Friday, May 30, 2008

Color? What color?

So, have I told you I don't scrapbook? Never made a single page. Seriously. All that 12" x 12" space pretty much scares the pants off me. See this project? Pretty much the closest I get to scrapbooking. (Note how small the project is... small = not scary.)

One thing I have noticed about scrapbookers... they're good photographers. And since I have previously noted that I am not a scrapbooker, can you guess what that means? I'll give you a moment here...

...if you like, you can picture Alex Trebek and hum the tune to Jeopardy during this interlude...

Correct! I'm not so much a great photographer, either! But, because I love all of the millions of faithful Pursuit of Craftyness blog readers (and by millions, I mean several. Several people, not several millions. Not that I would actually know, cause I would have to be really technically savvy and if you read my previous post, you know that "technically savvy" is definitely not my middle name.) Where was I? Oh, in the middle of a sentence. But, because I love all of the millions of faithful POC blog readers, I will let you in on the greatest secret of all time.

One does not have to be a good photographer to get what appears to be a good picture.

I give you, example A.

Now, this pic is eh, not terrible, but not great. Did you remember that I am a lazy stamper? Ok, so yes, I admit, that laziness does apply to other areas of my life. In this case, I knew I was going to make a project out of this picture when I took it, but I wasn't sure what product, color, etc, I was going to use on said project. So, I took the pic, came home, and promptly changed the pic to a sepia tone using Photshop Elements. Now, again... I'm so *not* techy. So what's a non-techy girl to do? Pull out my trusty copy of Computer Tricks for Scrapbooking magazine, that's what. This little magazine is a lifesaver to me. It gives step by step instructions for doing totally basic things to your pictures. Love it.

Anyhow, so I changed the picture to sepia and ta-da! I swear, sepia covers a multitude of photographic sins and makes nearly every picture look good. (I say "nearly" cause I know some of you are going to try and bust out some picture of your hairy Uncle Archibald wearing a speedo or something and challenge me to make it look good. Don't even think about it. I have covered myself with "nearly.")

Now I have a picture that matches everything! Woohoo for me!

I determined that I was going to case myself and make a picture jar for my mom for mother's day. This jar happens to be from Target, and to be totally honest, was WAY too expensive for a glass jar. Like $19 or something. And if you know me, which you don't because you're all out in bloggyland and I'm here at my desk where none of you are, you know that $19 to me is... uh... expensive. Cause I am "frugal." (Did you know that frugal is the cool word for "cheap?" So, I'm frugal, not cheap.) Anyhow, the key to this project is finding a jar with straight sides, so this jar was worth it. I have used a Melissa Frances jar for this project before, and it worked great and is *much* more affordable, but I was on the hunt for something a little bigger this time. Michael's has some to choose from, but I decided I really loved this jar because of the pretty lid and super clear glass, so I went for it. Not to mention it was for my mom, and mom's deserve the nice stuff, right? (This link is just a bonus for you... it goes to some of the "nice stuff" that this mom likes!) I can hear all the moms in the world agreeing now.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, use a jar with straight sides and save yourself all the trouble of trying to make your paper strips and picture fit a wonky sided jar. You'll thank me, I swear.

So, size the picture to fit the jar. My lovely jar was really close to 6" x 4" (small miracle, there), so I just used a regular sized pic and cut it down a tad. When taking the pic, be sure to think about the jar you might use. For instance, a picture taken landscape style is going to be harder to work with. Also, I tried to leave room at the top and bottom of the pic for embellishments.

Stick the pic in the jar and start there. I just started pulling out papers that looked kind of boyish, but would still work in my mom's studio where I thought she would keep the jar. I also choose a sticker label to put the kiddos names on and worked the embellishments around that.

The first order of business is to cut the paper to fit *inside* the jar. I scalloped my paper and layered it, then kind of twisted it around inside the jar to see how long it needed to be. Then just cut it to fit, adhere the ends together and set it inside the jar. It doesn't need to be adhered to the jar because
a) we don't want people to see the yucky adhesive, duh! and
b) no one should really be picking up the jar too much anyway, seeing how it's glass and all, so you really shouldn't have to worry about the paper moving too much.

I added the ribbon and label and kept working the paper until it was at the right "height" on the picture. I didn't want to cover too much of the pic, but I also wanted the jar to look pretty, so find your own balance there. I stuck the sticker right to the jar and added the buttons with glue dots. Cause those things hold everything. (Notice that I tried to tie my bow Melissa Phillips style. She is, after all, the bow queen.)

All in all, this is a darn quick and easy project. Mom seemed to like it, so I consider it a success. My total investment was pretty minimal... just the jar, developing the pic, and using embellishments I had on hand. Not bad. You know a project is a success when you want to keep it for your own mantle instead of giving it away. But I did. Cause I'm just a giver. A lazy giver, but a giver nonetheless.

And someday, when Mom isn't looking, I'll just steal it back.

Glass jar (Target)
White Mini Dot PP (Making Memories)
Kitchen Curtains PP (Front Porch Collection by My Mind's Eye)
Animal Crackers cardstock sticker label (Making Memories)
Mini Alpha stickers (Making Memories)
Buttons (Autumn Leaves)
Ribbon (Michael's)

Later, dudes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What a colorful month! (Plus a tech time-saver.)

Can you believe the month is over already? The Celebration Of Color was so inspiring - I have been completely blown away by the unique ideas that have been presented here (and I hope that you have, too!).

As some of you may know, I'm in the middle of a big move. My husband has taken a new job and our family is moving to Northern Virginia. Even though I've been through big moves in the past, moving seems to be the one thing in life that doesn't matter if you've been through it before or not. Experience doesn't make it any smoother!

So, my main challenge lately has been saving time (primarily because I feel like I don't have enough of it!). I don't know about you, but blogs can be my downfall! I get pulled in and then the domino effect starts - I follow link upon link, and before I know it, I've spent four hours in cyber crafty goodness!

My solution? Google Reader. Like the other Google services, it's free and user-friendly. Go to to get started! You will want to open an additional window/tab on your browser so that you can toggle back and forth for your setup. Once you have a blog that you would like to add (like OURS!), you're going to want to cut and paste the blog address. In Google Reader, you will see ADD SUBSCRIPTION in the middle of the left column. Click there and then paste the blog address and hit add! It's that simple.

You might be wondering how this saves time exactly. What Google Reader does is alerts you when your favorite blogs have been updated, saving you time from going to all of them individually to read them. For instance, you'll see that the Pursuit of Craftyness was updated; click on it in your left margin, and it will bring up the new entry. (Want to leave a comment? Click on the blogs name in the large portion, and Google Reader will re-direct you to it, and you would comment as usual.) After you have read it, Google Reader will mark the entry as read and you can move on to another unread blog post. It's really that simple! And since it's Google, it's fool-proof!

I hope this helps you save a little valuable time. Just think of the great creations you can make with the time you save!

Be well. ~ Jenn

Monday, May 26, 2008

Celebration of Color: Sharpies & transparencies

Hope everyone is enjoying Spring and all of nature’s colors! I know it’s one of my favorite times of year and I’ve really enjoyed all the new ideas of adding color to my projects. :0)

One thing I use a lot is transparencies and my Sharpie markers. I use transparencies for journaling, stamping on, painting on ect.. The first project I’m going to share involves stamping directly onto a transparency. I made a gift bag but this technique could be used on any project. You’ll need:

A small gift bag
Sasafrass Lass paper
Inque Boutique stamps
StazOn ink
Sharpie markers

To make the flower I stamped onto the transparency with StazOn ink and let it dry. Once dry use your Sharpie markers to color the backside of the transparency to show through the stamped image. You can either layer this image on your project or back it with white cardstock like I did, cut it out, and mount of foam tape to make it pop.

Another way to add color to a project using Sharpies is with pre-printed transparencies. For this card I cut out the images from the transparency sheet and used my Sharpie to add color to the borders and swirls.

I also challenged myself to use only scraps I found on my scrap desk. This is what I came up with:

A great tip when you can’t find the perfect color ink is to use your Sharpie markers. Find the color you want, run end over stamp, and quickly stamp the image.

The end result:

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

More With Watercolor Pencils!

I love to add color to objects in new and fun ways. Watercolor pencils are a wonderful tool for doing so! For my project today, I decided to use watercolor pencils to add color to felt. Here is what you'll need:

a piece of scrap paper, watercolor pencils, a squirt bottle filled with water, felt (white or cream colored felt works best) and glitter (I used Stickles)

Lay the felt onto the scrap paper. Squirt it with water so that it is dampened. Then rub the water colored pencils onto the felt. Lightly shade it on using the side of the tip. I used two different shades of blue on this project. While it is still wet, blend the color onto the felt using your finger. Leave some areas lighter than others to create a 'mottled' effect.

After it dries a bit, apply the Stickles. I spread this around with my finger as well.

Let the felt dry thoroughly. The Stickles take a while. I left it over night to be safe.

Once the felt is dried, you can use it to create a card, like I did, or add it to a scrapbook page or altered project.

Watercolor pencils are such a versatile, too. They aren't just limited to paper. As you can see, they add wonderful color to felt!

So, grab those pencils and get started!
Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Celebration of Color - watercolor pencils

Miki here and I LOVE color! Color is fun to play with and makes our designs interesting. One of my favorite coloring techniques is using watercolor pencils. You can find watercolor pencils by Prismacolor, Derwent, Reeves and even Crayola has some great primary colors too. I have a bucket full of all these brands and I love adding new colors when I find them. I haven’t found a watercolor pencil that I don’t like!

You can easily grab a small paintbrush and cup of water but I am a big klutz. I don’t trust myself without a capped bottle of water in my scraproom! I suggest investing in a waterbrush. There are a few to choose from, but the one I have is the EK Success Zig. You simply fill up the end with water and brush away. I keep it right in my cup of watercolor pencils so I can easily grab it. No cups to knock over and no mess to clean up!

Coloring with watercolor pencils is pretty easy and there are lots of different techniques to use with them. I know everyone has their own style of coloring with them. But do you ever think of coloring ON different colors of paper? I know I am guilty of always pulling out the same white when I plan on coloring. But why not use some of the other colors on our shelves? I thought I would show how you can get a different look from the same colors of watercolors simply by using them on different colors of cardstock.

Using the exact same 3 watercolor pencils on each card...

They come out nice and bright on white cardstock.

A bit more subdued on the Kraft.

On black they have almost a stained glass effect.

And don’t forget about using a pencil in the same color family of cardstock.

Supply list

Cardstock: Prism (Sunflowers Light, Desert Coral Medium, Nautical Blue Light, DMD (Kraft, Black, White)

Stamps: Autumn Leaves Nature, Papertrey Ink Mixed Messages, Paper Salon Just a Note

Ink: Tsukineko Versafine (black), Color Box Chalk (colors), Martha Stewart (white)

Watercolor pencils: Prismacolor, Reeves

Tools: Cuttlebug machine, Spellbinders Nestabilities, Zig Waterbrush

Other: Vellum, Glossy Accents

Pull out your scraps and see what you can come up with! I bet you will enjoy the results and at the same time use up some of those other colors of cardstock that we all collect.

I also have a little freebie for you! I started most of my watercolor pencil collections with a set, but I like to fill in with single pencils too. I needed a chart to take with me to the store so that I could see what colors I needed or wanted to fill in with. I couldn’t find anything online, so I made one for myself and thought I would share it with you. I hope you find it as useful as I do. I keep mine in my purse because you never know when you will find them on sale! I printed mine out on plain paper and colored them in dry, but you could easily print it on cardstock and then go over the colors with your waterbrush too. Then you have a chart with what your watercolors will look like!

Download Watercolor Pencil Chart

Happy coloring!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Celebration of colour (color) : crackle paints

Hello everyone. It's Fiona here and I'm working with one of my favourite (favorite) mediums at the moment, Ranger distress crackle paints.

The little project I'm creating is a set of magnets.

My magnets usually find a place on our fridge, helping to hold precious photos or notes. We display lots of things on our fridge, for us our fridge is a photo album on display. Visitors to our house will stand in front of our fridge for ages looking through the photos.

So onto the project. Here's what you'll need for the first steps of this project: chipboard shapes (Maya Road), acrylic paint (Plaid Folk Art) and distress crackle paint (Ranger).

Paint the chipboard shapes with acrylic paint:

Leave these to dry throughly:

Choose coordinating colours (colors) of the distress crackle paint:

Paint on the distress crackle paint:

Warning: this paint is thick. You should try to apply it once and not re-work the surface. You can get a large crackle effect by using a thick layer. For a finer crackle effect, try to use a thinner layer of the crackle paint.

Leave to dry throughly again. You'll see the undercoat of acylic paint showing through the cracks of the top layer.

Sometimes I like to add a little gloss to the painted chipboard shapes. Traditional glosses can trap small air bubbles in the cracks of the paint, so I use clear embossing powder to give a glossy surface. You'll need your stamping supplies for this stage, VersaMark ink pad, clear embossing powder and your heat gun.

Apply the VersaMark ink to the shapes:

Sprinkle shapes with the embossing powder:

Use the heat gun to melt the embossing powder, giving the glossy finish to your chipboard shapes:

Add embellishments if needed to the chipboard shapes. I added buttons to the flower centres:

Use a hot glue gun to assemble the chipboard magents together:

Add magnets to the backs of the finished shapes:

Here they are again, all finished.

....and our fridge, well, here's a photo of the top half, lots of memories on display:

I'd love to see any little magnet projects that you make, leave a link in the comments, so I can see your work.

Hope you have a great week. Thanks for visiting.


Fiona xx

Friday, May 16, 2008

Seeds of color...

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm excited to share a technique to color an image without picking up a pencil, crayon, brush, or the like. This technique requires some sticky tape (really sticky kind) and seed beads!

While organizing in my studio, I came across some beads that I forgot I owned. (if you're a recovering packrat- skip to the next paragraph! This does not promote a healthy purging habit) I knew we were focusing on color for the blog this month... So...the wheels started spinning! This card is the project that resulted.
These little beads are so inexpensive and add so much texture and color to anything they touch. The ideas are limitless for these lil' beauties! I do believe my love affair with them is reignited.
Here is where the heart was simply a concentric heart from Everlasting Keepsakes. I painted it white, then added a little pink & red then touched it again with some white acrylic craft paint. (the inexpensive stuff). I then took a scrap piece of white cardstock and traced the heart. If you look closely in the lower left corner, you can see my pencil marks.
Anyway, I added two sided super sticky tape from Therm O Web to the traced heart. Make sure to cover all of the area leaving no gaps, otherwise the beads will not stick. Any clear adhesive will work for this-even the creamy kind of craft glue. Next, place the painted chipboard heart onto the sticky tape. Don't worry about the edges being ugly with trim that off with non-stick scissors.

To finish the heart, just add a mix of colored beads that match your paper and dump them into a container. Press the beads into the adhesive and remove from the container. To fill in any little gaps that were too small for beads, I added Suze Weinberg's Beadazzles "Jazz" which are the tiniest little gold microbeads. I also had some red microbeads that I mixed in as well. They filled in all those areas, wonderfully.

I also added more texture to the card by using two of my newest Scor-Pal and Cuttlebug Swiss Dots Embossing Folder. I used the Scor-Pal to create the embossed lines above and below the "i love u" rub-on. I also used white ink to very lightly rub over the embossed areas.

Supplies: Cardstock: Bazzill; Paper: paper stack from Joann Fabrics stores; Cuttlebug Embossing Folder: Swiss Dots; Concentric Heart: Everlasting Keepsakes; Beadazzles by Suze Weinberg; Sticky tape & foam square: Therm O Web; Rubon: Ki Memories; Ink: VersaFine Cloud ink (white); Scor-Pal; Misc. Craft items: trim, acrylic craft paints, and beads

Here is just a quick and easy sample of the many ways you could add beads to your projects. I used my Sakura Quickie Glue pen to add a bit of glue and accent this stamped image.

Tree stamp:Hero Arts

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a little frosting...

Hi everyone! I have a quick, easy, and fun technique for you to try as we explore different types of ways to bring color into your projects. One of my most favorite products is glitter---as much as I love it, it does tend to find it's way throughout my house. Thankfully though I discovered Stickles glitter by Ranger Industries and it is perfect for covering small areas. There are so many colors available and I love the way they transform elements with their beautiful shimmer of color.
All I did for this card was to cover the felt accent in a coordinating color of Stickles glitter. After I had applied the glitter, I spread it around with my finger to coat the whole surface. It takes a while to dry, but I really love how it adds that little touch of shimmer and frosts any project just perfectly.
Ranger Stickles glitter and ink
Fancy Pants paper and felt accent
Basic Grey paper
American Crafts rubons
Making Memories alpha stickers
Heidi Grace ribbon
K&Co. fabric brad
EK Success corner rounder

Hope you'll give it a try.

Have a wonderful day!