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Archive for March, 2012

Following along with Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of 2012, here’s my March tag. Seems kind of funny to talk about only 12 tags, because at the moment I’m immersed in Tim’s online class where we’re doing almost 30 tags in two weeks. But unlike class where our focus is on technique and indeed many of the tags are just background samples, the 12 Tags is a free monthly series of tags via Tim’s blog complete with background, focal point and embellishment.

The main technique in March is making a mosaic – and of course Tim puts his own spin on it. After adhering paper pieces to grungeboard I embossed my butterflies using Ranger’s Antiquities Weathered White embossing powder; I actually like better the way the white butterflies pop against the background as opposed to the more subtle effect of Tim’s sample using Cement embossing powder. The colourful mosaic bits are then covered with Glossy Accents creating a sort of stained glass effect, not visible in the photo but gorgeous in person. Combined with the organic nature of the Distress Stained ribbon and the overall shimmer provided by a hit of Perfect Pearls mist this is my favourite monthly tag so far!

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ready to roll

I recently bought a new truck and decided to keep track of mileage expenses in style. I started with a 7gypsies wire bound album; there’s probably a blank book in my stash for any purpose you can think of. Easy to take apart, I masked the front cover and sprayed it with glimmer mist, then embellished it with a hand-coloured October Afternoon wild card, a piece of Studio Calico FabRips, mileage scale tape, a Basic Grey border sticker, handmade embellishment, hand-coloured fabric title and vellum quote which says “Don’t drive as if you owned the road. Drive as if you owned the car.”

While I wanted to keep the cover fairly low profile (I’ll be using it in the truck, after all) I couldn’t resist attaching this mileage wheel that I made by stamping into modeling clay, colouring and adding a metal spinner. The stamp is part of Tim Holtz’s Winter 2012 release; perfect for my purpose.


After deciding exactly what information I wanted to record I custom-designed the pages and ran them through my printer. On the first page I included details about my truck, and added a photo set in a frame embossed on the Cuttlebug. Aren’t my new wheels pretty?

The first section – almost half the pages – are for tracking things like fuel costs/average mileage, etc. I have additional sections where I’ll note scheduled maintenance and repairs, and also a section where I’ll record details of road trips such as destination and total trip mileage. After running them through the printer, I randomly stamped transportation-related images such as maps, compass rose, etc. on the pages. The map and gas pump image you see here are from the Route 66 set by Artistic Outpost. There’s a stamped header on the first of each section page – love those PSX Alphabet Pixies!

When I was gathering supplies for this project, I came across an ancient sheet of printed vellum with map images on it. Here you can see that I used it to further separate the sections of my book, and added hand-stamped tabs (this time old Autumn Leaves file tabs) to make it easy to find the right section. Can you believe I own a punch that makes those square holes? Don’t even ask!

The back cover was first masked and sprayed, and then stamped using various colours of Distress Ink. A rub-on repeating the words ‘my travels’ finishes it off.

So far, I’ve been good about recording mileage every time I refuel. While I can’t imagine that collecting this data will change anything about where or how I drive, I do think that it will be interesting to look back on in future; here’s hoping for the day when gasoline is obsolete and we can only reflect and marvel at having paid upwards of $1.30 per litre!

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Thoughts on cute

With my grandkids off to Florida for March break next week, I thought I’d make money holders that I could put some spending money in for them. I’m not usually a card maker and certainly don’t do cute; where’s my Muse gone and who has replaced her?

Central to all is this crab stamp set now discontinued from SU – just the first of several old things dug out of my stash for this project. I don’t do the coloured-in thing, but did unearth a blender pen to help my novice efforts, stamped and cut out of glossy cardstock. A sun die cut, googly eyes and some Stickles, and the first one’s done.

Perhaps the tearing works on this next card because the technique is as old as the paper I used. So last decade, but can I just say how much the cartoon crab against the realistic-looking sand paper tickles my fancy?
I always love the imperfect look of hand-stamped sentiments; an opportunity to say exactly what you want, no matter how punny.
I’ll confess the idea to put a sparkler in the claw of this dude isn’t originally mine but it’s still darn cute – and fortunately I had the perfect fireworks stamp to pull it off. For all 3 cards I used my old Notch & Die cutting tool so the money tucked inside stays put; no need for envelopes.

Now I get why people do cute. I generally have fun at my craft table, but these guys had me actually giggling as I was making them, and I hope they’ll put a smile on the faces of my grandkids when they see them, too. Oh – one final word of advice when you make yours: keep your eye on your critters. When I assembled my cards I couldn’t find one of my crabs – he’d skittered all the way to the other side of my craft table. I haven’t a clue how he got there ;).

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Sketchy business

It’s no secret to those who know me that I am an online class junkie; the Got Sketch 107 workshop is one I’m currently taking. I’ve long been a fan of Valerie Salmon’s sketches and in appreciation for all the free sketches she posts, occasionally support her by signing up for a class.
This sketch employs hexagons, a shape I recognized weeks ago as becoming a new trend in scrapping. Frequently I have an idea of what papers I’ll use before I start a layout, but in this case I went browsing in my paper files with an open mind and pulled out this coordinating line from My Mind’s Eye. Every time I use MME papers I am reminded again how much I love the look and texture of their designs. And lest I leave you with the impression I’m on the cutting edge of the trends, know that baker’s twine is just starting to show up in my layouts – despite having been on the market for a couple years now.
A discussion on the class forum about go-to colours had me deciding to break out of my usual routine for this next layout. So instead of greens & blues or anything with a nature motif, I went back to the paper carts looking for bright colours. You can’t get more majestic than purple, making this line from Fancy Pants an apt choice. As always I’m delighted to dig in my drawers of themed embellishments for a few suitable pieces, and like how the velvet Thickers in the title give a bit of softness – visible if you click on and enlarge the photo.
Working from sketches and using just patterned paper (no cardstock) are typical choices for me. The sketches for these layouts are private class content, but Valerie has many free sketches available at her blog if you care to check them out. And if you decide to sign up for a class, tell Valerie I sent you!

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Nest at Ruthven

I joined a Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls tour yesterday, which we quickly renamed the Blowin’ in the Wind tour. Our first stop was Ruthven Park in Haldimand County, but with the feeders empty and the winds blowing we mostly birded by ear; the Eastern Bluebirds had arrived a day or so before and we could hear them hunkered down in their nesting boxes, as well as various woodland species I couldn’t spot. My only sightings were a cardinal swooping across the road and a gull over the Grand River, despite an hour tramping through woods and practically being swept away on the meadow.
En route to Fisherville and Nanicoke I saw some Buffleheads on the Grand and had an excellent sighting of a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree by the road, which we stopped to watch for a bit. We also watched some Horned Larks swooping in and out of a barn and hunting in a field; it’s amazing how even when you’re trained on one, as soon as they perch in the field they virtually disappear from sight. I obviously need better binocs!
With the lake (Erie) not frozen over the eagles are spread over a greater area; typically in winter they congregate at the open, warmer water by the Nanicoke Refinery. Given yesterday’s gale force winds we felt fortunate to spot 3 Bald Eagles battling the winds, which I understand is far fewer than usual. I swear the winds at that corner were 100 km/h, and although I was warm enough I couldn’t keep my eyes from constantly tearing. Back in the warmth and calm of the bus we headed towards Hamilton, stopping for a flock of Wild Turkeys who quickly retreated into the woods, and also a Northern Harrier that was a joy to watch.

American Widgeon

At LaSalle Park in Hamilton we finally found birds – waterfowl to be specific. Dozens of Mallards, a few American Black Ducks, some Buffleheads, Scaups, and American Coots. Lots of Herring Gulls; I didn’t take time to decide if there were others mixed in with the flock. And swans; at least 50 Trumpeters, a handful of Mutes and 8 Tundra Swans – the latter keeping their distance. One female American Widgeon and perhaps the best sighting of the day – a first year male King Eider.

King Eider - first winter male


Next we stopped at the Burlington Lift Bridge. No sign of the Peregrine Falcons although the nest is easily visible, but lots of Long-tailed Ducks in the freezing water.
Our final stop of the day was at Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park

Snowy Owl on the dock

where we found the Snowy Owl that’s been hanging around the docks, and several ducks including a Goldeneye. All in all given the weather, not a bad day of birding.

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