Friday, September 24, 2010

Home Sweet Home ATC swap

Hi fellow swappers!
Here are my group one Home Sweet Home ATCs. It's a adorable stamp from Impression Obsession. The stamp is larger than the ATC image, so I trimmed it to fit. I ordered this from Addicted To Stamping way back in March after being on a waiting list for ages for it. I just had to use it, and hey, it's fits the theme and the season! I plan on showing the full image on a card here for Halloween, check back if you want to see it. The image is colored with Copics, naturally. I'm not sure if the eyes in the bird's outhouse can be seen the pics, but it's really cute, and you just have to love the cat! I've only colored wood one other time with my Copics, so the houses are all a little different. I can't decide which way I like the wood best.

Group 2

For Group 2, I wanted a family theme. These are called "Home, The Key to My Heart". Truer words cannot be spoken for me, because my family are truly my heart's home. This is an all Cricut ATC. The key, heart and key hole are all from French Manor. I went looking for paper with the word Home printed on it, and when I couldn't find any I liked, I decided to take plain pink cardstock and print the word home on it. I went  a little crazy with Distress inks, and then spayed the hearts with Shimmer Spritz in Baby's Breath.

I will take the photos of Group 3 tomorrow before they head to the Post Office!
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Crafting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Through My Lens, Why I Will Never Forget...

Life before and after September 11, 2001.

I worked right down the block from the Trade Center. The picture above is from my first night back at work. I spent much of my shift crying. At first, I wasn't sure about taking any photos, I felt like I was intruding on the souls that were lost. A firefighter I knew from the South Street Seaport engine Company told me to take the pictures because it was history, horrible history, and it would be documented by so many of us, and we would all have our stories.

Lower Manhattan was still covered in the ash, buildings, the sidewalks, streetlights, it was everywhere. Our Military walked the streets. The South Street Seaport Fire House was draped in black. My building, covered in pictures and ash, had bomb sniffing dogs. The dogs were there for a few months after the attacks. There were pictures of those lost lovingly hung on buildings and anywhere they could possibly be attached. Signs beckoned to the searchers and rescue workers to come and rest for a little while, not many of them did, they were all at ground zero working to find survivors, recover their fallen, and put out the fires that still burned. You could tell which way the wind was blowing, or if a fire had been uncovered for weeks after the attacks by the smell outside my building. We would buy water and coffees for anyone in the Water Street Deli that we knew were working at Ground Zero. It was the least we could do.  A dear friend that I worked with and I walked the streets of lower Manhattan during our break at about 2:20AM September 22, 2001. These are just a few snapshots frozen in time, frozen in history.
Trinity Church
My shifts at the time were Monday and Tuesday, 4PM to 12AM. then on the weekends, I did the midnight shift. It was a perfect shift for me since it meant that my son was always with myself, my husband, or our family. I would take the trains during the week, but on weekends I drove. Manhattan was closed to car traffic my first few weeks back to work, so I would take the Staten Island Ferry there and back. This was my view coming home after my return to work.
I will never forget the events of the day. September 11, 2001. I will never forget the weeks and months that followed. I will never forget all those whose names are so gently spoken each year. The people I knew personally, and those I had never met, but am so touched by their lives. I will always remember.
May God bless them, their families, and our great country.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Candle Tutorial

I am a candle lover. Back in 70's and 80's, even today, the perfect gift to me was a candle. I still have many of them because I hoarded them, never touching a match to the waxy wicks ever! There's a rainbow candle, unicorn, garden gnome, a few santas, many cats, and of course I had the usual peace signs and smiley faces that were everywhere in the 70's. These days I burn my candles. I savor the lovely scents that burn quietly as I go about my daily business. I also love to create candles with stamps. About 6 months ago,  I saw a great tutorial on Whiff of Joy Inspirations & Tutorial Blog and decided to give it a try. Since then, I have made many candles, given them as gifts, and had one gift set published in a small magazine. This is a version of that set. Enjoy!

Birthday Candle

By Colleen McCauley

Materials Needed




Tissue Paper

Wax Paper

Copic Markers

Clear or Colored Skittles

Alcohol Ink



Rhinestone Embellishments

Heating/Embossing Tool


Stamp your image on the glossy side of the tissue paper. I used one of my favorite stamps, “Cupcake” by Belles ‘n Whistles, designed by Elisabeth Bell. I prefer to have a magazine under the tissue paper when I stamp. I use a piece of tissue paper big enough to tuck under the magazine for extra stability. To prevent the ink from bleeding, I use a spare piece of cardstock under the tissue paper, as well. I also love my magnetic cutting mat by We R Memory Keepers, having the magnets to hold the tissue paper in place as I color helps to prevent tearing and wrinkling.

I used Tsukineko Brilliance ink in Graphite Black so that I could color with the copic markers, and prevent bleeding. The candle I used is 2.8 x 6 inches, so I stamped the image twice.

When coloring on the tissue paper, I find that the usual style of blending with copics can cause the paper to tear, so I choose colors for my images that will blend easily, and I try to not to blend too much. Unfortunately, the wonderful shading that copics are known for on paper is much more difficult to achieve on tissue. I also use a very light touch when adding the color to the tissue paper. I love my magnetic cutting mat by We R Memory Keepers, having the magnets to hold the tissue paper in place as I color helps to prevent tearing and wrinkling.

 Here is a list of the colors I used on this candle:

Skin: E00, E01

Cheeks, Lips: R20

Hair: YR31, Y21 and just a touch of #35 for highlights

Bonnet: YG23, Yg06, and G14 to darken the edges

Bow: YG23, YG06, and G14 for shadows

Sleeves and collar: Yg23, the stripes are G14 and E99

Apron: YR02, YR65 for shadows

Pants: YG23 base, YG06 Highlights, G24 for darker areas

Cupcake: RV02 icing, R29 Cherries, E13 Holder

Kitty: E99 body, E31 Chest, Lightly add R29 for nose & inner ear

Flowers on sleeves and bonnet: RV02, B02, RV09, RV17, FY1, and FYR1

Leaves: G07

Here a couple of pictures of the image in progress. You can see the color bleeding through the tissue paper; it looks very dark in the first picture. I lifted the paper in the second picture so you can get an idea of how light the colors really are.

When your images are finished, cut them out. Don’t worry about cutting too close to the image; it will melt into the candle when you are heating it. I leave around an eighth of an inch or so. I place the image with the glossy side up on the candle. It’s good to mention that if you are planning on stamping any type of sentiments, stamp them on the glossy side so that when you place it on the candle it isn’t reversed! Generally, I don’t use anything to hold the image in place, the tissue paper has some static charge to it, and it will hold if you smooth it down a couple of times. Then I wrap a piece of wax paper around the candle, heat up the embossing tool and have some fun!

 I wrap the candle as tight as I can, and use an extra long piece of wax paper so that I can make a “handle” to hold. The pictures above show the progression of the stamp as you heat the candle. When the image starts to brighter; it is melting into the candle. Keep the heating tool moving at all times. If you stay in one area too long, drip marks will develop. Heating times vary on the candle. I use candles from Michael's as opposed to the Dollar Store candles; I think they melt cleaner and more even. I also use Reynolds wax paper instead of Dollar Store wax paper for the same reason. You want the image blend into the candle as you are heating it. Once the edges are no longer visible, I quickly run the heating tool over the candle one more time, and start to remove the wax paper. I gently peel the wax paper off. If there are still seams, I will take a new piece of wax paper and add some more heat to the candle. After the paper is removed, I run the heating tool once more over the image, usually around the edges. It’s just a quick shot of heat, no more than a few seconds.

I took clear skittles, put them in a small zip lock bag, and add several drops of Ranger Alcohol Ink to make embellishments for the ribbon.
  I also colored a couple of Prima jewels with the Alcohol Ink. Instead of putting them in the zip lock bag, I applied the ink directly on the jewel where I wanted change the color.
I used a Prima “Say It In Crystals” to add the swirls in between the images. I cut the swirls to the size and shape that I liked. They are self adhering, but I add a tiny dot of Scotch Quick Dry adhesive in a few spots. Sometimes the wax makes it hard to hold the embellishments on. I did the same thing with the Basic Grey Hearts. I also used Stickles to add a little sparkle to the image. I attached the ribbon with scor tape and the skittles with glue dots.
I took a plain white bag, used the same cupcake image and created a gift bag to match. I decorated the bag with  DCWV Songbird Paper. I also created a matching card to complete the Birthday set.
I hope you try this technique out. It's easy as pie, and a wonderful gift from the heart! Here's the complete set.
Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Crafting!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fun with Funky Kits Manga Stamps!

I became a stamping fool a couple of years ago, and since then, I have amassed quite the collection. I started with the Studio G dollar stamps, moved into clear inkadinkadoo sets, then fell upon what I call my ultimate favs for my stamping joy. These include most anything by High Hopes, Lily Of The Valley, Kraftin' Kimmie, Elisabeth Bell, Belles n Whistles, Tim Holtz and just about every stamp offered by Funky Kits.
My son loves Japanese anime, and I love to watch it with him so I can get ideas for coloring with my copics. The colors and blending are just amazing on these cartoons.  Here's a brief description of Manga

The word Manga can be translated as, “humorous pictures.” Manga became very popular in the 20th century when laws prohibiting the publication of those kinds of items were lifted. It has since become a huge part of Japanese culture. Unlike in America, Manga is read by most people in the country. The artists and writer of Manga are well respected for their work, much like the writers of literature in America.

Recently, Manga has become popular in America. It has been a very successful new medium that has become very popular with young people. Manga, and the Anime that it has inspired, has been seen on T.V., in movies, and has even influenced the art styles of certain American artists like Ed McGuinness, Brian Wood, and Frank Miller.

In Japan, a lot of Anime is based on popular Manga, but in America, it is usually the other way around. Most of the times, publishers will wait until an Anime has been released through stations like Fox, Cartoon Network, and The WB. Then the Manga will be published in conjunction with the release of the cartoon.

My favorite stamps from Funky Kits are the Mangas.

Funky Kits is releasing it's  new Christmas Mangas and will be having a Blog Hop tomorrow starting at Sugar Nellie. They are also giving away the best blog candy. Check them out and enter! I decided to post a couple of fun cards that I made with last year's Mangas. I know it's early, but I figured why not join in the Manga Holiday Spirit!

Some Manga Christmas ATCs.

A Christmas Card

 Door Hanger

I hope you enjoyed the sweet little Manga girls as much I as enjoyed stamping, coloring and creating with them!
Happy Crafting!