Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm BAAAAAAaaaack and a Tag

I'm back.  If you have been around you know that I haven't felt great for, well a long time.  Let's all cross our finger and hope things are least a little bit.   Please...
So, I took a break... at first I left because I needed a blog break, I didn't feel good and it was stressful worrying about what to post.   But then my studio became the problem....I am talking EPIC problem...or mess...epic mess.....Epic Epic-mess...I mean so epically messy that I couldn't craft.  I couldn't even get in to the room to be honest.  You may remember when I won the "Messiest Room Contest" sponsored by My Life and Kids.
Yes, this is my dining room right before Christmas. I am not proud of it, but I have accepted that I am a slob at times when I am busy trying to be creative and I won a free vacuum for it.  I guess my studio was jealous or something but it looked like this....
I would have won hands down with this mess.  I was motivated to clean it because my mother-in-law as coming to visit and needed to be able to get to the bedroom and bathroom that share the bedroom with my studio.  Sadly, I tend to let things get really bad until impending visitors motivate-or scare- me into cleaning.  In all seriousness I would have cleaned it up much earlier simply because I wanted to work in the studio but I never felt well enough to tackle such an overwhelming project.  I am grateful I forced myself to get it organized and it now is much more functional than it had been.  I realized that  part of the problem was that I had too many things I was storing on the floor simply because I didn't have enough storage space so I bought a bunch more Recollections pieces from Michael's and got things organized.  

So my studio is clean and organized and finally I can do some crafting.  Oh, right...Maizey.  Big problem.  She is cute but she 27 pounds of TROUBLE and cuteness...but mostly trouble.  She eats 
8 Weeks; first day home
9 Months 
everything from sticks to plastic and she LOVES getting to be in my studio.  Since the door usually closed and she is rarely let down there,  any opportunity she sees to get down those stairs she takes.  IT is funny to watch how fast her little butt goes to get down the stairs and around the corner in to the studio space.  You can tell she is so proud of herself when she manages to get down there. But instead of lying by my feet and enjoying the alone time with me she spends her time searching for things to eat.  Paper macho is a favorite but Washi tape is also is tape, stickers, pencils are a particular favorite either upstairs or down.  I spent all my time chasing after her...until I get annoyed enough and through her back upstairs.  The morale of the story is I can't craft when I am in charge of watching her. She cannot be let alone anywhere in the house because she will find something to eat or ruin.  I won't even go into what all she has ruined.

My point...yes I do have one! My point is that finding time to craft is hard and finding hte energy is even harder.  But I am determined and I will create this holiday season.  I will....No really...I WILL.

To celebrate my Re-blogging I give you my version of Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014: October Edition.
Tim recently released his new Distress Sprays and I am in love.  They are incredible.  The finish they leave on ribbon is super yummy.  It looks like hand-dyed silk ribbon.  I have no idea why the finish is different from the Distress Stain as I assume the formula must be similar but it is different.  The sprays leave an almost iridescent finish on seam binding. 

My October tag was first given some texture with Golden Texture Medium.  Tim used Ranger's Texture Medium- of course- but I don't any.  First I tried to use Wendy Vecchi's Embossing Paste, which looked incredible before I added the sprays, but they don't take color like the Golden product-instead they maintain their original color more.  I did get decent color after I worked at it-and gave it 4 coats- but since the Distress Spray color was a major component of the tag, I decided to use the Golden product. 

I don't have the stamps that Tim used so I used one of my favorite Halloween stamp sets from the defunct House of 3 and Pink Paislee. 
The skull was colored with another new FAVORITE, the Wink of Stella clear marker. I mean, come on,  the name itself is just so much fun to say.  Wink of Stella, Wink of Stella, Wink of Stella...what does that even mean?  It means SHIMMER.  Not really, but that is what it does.  It adds so much shimmer.  I also tried the gold, silver and a few pastel shades but the clear is by far the most versatile and the prettiest.  It is so easy to brush it over anything paper to add beautiful shimmer and the brush allows precision placement.   I used it over not only the skull but also on the little "31" and the letters themselves on the Alpha Tiles.
BEWARE...l am about to get real...or at least technical.  If you are reading this blog only because you are my husband or my sister and don't give two sheets about stamping or Tim Holtz (gasp) or the only kinds of stamps you know anything about are the ones issued by the US Post Office, then you might want to skip ahead. 

You can see Tim's tag below for reference.  Tim stamped the spider directly to the naked tag and then used his Mask Sheet material to protect the stamped spider from the Texture Paste.  I followed this technique on the first set of tags that I made-really I did- but those were sadly abandoned when I couldn't save them.  

The problem started because I don't have the stamp set Tim used.  Not a big deal really...except I had a hard time finding stamps that filled the space in the same know, made the design of the two tags similar enough to call it "inspired by" and also to fill the space correctly.  I needed a large element to replace the pumpkin and something that had a string, like Tim's crawling spider, that would serve  to connect the top of the tag to whatever element I used.  Here is where it became difficult because I don't have a spider that is large enough to work.  What element to use to replace the spider?  As soon as I saw the elements on the House of 3/Pink Paislee Phantom collection I knew I was on to something.  House of 3 was a short-lived partnership between Heidi Swapp, Rhonna Farrer,and Janet Hopkins and while  it may have been short lived, it was filled with so much creativity and incredible design.  The design aesthetic they created together looked nothing like what they each do was PURE magic.  I loved House of 3....I miss House of 3... I mourn House of 3....I digress.  Ok, whatever...move on Danee.  

Phantom includes several images with cords- a chandelier, a bird cage, and even what appear to be  cameos-on-a-string... cuz, you know everyone has a cameo hanging....from a their house.  (FYI this set is still available and I found it
Phantom by House of 3 and Pink Paislee
I chose the skull element to replace the pumpkin and the chandelier and the bird cage to replace the spider. The bird cage seemed to be a good fit in size and scale but the problem then became the size of the chandelier. It is pretty small so I stamped it several times, playing around with different combinations.  I needed the design to look similiar to Tim's but also to use good design principals.  I couldn't just stamp something with a string in the general area if the proportion was way off.  
Tag by Tim Holtz
I thought things were going pretty darn well until I had all of the elements in place on the 2 tags that made it this far (I always start with about 4 tags so that I can choose the best one or if something doesn't work out right I don't have to start from the beginning I can just grab one of the other 4 tags).  You see, both the bird cage and the chandelier were too small.  The chandelier was in fact chandelierS as I had stamped it 3 time across the tag knowing that it was just not big enough alone.  First I tried to just ignore it all together and continue on with my project...but eventually I couldn't stand it.  My second attempt to fix the situation was to abort the use of the previously stamped images all together by covering them up with one of the chandeliers from the Sizzix set, Chairs (see below).  I grabbed some black cardstock, my dies and I set about cutting several of each chandelier and stamping them up.  I played around trying to cover over the original stamped images, but my die-cut chandeliers just didn't cover them completely not matter what way I turned them ;D.  It drove me BATTY ;D ;D.  

So I cried "UNCLEEEEEE"...I started over.  I had ruined all 4 tags so I started from the beginning.    Good plan, except I completely forgot that the ACTUAL technique was to use the Mask Sheet so that the texture SURROUNDED-but didn't cover- the stamped image. The texture paste wasn't supposed to cover the entire tag with the stamped image cut out and adhered OVERTOP of the texture.  Oops.  Yes, I realize it isn't a great big deal but the thing is that I challenge myself to make a tag that uses all the same techniques and has the same basic design elements as Tim's tag.  I don't see the point of designing a tag that in no way resembles Tim's or one that is made using completely different techniques.  I find it very rewarding when I have to use different supplies and yet I can pull off a tag that is indeed inspired by Tim's monthly tag. 
Chairs by Sizzix:  The set comes with stamps and matching dies
What I learned this month? That I LLOOOOOVVVVEEEE Tim's new sprays.  I cannot wait to have fun playing with the Distress Stains,, Paints, Sprays and Inks all together on one tag...Whoa. Mind. Blown.  I also love adding texture using stencils and texture paste...I mean come on,  everyone is doing it.  It really adds so much texture and interest and the sky is the limit as texture can be added to the entire tag or just a small portion.  So many creative options open up.

I hope I am back for good.  I have several projects completed already and I still have projects that from Ginger's wedding that haven't been on the blog.  My next post will probably be a fun gift box of "sussies" I sent to my friends who were having a rough go.  My late father would occasionally give us unexpected little gifts that life our spirits and he called them "sussies".  I sent my friend's inexpensive little gifts but I packaged them in charming little bags with lots of embellishments.  Here's a sneak peak....
Be well...
Glitter is My Favorite Color.