Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Cards 2016

Well, my recipients have all gotten their cards...I got them out a lot earlier than normal this year! I thought I would use my Cricut but ended up using die cuts and my elderly Big Shot for all of them! I used the die cuts so much I fear some have dulled! But here's the ones I sent...I had several different varieties this year!

With white cardstock and silver, below. I just got a magnetic platform for my Big Shot which I really like...nothing slides around.

Sorry for the glare! I used one of Martha's doily punches for the red doily underneath.

This was one of my favorites. I want to call your attention to the envelopes...they were mostly made with uuuuggggllly paper that I stamped with ink to make Christmassy! :)

Another doily with Martha Stewart's doily punch. And a stamp/emboss kit I got at Tuesday Morning. Love that place for discounted craft supplies!

The insude of the card above. Ugggglllyyy envelope...:)

Then I did a multitude of the reindeer cards. Thought these were cute.

Ugly envelopes again...:D Everyone got a candy cane on their card, with a tiny bow.

Ahh, but these came out so cute...! A die cut set. Had the inner sentiment too.

The inside of the one above. The only problem is there is no where to write inside! But so cute...I can use the inner die cut with other cards, as well, in the future. I made a LOT of these.
Another tree with it's homemade envelope. These were cute together...a red cardinal in the envelope's tree.
The inside of the one above. This was my first one and I actually used the wrong die cut on the front. The others, I used the larger one and cut it in half for the front. I still like it though.
The "Be Jolly" is a sticker left over from last year. So cute! Real felt hat...
The inside. Not quite as ugly of an envelope. :D
One more tree...they all got a candy cane decoration, too.
The inside of the one above.
The inside. tried to color coordinate...

The inspiration for this came from Pinterest. I love the alcohol ink colors! More about how it is made below.

A variation on the sentiment.

Also made a few going the other direction...

I was able to get two envelopes out of one sheet of 12"x12" with these and the Christmas tree cards..
When I first tried making these, I tried using thin aluminum (flashing for the roof) in an embossing folder with the alcohol ink, but I was afraid it would be too sharp. I ended up using paper with a shiny silver finish on it and it worked beautifully with the ink...even though I got it at the dollar store...:)

I crimped strips of the same silvery paper for the tops and then cut thinner strips for the ornament hangers. I used two different embossing folders, one for the ornaments, one for the background white paper, which I love that has swirly snowflakes on it. The sentiment was stamped with Stazon gold ink on Dollar Tree shiny photo paper and cut out with a die cut and my Big Shot, then added with some foam adhesive for dimension. Simple but effective!
 That's it for now. Thanks for visiting and keep checking back for more!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Wire Whatchamacallits - Wire Wrapping

Trying to come up with some ideas that were mine, not from other people's ideas. Am I the first to think of these? Of course not! But most of these are my own designs, not from a tutorial. Or at least I put my own spin on them! This post is picture heavy, if you have a slow connection or data limits!

"Copper Kiss" with an AB Swarovski crystal.
The eye, below, is not hand painted, I purchased it, but I love the idea and will probably try making my own one day! What I thought was cool is how it follows you, no matter which way you tilt it..:D
Looking at "Eye Of The Tiger" from the left side.

"Eye Of The Tiger" viewed from the right!
And head on, after patina. Odd, right??
This set of photos is a little different. The Celtic design is NOT mine, I saw it on Pinterest. I love the intricacy of the design and decided to try it. After I showed it to my husband, he said that it was probably a Celtic cross...hadn't considered the idea! But I designed some earrings based on it, as well. I made two of them, one I patina'd, one I did not.
"Celtic Crossover"

This one is not patina'd but I made a fancy bail for it. The Viking Knit necklace is for another pendant I made, which I will picture below.
Here is the set, with earrings...but I added dangles to them after I took this photo.

After adding the dangle. I also made another with no patina and considering making it sit so it looks like a heart. With or without the dangle? Right side up or episdn uwop? ::D Let me know what you think!
This pendant is called "Autumn Winds", and is wrapped around one of my polymer clay Mokume Gane pendants that I made based on Marilyn's tutorial. It is reversible, and made of copper, with the Viking Knit chain from above.

Reverse side.
I'm still making resin items, too. This one contains real beach shells. These are the first bracelets I've made using the mold I bought at Michael's. Works can even put the finished bracelet in the mold upside down with more resin to get rid of the ridge on the top if it's too deep. Or to fill in a bubble. :)

This one has a sort of luminescent glow. It's faux lace with a sort of neon yellow background.

Purple dried moss with gauzy ribbon flowers.
 Back to wire!
This is an adjustable quartz ring made with antiqued copper wire. These rings WERE done with a tutorial...more about it below.
Adjustable laboradorite ring with copper.
Adjustable Ruby Zoisite ring. Love this one!
The tutorial for these adjustable rings is on my Facebook group Wirewrap Tips and Tutorials. It's a little general in the instructions but I love how you can make it your own!
From a Youtube tutorial...just love her designs! (Link below)
This is another design by the same artist on Youtube. Her link is:Lan Anh Handmade. She has such unusual and original designs!
And last, but not least, here are my InSPIRALed Angel Wings. They are still a work in progress...haven't decided on how to connect them to the necklace. But I love that together, they resemble a heart...THIS design is mine....

After patina.

But ... the original idea I had was to use them to cover another design. I love that they look like a heart when closed...but what if I put something behind them? And then I remembered my "Celtic Crossover" pendant...

Peekaboo! Now it looks like a Celtic ANGEL...:)

Even more pronounced when you put the wings behind...:)

Let me know what you think! Thanks for visiting! Drop me a line on Facebook if you like what you see!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Laser Focus (Etching)

Well, since I posted last, I have done quite a few etching projects. I also broke down and bought a laser printer, since that seems to be the best way (that I can afford!) to get your images on metal. I got an el cheapo from New Egg for $35, called a Pantum! Also got a spare toner cartridge so the total for both was around $75, because I got a discount for buying them together. Not bad, as most printers alone are more than that! Apparently not all laser printers are good for etching, mainly because of the ink they use. Some have a higher melting point, for instance, and are harder to attach to the metal because of it. After digging around and finding a warming plate and my iron, I was a little annoyed with how much fiddling I had to do to get a good transfer.. It did work but it involved lots of waiting, burnishing, pushing the iron around, more waiting and lost time. Borrrring!

I decided to try using a laminator because I wanted one for doing some pictures in resin anyway and thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. Everywhere I read, they recommended spending quite a bit of money on one that gets hot enough to get the images to stick to the metal, but I didn't want to spend anywhere from $50 to $100 and up, so I was going to use a coupon at Joann's. While I was there, I remembered that I had seen a laminator at Target for around $20 and that worked out to be a little cheaper than the Joann's one so I went online and found out it was on sale for $15.99! Love it. Went right across the street and bought one! 

My initial results were spotty, at best. I was getting discouraged and then saw someone on my etching Facebook group mention something called yellow toner transfer paper. It was very reasonable on Amazon so I broke down and bought some...a hundred sheets for a little more than $10. 

And had spotty results with THAT too...AUGHHH!

Then I remembered what turned out to be the KEY to the system! The secret is: Rub a little rubbing alcohol on both the transfer and the metal and VOILA! Perfect transfer! UPDATE: I have now changed to only rub alcohol on the METAL and not the toner side of the printout, because I was rubbing off toner and got some pinholes! So now, just the metal side, then place your printout on the saturated metal, then rubbing alcohol on the BACK of the printout. That way, if any toner dissolves, it will just go onto the metal anyways. :) After reading some others attempts at this, I feel this is the easiest way! The only waiting is for your laminator to heat up! No more burnishing with a spoon! NOT NECESSARY! :) 

 Here's how I did it:

These are the supplies I use. This all assumes your metal is scrupulously clean! So, you'll need a paper towel, 91% rubbing alcohol, your metal and your printout, on yellow laser toner transfer paper. It is very slick and reminds me of the paper backing on labels. I simply folded my paper around the metal since it was the perfect size to fit my brass sheet...

I have a delicate pattern printed to show how well this method works!
Use your paper towel (I tear a smallish square and fold it, and get it very saturated) to gently rub some alcohol on the metal, then put your print on the metal, burnish it with your finger to get good contact and get any bubbles out, and use your paper towel or cotton ball/swab to totally saturate the back of the paper.  You want it very wet, but not dripping. You ARE using it with electricity! :) 

Saturated. Even if you have it very wet, it will be quite dry by the time you get it to your preheated laminator!
Here's mine running through the laminator. You can see that it's pretty dry at this point, already. Someone on my etching group said they used metal up to 18 gauge with this particular laminator.  I run it through at least six times, although it seems stuck at 3! it isn't stuck as well as it could be at that point, though, so do at least six times, if not more! 

Here's a close up, after I took it out of the water. I put it in cold water to try to hasten the release and I probably should have waited longer.  I had some residue on the paper, and theoretically, at least, it should come up completely clean. But click on the picture to see the detail...! You can see how tiny this pattern is on another picture, below...Now, those of you with eagle eyes may see that there are some pinholes I should have covered up...
This is my latest etching set up! :D
The only problem with it is that the Shiatsu massager shuts off after a few minutes, so I have to keep turning it back on...:D. 
This is my completed etch, in brass. I hope you can see the fine detail that this pattern has that was picked up by this method! For instance, the tiny dots on the lace, near the lower left by the penny...Yes, I got some dots that don't belong, but it's my own fault, for taking the paper off too soon, and for not using a paint pen to fix the pinholes! :)

So, you can see why I think this method is much easier than doing the ironing! And the burnishing! There ARE other methods, like using a t-shirt press (another thing I've been wanting to buy!) but this is much less costly! (If you WANT to go the t-shirt press route, I was told on our FB group that they have them for about $100 on Amazon, btw!)
And now I'm going to put some pictures up of my latest etches. Hope you like!
This one was done with rubber stamps and Stazon, not laser. 

This is our Yorkie Bowie, when he was a puppy. I've always loved this picture and wanted to put it on Zazzle...but settled for putting him in copper. :)

Here's the original. :)

Here's the mermaid I love, with her printout remnant. you can see very little is left on the yellow transfer paper.

And finally, my Tiny Trees. First thing I've ever domed with my trailer hitch! :D

Edited to add a photo of my finished bails, using the sheet I laminated and etched! :)

Thanks for looking and come back soon!