Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So Thankful

I know that Thanksgiving has past but I thought I'd still post about what I'm thankful for and share with everyone what my gluten-free menu was like.

First of all my list of thankfuls:
-Blessings bestowed upon me by God first and foremost
-My amazing family, especially my Mom
-Graduating College--so thankful it's over...
-Inspiration around me, I need to utilize this more
-To be in good health finally, it's been a long struggle with celiac disease but I finally feel like I have triumphed.

Etc., I put etc because I can't possibly name everything I'm grateful for now that I'm thinking about it.

      Now for the menu. I cooked the meal this year because I enjoy cooking and there's really only twice a year when I can go all out and get the ingredients I want to get to create a very tasty meal. Even though it was only me and my Mom, I still wanted a rounded out Thanksgiving dinner.

A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving
Goat Cheese Filled Dates wrapped in Bacon
Smoked Pork Butt (that, I didn't make)
Cornbread Dressing with Squash and Sweet Potatoes
(breads made from scratch, of course)
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Red Potatoes
Green Beans with Crispy Bacon
Homemade Dinner Rolls
Lemon Meringue Pie (with homemade crust and everything)



       So, as you can see, we didn't miss out on anything and nothing tasted weird or anything, just delicious! This is the first year I haven't made my homemade cranberry sauce infive or six years. We had some canned cranberry sauce and used that instead. If I could go back in time, I would definitely make it, because I feel like I have perfected it and it would have been delicious with everything but the budget was at the end of the leash and hey, the canned stuff wasn't too bad.

So there you have it, my Thanksgiving story for 2010 and now it's almost time for Christmas and Hanukkah starts today I think! Happy Hanukkah! I'll have some etsy finds up later this week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Etsy Progress

Yay, I just put 11 card sets in my etsy shop! Woo Hoo! There are different types to choose from, notecards to holiday cards. This progress is a huge step in the right direction. For a while there, it didn't seem like any progress would ever be made in my energy level (thanks celiac disease!) but I'm truckin' along.

 I'm also teaching sewing classes in Savannah, GA. I've got a small following right now but I am confident it will grow. For now, just saving money to be able to move to a more fashion-centered city to find an amazing job...just need to finish my portfolio this week. Once this hurdle is jumped over, my life will be on the fast track to success...I hope. : ). Thinking positive for the time being. Here are some pics of my newly posted cards in my etsy shop (abenne27.etsy.com):






Come get 'em! More are in the shop and more are coming! If you live in the Savannah area and are interested in sewing classes, please email me. They are reasonably priced and personal attention is given to all. The next one is November 20 and we'll be making aprons from a pattern. Thanks whoever's reading out there!

--Ashley

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sponge Stamps How To and Washi Tape

I've been wanting to make some sponge stamps and finally made them a few days ago. Now I'm going to show you how to make them as well. These stamps are fun and so affordable to make. I got my cheap cellulose sponges at my local dollar store. I ended up buying 5 packs of sponges at $1.00 a piece so the total price for these stamps is $5.00 (assuming you already have the other supplies on hand) and I had extra sponges (more to make shape stamps with!). Not too bad for crafting supplies! In this economy, one has to be creative!


Here are my dollar sponges. 4 came in a pack so I ended up with 20 sponges to play with. The first step is to gather the needed supplies:

1. Sponges (got those covered!), 16 would be plenty of sponges to do an alpha with
2. A die cut Alphabet or you can freehand it
3. An ultra-fine tip Sharpie to trace the letters with
4. Scissors and/or a craft knife

The first thing I did was open the sponges up and let them dry for an hour or two, just so some of the moisture contained in the package dispersed a little. Next, I figured out what size I wanted my alpha on these stamps to be. I made them as large as the sponge would permit and for me that was about 2.5 inches in height and however wide, depending on the letter. I cut out a simple block alpha in all caps on my cricut. Of course, you don't have to use an electronic die cutter, you could also use a large chipboard alpha or just freehand it. Remember, these don't have to be perfect, that's the whole charm of using sponge stamps!




On a side note, the really cool part about die cutting my letters was that I ended up with a really cool alpha mask that I could mist with for other papercrafting projects. Waste not, right?

My next step was to trace my letters onto my sponges. I was able to get two to three letters on each sponge. If you wanted to, you could always make jumbo stamps with one letter per sponge (with the sponge upright), it would just cost a little more.




Once I traced everything, I was able to cut the majority of my letters out with a pair of scissors. I saved the insides and some of the more curved letters to use with my craft knife. The sharp edged letters like M, N, I, H, etc. were much easier to cut than the curved letters but with some finessing, it still worked out well.


 I treated each part of the curve like a sharp edge, if that makes sense. Lots of straight lines one after the other can make cutting around curves much easier. Take care when cutting out the centers, they can be tricky. Letting the foam dry out a little more before getting out your craft knife will help alot, the stiffer the better.



So here are my final stamps. Voila! Remember that these do not have to be perfect. They are your creation and just think of all of the cool scrapbook layouts, cards, etc you can make with these. I already have plans for mine. These took me about 3 hours to make and cost $5.00! Heck Yeah! Now, I'll show you some of the media you can use with them and how they will look.



The black brackets are stamped in regular black dye ink you would use with any stamp. Love that sponge texture shining through! By the way, I made those brackets with one of my extra sponges. The white letters were stamped with some acrylic paint I had leftover from art school. This is where you get that awesome blobby, more solid letter look. The L's in the middle were stamped using mist. This one was tricky, my hands got so messy but the end texture turned out cool, nonetheless. I probably won't be using the mist too often with these but the ink and paint will be great! Feel free to experiment with other materials and let me know how it goes!


On to Washi Tape:

This is a review of the washi tape I just ordered. Now, I used this type of tape all throughout art school for any painting I did, the plain washi tape that is. It is great in place of masking tape for your edges because it is so gentle on the paper , no more torn edges! (so great on watercolor paper). Anyway, I wanted to get some of the patterned washi tape for my scrapbooking, cards and paper crafts so I searched online and found a great retailer. Great prices, great bundle options and really great to deal with.

Here they are, my little beauties. I purchased from http://www.cutetape.com./ My package came quickly in a bubble envelope and the tape itself was wrapped and padded with great care (and with a nice note on my invoice) with, you guessed it, more washi tape. This just made me want to buy more colors and patterns but I have to restrain myself. I do love these basic grid patterns (in blue, brown and green) I got though. Such a cool trend in papercrafting! I will definitely purchase more washi tape from Cute Tape. I can't wait to get playing with these, I'll post when I have done some projects with this awesome product.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Karlee's Challenge

Okay, so another post in the same day, unbelievable, right?! Well, Karlee of karleekrafts.com and best friend to Robin of My Pink Stamper posted an envelope challenge on her blog. Since I kind of got into a craft groove today, I thought I'd go ahead and make something. I had some left over scraps from the card I made earlier and decided to make it into an envelope, and then put that envelope into the card.

Here, you can see a little of my work space, I love to use paint and mists so for this card, I decided to use acryla gouache (an more paint version of gouache, less tempermental to work with) in cobalt blue. Ok, on the left is my scrap paper turned into an envelope via the sewing machine.

Here is the front of my card. First of all, I would like to say that my lighting sucks right now since it is late and I apologize but I wanted to get this up so, oh well. This is a Thank You card with graduation in mind. I wish I would have made my graduation thank you cards this way when I was sending them out because there is space inside for a wallet sized photo but this would also be great for giftcards.

At first, I was just going to use the bird and nameplate cutouts on the black but I thought it needed a background so I stippled white paint over some cheap crocheted lace I had. I like the way it turned out, very non specific but cool. The cuts are from the Cricut Sentimentals and Home Accents Solutions cartridges that I had lying around, so I thought I'd use them  (I tend to make more projects when I have pre-cuts because it cuts down on the time I spend just cutting stuff out so I do this when I have extra time). I also embossed the bird with the Cuttlebug Houndstooth folder (even though you might not be able to see it, darn lighting!) and stamped the Thank You on the nameplate with a provocraft rotating stamp that I got a long time ago. I also added some of the cobalt acryla gouache on the edges to coordinate with what I ended up doing inside on my envelope. I know this all sounds like a lot of work so far but it really didn't take that long...

Here you can see the inside of the card with my envelope for picture or giftcard on the left. To my envelope, I added a cobalt painted chipboard photo arm with a brad to secure the envelope and brushed the edges with the paint as well. The final touch was the kraft paper for the sentiment matted in white to tie everything together. Whew! This was a lot of fun to make and I hope you are inspired by what I've done. Thanks for stopping by.

-Ashley

My Pink Stamper Challenge: BIRDS

My Pink Stamper, Robyn, is having a challenge at her website to create something with a bird. I decided to make a card using a hummingbird on the Cricut Cartridge, Give a Hoot. I used Die Cuts with a View cardstock and, for the card itself I used My Mind's Eye kraft cardstock, some stamping , misting and glittering and wallah! A card!



I sort of like how this turned out, I mean, I had some difficulties with my stamping today (coordination problems, I guess) but the little bird turned out cute and I love the background paper!

I know I haven't been consistent with my posts but I actually have a few posts planned for the rest of this week and weekend and plan to have lots of reviewing of all of my favorites from the recent Spring 2011 fashion shows from New York to Paris to Milan...I can't wait! I also have a gluten free cheesecake recipe coming up and some craft DIY. Here and now, I'm promising to keep this blog up regularly and to try to provide you with some exciting tips, antics, and whatever else I can think of.

-Ashley

Monday, May 3, 2010

Challenge #12-- Make something with a Critter

I decided to make a card featuring the swan from the Wedding Solutions cartridge. I couldn't resist, it was just too pretty. I also cuttlebug embossed the said swan with a floral motif and sanded it a bit. I love the color combination on this one. I used another card shape from the Sentimentals cartridge since I enjoyed the other one so much!

I stamped "HELLO THERE" and added a lovely paper flower. On the green background paper, I used a new (for me) Martha Stewart punch I got at Michael's on Sale (YAY!). This will definitely go to someone special!

Challenge #8--Monochromatic with a Flower

Oops! Sorry, this one is out of order but since I missed NSD on Saturday, it really doesn't matter, does it? Anywho, I decided to go with green for my color and made a flower from the Wedding Solutions cartridge I got with some Cricut reward points. I made this a Mother's Day card for my mom, who loves green.
The "M" was cut with the Songbird Font Cartridge. I love this font! So pretty and feminine. Overall, I really enjoyed making this flower (my first homemade multi-layered flower) and using all one color.

Challenge #9- Make a Shaped Card

For this challenge, I decided to use the Sentimentals cartridge again because there are great shaped card options on it. After this, I decided I loved the shaped card I made and will use that shape again!
I love everything about this card! It just screams SPRING. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything but I really liked this one.

Belated National Scrapbook Day Challenges

Since I have been so busy with Senior Fashion stuff lately, I wasn't able to participate in any of My Pink Stamper's challenges on Saturday (the actual National Scrapbook Day). However, today I had a little bit of free time and thought I'd whip up some cards to get my creative juices flowing and to have a chance to win a little something too. I love all the giveaways Robyn does at My Pink Stamper! This first post is for challenge #7, which is to make something for a Dad in your life or something masculine. I chose to make a Father's Day card for my Dad.

I have mixed feelings on how this card turned out. I love the combination of the stamped swirls (Autumn Leaves) and the owl (from the Cricut Sentimentals Cartridge) and I love the colors together. It's just...the EYES. They made my owl look a little creepy, evil, but oh well, a good card nonetheless. I just hope my Dad doesn't see this post before Father's Day...