Saturday, November 20, 2010

{He}Art Pieces from Friends

We just concluded our 3rd Friendship Swap and here are the collection of masterpieces:
Mine is in the foreground:
Here's one of them:

Still waiting on one from Australia:

Assembled onto a two-page spread:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Can We Learn from a Cactus?

I made a mini album to house a poem and some photos of cacti. Certainly an unusual theme to scrap but I find the poem very meaningful and I want to remember the lesson the cactus teaches us. First, here's the poem by Ramendra Kumar

Of all the plants I know

Cactus is the best

It can pass easily

Even the toughest test.

It has neither fragrance

And very rarely a pretty flower

Of several sharp thorns

It wears a prickly cover.

In the arid desert sands

Where no flower can bloom

The cactus grows in glory

And dispels the traveler’s gloom.

A braver creation of Mother Nature

One can hardly ever find

The cactus teaches us a lesson

We should forever keep in mind.

When life is easy and smooth

Almost anyone can succeed
But surviving when the going is bumpy

Is a great feat indeed!

Let us try to be like the cactus

Battling every adversity

And with courage turn every calamity

Into a glorious opportunity.

I used the following from Sizzix:
Frame Back Ornate #2 656577 and Flower Vine Border 656509.

The ornate frame was too big for the mini album so I printed the poem on shrink plastic and shrank it to a perfect size. You can stamp, print or colour on the rough side of the shrunk plastic. If you want the smooth side to face up, you'll need to print the text mirrored (you can find this printing option in most word processors).

I also inked the edges with Stazon and added blings to the top and bottom of each frame.
The pages are papered in white on one side and painted gold on the other. I embossed the white cardstock with the Flower Vine border, staggering the position so that each page does not look repetitive. The embossed vines are then painted gold and the flowers given bling centres.

Each letter of the title is on a different page. I coated the letters with Rock Candy crackle paint and painted different shades of brown when dried.

The twine around the letters and pages are dyed with distress ink in Forest Moss. By diluting the ink into different strengths I achieved different shades using the same ink colour.

Camera filter apps are all the rage among iPhone users. I created a similar effect using black Stazon on photos printed 4-up on my photo printer.

I had fun making the album. The embossed edges make light work of decorating the pages and the die-cut blinged-up frames unify the inside pages and lend a touch of luxury to contrast with photos of the rugged cactus.

Here's the finished album:

I hope you now see the prickly cactus in a different light. Now go make a mini for a quote or a poem to encourage yourself or someone else!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Beautiful Grandma

Being the oldest grandchild, I have a special bond with my grandma. I remember staying with her during school holidays and going around in a trishaw to the market or to visit her many friends. Looking at this photo made me realize how much she has aged - she still holds her poise and glows with an inner calm and elegance. However her memory is failing and she can hardly tell me apart from my sister.

I chose to make a layout about my grandma to honor her and her influence on me. I used a muted colour palette of browns and cream so as not to overpower her photo.

I used the following Sizzix dies:
Flourish #2 656554 and Tattered Flowers 656640.

The flowers are cut from coloured vellum using the Tattered Flower die. Vellum has a crisp texture that curls and holds its shape, just run the edge of a metal ruler under each petal as if curling ribbons when gift wrapping.

Alternate the curls upwards and downwards and add a prima flower in the centre of the bloom. I clustered several blooms and flourishes cut from rust cardstock and placed a foiled butterfly and bird in the midst.

For this flower, I splattered mist on pearlescent paper and layered a prima flower which I have edged with the same mist colour. The doily below is from Maya Road and I coloured parts of the design with Glimmet Glam on the reverse. This means I don't have to colour within the lines and it still looks neat!

The title lettering is cream which I found to be too pale so I inked the edges in brown. I used distress crackle paint to texturize it and inked the base of each letter a rusty colour. This adds visual weight to the letters so they don't appear to be floating on the page.

This layout is my first assignment for MWL.  By the way, the month-long birthday celebration is still going on, so do head down for some bargains and great discounts!

There is so much I want to talk to my grandma about, so many stories I want her to tell. The fact is many stories have already faded in her memory.  If you have an elderly parent or grandparent, don't procrastinate preserving memories about them. Our own memory will one day fade too!

Tomorrow is a public holiday and I plan to spend some time outdoor with my family. Wishing all Muslim friends Selamat Hari Raya Haji and to everyone else a restful midweek break.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quick Tip

Ever gotten frustrated inking intricate edges?

The Zig split calligraphy pen to the rescue.

You can get different widths by changing the angle of the nib.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

October is the busiest time of the year work-wise, which translates to very little time for other pursuits. Unfortunately, blogging got bumped off the list of priorities. Now I'm posting a long post to catch up.

The best event for October took place 18 years ago.

J has been busy with school and, even though examinations are over, lessons are still ongoing, thanks to the dedication of the S3 teachers.

E has progressed tremendously, picking up letters and numbers rapidly.

 Learning new skills such as painting:

 Building with blocks:
 Being helpful:
Mimicking her teachers: 

Being silly:

 All of which are exhausting:

On the crafting front, more swaps with local as well as US scrappers:

Send "Flat Esther" off to a scrapbooking retreat:

While waiting for the Retreat in a Box to come to me:

Making another card for my parents' singing class:

And the final big news for October:
Thanks MWL for the opportunity.  First assignment due soon; do watch this space for it.