idea of sewing something so small was just beyond my patience at the time. It took me 10 minutes to finish the pair. And the pink is little C's request. It's her favorite color.



By the way, if you'd like to receive my shop updates, I've added a convenient link to the sign up page right under my address on the top right hand column of this page. There are some things I've been working on for the shop and I think I'll be ready to unveil in the next couple of weeks.

Now to gear up for tomorrow. My little ones start school and it's the first time they're both going full-time. I'll have the house to myself and I know it's going to be nice but very quiet and sort of lonely at the same time. They've grown so fast...

virtually unplugged

Today I received a check in the mail. It was inside a typical security envelope. As soon as I saw the the blue pattern I knew I had to do something with it. I got the idea from a blog I read this week (a post about art made out of security envelopes) and for the life of me I can't remember which. I wish I did, to give credit where credit is due. I'm a stickler about that. The plug idea just popped into my head and it happened to match my 'theme' for the day.



Next week I'll be on vacation so I probably won't be around. We're staying local and most definitely making trips to a hardware store for some things to give our house much needed TLC. I've been agonizing over paint colors for days if not weeks. You always hear "It's just paint. If you don't like it paint again." Well I don't want to! I want to be happy with what we choose. I know we have a lot of work ahead of us but I'm really looking forward to it.

See you when I get back!

right up my alley



Craft has organized a crafty tags contest. All tag submissions must be made of paper. How can I refuse?! After getting my ideas together this is what I'm going to submit. If you'd like to participate the deadline for entries is August 13th (all the details are here).

The blue tag is actually white on the outside and only blue on the inside. I didn't have great lighting and I kept getting a blueish hue on the outside. Oh well...




I needed a little something to raise the tags on these last two photos so that the cuts could be seen against the white background. Guess what's under the tags? A little Lego block. When you're a mom toys are never far from reach! ;)

The green tag is dual sided. This is the opposite side from the one shown in the top photo.



This is just a one sided tag. The back is plain orange.



Well... I won't be back until next week. We have a lot of celebrating to do today and it will probably continue for the next few days. Have a great weekend everyone!

it's gone by so fast

This picture was taken ten years ago, on August 9th, a sunny Saturday afternoon. The story of how we met and got married is soo long that I know I'd bore you to tears. When all is said and done we were simply made for each other - as cliché as that sounds.

Today, we are still happy, still healthy, and very blessed. I can't wait to see what the next ten years holds for us.

exercise

I'm in the midst of several design projects but my hands still need a little exercise. ;)





Speaking of exercise this weekend I started training for the January 2008 Houston half-marathon. I ran that race in January 2006 and my husband ran it this year. We've decided it's time for us to run it together. He started training diligently but I'm two weeks behind. Wish me luck!



Thanks again for all the lovely emails that I received requesting my tree templates. I lost count of how many I emailed. Some of the trees will be used for a couple of fall weddings, a bird themed baby shower, to decorate a dreary college dorm room and for a camping trip activity among others. I'm also making a set for an interior decorator for one of her rooms. How fun is that?! :)

thinking ahead



I've added a little bench to keep my trees some company. A comment that Jen made on this photo on flickr gave me the idea to gradually add more pieces and make a wintery scene for Christmas. Yes, I said Christmas!

The little bird house is something I tried adding to the trees the other day but I didn't get it to work so it's just hanging out on its own.

winged friends

My digital illustration capabilities are rather rusty. I need to get them going again. Even though I'm definitely not an illustrator it doesn't hurt to get some practice. I go through phases where I want to spend as little of my free time working on a computer, but there are times I really want to play a little. This is the start of an idea I had for last week's Illustration Friday 'moon' theme but I didn't get a chance to work on it until tonight and this is much simpler than what I had originally planned.

thankful

Thank you for all the lovely emails and comments regarding my trees. I hope that you have fun making them!

Thank you to Natalie (again!) for featuring the project in the Craft blog and to Alissa for featuring my paper projects in the Craft Gossip blog.

It never ceases to amaze me that people actually enjoy my projects enough to post them elsewhere. I'm truly grateful for your kind words. They encourage me to keep working on new ideas to share. I'm having fun and I hope that you are too when you decide to try out these projects.

In my free time (ha-ha!) I'm kicking around some new ideas... stay tuned.



Have a fun weekend!

recycling project no. 6 - junk mail trees



So here they are. Little trees made of junk mail and bristol paper. I used white paper but you can really use any color you choose as long as its a card stock.

Materials:
- Junk mail (I used an ad with greenery in it)
- Bristol paper or any type of card stock (for firmness)
- Spray adhesive
- Xacto
- Cutting surface

I sprayed the bristol paper and the junk mail sheet together before cutting for a nicer finish. I drew my trees trying to keep the tree trunks at a similar width.



Make a cut perpendicular to the base (important!! or your tree will be crooked) on each tree. The cut on one tree trunk goes 3/4 of the way up. The cut on the second tree goes down 1/4 of the tree trunk. The idea is that when you slide them into place the base of both trees must be even. Make sure to erase any pencil marks.



The trees are half white and half junk mail. So if they're turned 180 degrees they can be either the color of the junk mail or the color of the card stock.



Here are the same trees rotated to show the cardstock side. Clean and simple - I love it. The trees range between 2.5 - 6 inches (approx. 6- 15 cm) but you could probably get away with making them bigger.



I hope these instructions are clear enough. If there are any questions just let me know. And if any of you make these I'd love to see. Have fun!

EDIT :: Templates are no longer available for this project.