Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Because I like to do nice things :D

About a week or so ago, I answered the call of a 'Friend' on A4A. She was asking if there were members that would like to volunteer to make/send something nice to her mother. She lives in New Zealand, and her mother volunteers her mailbox there so that she can get swap mail and packages and such. She has been doing it for the past year or so, and she says that her mother loves seeing all the different places from which the stuff is mailed.

I was so excited to do this for her and her mother. She is a really sweet lady, and they seem to have a wonderful relationship (kinda like me and my mother :D ) So I came up with this...

I painted a 4"X4" piece of Strathmore, cold pressed, 140 lb. (300 g/m2), watercolor paper with this awesome sunset and fence scene (the colors aren't as harsh in real life, they are softer and more mellow) using watercolors and a tiny bit of white acrylic paint. Then I printed out the saying, mounted the picture, and tied a ribbon through a couple of holes in the top.

I hope that she likes it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

One of my Weekend Projects, and the Long Awaited Jewelry Photos ;)

Sooo, back to the ol' Friendly Plastic. LOL I worked with it for the first time this weekend, and found it to be an incredibly interesting product (although, I did burn my hand attempting to make a bead LOL Hot plastic + the uncoordinated = pain.) I was making these little plastic, bling-y squares to add to some Fairy Bottle charms I wanted to send in for a charm swap at A4A Here is a photo of the finished project.

I LOVED making these, and even made a couple for my girls (the swap calls for a total of 10 charms and I made 12 :) ) I would like to make some for myself, however, I am out of the little glass bottles that are required. I am thinking that I need to make a trip to the Lobby of Hobbies ;) (Yeah, right. Like I ever truly need a reason to go there LOL) Anyway, I plan to attach them to cards somehow, then slide the whole thing into a plastic zip top baggie, and mail them off to their destination in the UK. Where a lovely person will devide them amongst the participants, repackage them with the other charms, and ship them out to their new homes. :)

Now, on to the Jewelry photos!
My oldest daughter started Middle School this year and I thought she might like to have some new bling to start her year with. Her favorite color is purple and I was pressed for time, so I hit my local Wally's for some el-cheapo beads. (Look, she is only 9. There is no way I am investing some serious cash in making pretties for her when she is just as likely to lose them or break them as she is to wear them and love them.

The First thing that I did was make these 4 necklaces to match a shirt that has a British flag on the front of it. We bought it....somewhere....I don't remember where. But she fell in love with it, and it is all about the red, white, and blue. I found these beads already strung at Wally's and just thought 'I could just take them off the string they were already on and put them onto wire, adding the appropriate findings.' Literally, I think that this is the best idea since sliced bread. 'Cuz I, like many of you out there, have too many things to do and little to no time to do them in. LOL

When we were looking at beads, my dd feel completely in love with these freshwater pearls. I told her that we would go ahead and get them and I would figure out something to do with them. The assortment of toggles that I bought included this really awesome toggle that was intended specifically to be used to make a double strand bracelet and I thought that would be perfect to use with the freshwater pearls. Simple, easy, and pretty. Perfect for her! :D

As I said before, purple is her absolute FAVORITE color, so when I saw these I knew that she would LOVE to have them. The beads are finished with this satiny feeling stuff that makes them feel all silky and smooth. I basically just pulled these directly off the strand they were already strung onto and then put them right onto the wire. I decided to add a charm to both the bracelet and the necklace to add a little something special to the pieces. One says 'Hope' and the other says 'Dream'. Both good things for girls to remember. ;)

Close up of the charms.

This was made from some leftover beads that I had from the first set of necklaces and some amethyst chips that I bought. Amethyst is her birthstone and so I thought that it would be perfect for her. It fits slightly closer to the neck than the others, although not quite choker style, and she loves it. She doesn't have anything that it matches (yet ;) ), but I am sure that she will soon enough LOL

This piece is one of my favorites. I just strung the beads as they came and added the heart shaped, glass pendant in the middle. The heart was so heavy that I had to use two strands of wire to feel comfortable with her wearing it around. She doesn't have anything that matches it either, but has made me promise that we would find something special to match it 'cuz she loves it as much as I do.

I made this a long time ago when I first learned how to make wire wrapped charms. It still fits her because I attached a several links of chain to one end and a clasp to the other, so it is adjustable. I also added a charm that says 'Love' to the end, another thing that is good for a girl to remember.

Close up of the charm.

All in all, these were really fun to create and she loves them. We even went and bought her a special little box that she can keep them all in so that they stay fairly decent. She can't wait to wear the to school to show off what her Mama can do LOL
Isn't it great how she still thinks that I am the greatest?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Adventures in 'Friendly Plastic' World

Soooo I went to the Lobby of Hobbies this past week and bought this WONDERFUL stuff called 'Friendly Plastic' (you can read more about it HERE ) And I thought I would try it out for myself. I bought several different 7" sticks and a book and brought it all home fully prepared to melt stuff. (Yes, I do know that I have yet to post the long awaited and previously promised photos of my oldest daughter's jewelry. Boo, I suck.)

I did a little (okay, quite a bit) of research before I set out on my plastic melting journey. I spent most of my time reading through blog entries at The Art of Friendly Plastic. Very interesting. Very informative. And I felt brave enough to start something out myself. Just something simple that I would use in a crafty project later on.
I decided that I would make little squares with some crystals added for a little bit of bling. Then I am going to attach them to these tiny little glass bottles and make 'Fairy Bottle' charms for a swap on ATCsforAll.com. Easy peasy enough, right? LOL

The first thing that I did was figure out how I needed to cut out the pieces for my little 'experiment'. I decided that I would use strips of the different colors of plastic and line them up.

I stacked the cut stripes of plastic on an old Sil-Pat that I cut in half and laid on top of an old cookie sheet.

I got out my griddle, and set the temp according to the book (a toasty 300 degrees F). I just have a cheap-o griddle that I bought at WalMart a couple of years ago, and it worked just fine. However, I am thinking that if someone had intended to work for a LONG time they might want to have a more expensive griddle 'cuz mine got pretty freakin' hot after a while.

I stuck the whole plastic/silicone/cookie sheet contraption on top of the griddle to heat. In retrospect, I would probably have arranged the plastic stripes on top of the silicone mat/cookie sheet while it was sitting on the griddle BEFORE turning the griddle on. The pieces kinda shuffled around a bit when I moved it from one counter to the other. Easy enough to fix, but could have been avoided entirely.

Then, while I waited for the plastic to melt, I decided to have a little snack. YUM! Strawberries :D

I *thought* that I might use some toothpicks to set some crystals down into the hot/melted plastic. But then thought that the toothpicks might stick and make a mess. (Why I didn't think about how I would do this before I started, I have no clue. But I didn't.)

Eventually, I remembered that I had a dissection kit left over from my days in Anatomy class that still had the probes in it (TeeHeeHee, I said 'probes' LOL) So I decided to use those pointy suckers 'cuz they are metal and I can stick them in water and oil and the freezer to keep the plastic from sticking.

Once I got the little gems stuck into the plastic, I stuck a tiny little square shaped cutter that I had bought from the clay section of Hobby Lobby into the melted plastic while it was still on the griddle. Once again, this is something that I did differently later on 'cuz it got REALLY HOT and I burned my finger when I fiddled with it. (Yes, I fiddle with things. It's what I do.)

The plastic wasn't cooling fast enough (In addition to fiddling with things, I also stick my fingers into things before they are dry. It's a curse. LOL) So I put the whole silicone mat on top of my lovely bakery cooling rack for a few minutes in hopes that it would hurry up. (I ended up putting it into the freezer 'cuz it just wasn't going quick enough for me. LOL)

When it came out of the freezer, I popped it out of the square cutter. (It literally popped right out. It was great.) Then I decided to hit it with a blast from the Ol' Embossing Tool. This rounded off the edges nicely and smoothed out the surface a bit. But I decided that I didn't like it so much with the gem already embedded into the plastic.

So I made a few more that didn't have the gems in them and then cut them into quarters (The original squares measured out at appoximately 1"X1". So, when quartered, they were tiny.)

I laid all the tiny quarters out on top of the silicone mat and heated each one. Then I used the Dissection tools to stick the crystals into each individual square before they cooled.

They needed a hole at the top so that I could feed wire through them, so I decided to use the probe again. The first time I tried this, I heated the plastic and then tried to stick the metal through it. BIG mistake. The plastic just kind of stretched and ended up all out of shape and 'blobby' looking. (Blobby? Is that even a word? I am guessing that it is now.) After that, I just heated the metal part of the probe with my Embossing tool and stuck it through the little plastic square. It worked well. :D

Now I have a pile of these tiny little 'charms' just waiting for jump rings or wire or whatever, so that they can be added to something creative.

All in all, it was an interesting adventure into the World of Friendly Plastic. It took a bit of figuring out, and some 'I have to do it my way' ingenuity, but it was fun. (I should probably also add that this tiny pile of squares took me about 5 hours to make. I would assume that this crap goes faster the longer you do it. 'Cuz I just can't imagine anyone taking 5 hours on a regular basis just to make a few little bits. Even if they are FABULOUS!)

Thanks for joining me ;)
See ya on the flip side!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Okay, so I know I said that there would be pictures. . .

But, all day Monday it rained and the man child didn't actually leave until this afternoon....So pictures have not been taken, but I SWEAR they will be tomorrow and I will show the world my little jewelry project. Cross my heart and the needle thing and all that crap.

Anyway, I went to the Lobby of Hobbies this afternoon and picked up some really sweet stuff (nothing on sale of course, but that pretty much guarentees that it will be on sale NEXT week when I don't need it.)
And I thought I would let everyone know about this wonderful piece of information from PRISMACOLOR You can either print out the rebate form on their website and follow the directions listed, or you can pick one up from wherever you buy your Prismacolor products. Not bad for a few minutes of your time and a stamp. ;)

See ya on the flip side!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So much for my weekend project plans

The Man Child I refer to as my husband is coming home this weekend, so I had to start the beading festivities early. I likely will still not have photos until Monday, but at least they will be finished before he gets here.
We are supposed to go out to dinner for our anniversary (08/11) but I have no idea if we will for certain or not. Time kinda gets away from us when he comes home, and so half the things that we intend to accomplish never get done. Such is life. I am not certain that I want to go to dinner anyway. The idea of eating out kinda grosses me out. You never know how many people have touched your stuff ~ food, plate, glass, etc. It really is kinda nasty if you think about it.
Whatever. We either will or we won't. Either way, we have a sitter lined up for the one girl child that will still be here and the other one will be gone for the weekend. So we are good.
Oh My Hell! I am ramblin'! No more boring-ness. I promise :D

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I have a weekend project for myself...

aside from the obvious one of getting some art created and making sure my girls don't harm themselves in one way or another.

I recently purchased some el-cheapo glass beads from Wally's and am going to make my oldest dd some new bling for the upcoming school year. I will post some pics of the process and the finish on Monday, so stay tuned. ;)

Oh yeah, in case anyone was wondering where I went to for the past few months, I was NOT kidnapped by invading alien species. I was having some computer issues, which have since been resolved. Got it. Good.