Jane's Senior Recital - April 19, 2008

I am so proud of my sister-in-law! She has worked hard to realize this dream of getting her music degree from McDaniel College and I couldn't be happier for her. She has overcome some real obstacles to get to where she is. I am honored to call her friend and sister!

As part of her degree process, she had to have a senior recital. She chose to play Bach, Brahms, Prokofiev, Liszt, and Mendelsohn.

Jane invited about 75 of her family and friends to attend. I understand that someone audio taped the entire concert. I hope to obtain that recording and perhaps upload some of her pieces here at a later time. Her big brother John took some videos of her playing. Here are two of them.

Jane is a wonderful musician and performer and all of her family and friends are quite proud of her accomplishments.


Polymer Clay

In a previous post, I briefly discussed polymer clay and how I use it in my crafting. Polymer clay contains a basis of PVC and liquid plasticizers to keep it soft until cured. Polymer clay hardens by curing at temperatures created in the typical home oven (265-275 °F). The medium is versatile and easy to work with and appeals to crafters of all ages. The web has so many excellent sources of information and inspiration for anyone interested in polymer clay. Here are a few of my favorites.

Glass Attic: http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm THE encyclopedia for all things polymer clay

Polymer Clay Polyzine: http://www.pcpolyzine.com/ Great tutorials. The older issues had a beginner's corner. Here is an example: http://www.pcpolyzine.com/july2001/beginners.html

AMACO: supplier of clay tools. Resource of projects by medium. http://www.amaco.com/projectcat-polymer-clay-5.html

WetCanvas!: an artist's haven that covers many media. This particular discussion addresses how to bake your clay. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-353660.html

Now grab some clay and create!


Web Jewels

Browsing the internet is amazing. One link leads to another and suddenly you find a gem among rocks. I found a gem today! Terry Border, an artist who sees life with a twist, has a fantastic imagination and vision. Visit his blog and his web site. You will be amazed by what Terry creates out of ordinary items. Simply awesome!


Crafting Tools

As a crafter, there are some tools I consider essential and others I think make my crafting easier. Could I live without some or all of these - probably, but I would be very restricted in what I can create.

Three Essential Tools

Bone Folder - If I could only choose three tools, this would be one of them. Crisp, straight creases, smooth out glued images, the list goes on. A true must-have!

Scissors - a good pair of scissors might not bring about world peace, but it will make creating cards and other paper crafts SO MUCH easier and precise.

Glue Stick - all glue sticks are NOT created equal. I've tried many brands and really like the Pioneer Photo glue stick. A generous size at a reasonable price ($2 to $3). Does a very good job!

Important Tools

X-Acto Knife - Helps me get nice, clean cuts around die cuts, corners, and odd shapes or intricate areas. Cheap but a great performer.

Cuttlebug - Emboss and die cut. Tons of fonts and images to die cut plus a wide selection of embossing folders. Worth every penny! Cuttlebug machine - about $40 Embossing folders and die cuts range in price from about $5 to $60-70 for a set of fonts.

Xyron or Double-stick Tape - I bought the Xyron 510 and can put paper up to 4 inches wide through the machine. Lays down a layer of adhesive on one side. One cartridge contains 18 feet, so you get quite a bit of use from one. Xyron 510 - about $40. Double stick tape comes in many forms. Some are better than others but all do a pretty good job. Using double stick tape can be a bit expensive and if you use layers on your cards, you'll go through one roll pretty darned quickly. An alternative to the disposable rolls of double stick is using an automatic tape gun (ATG). 3M makes the ATG and special tape that goes in it. Large but light, these very large rolls of double stick tape will last you quite some time. If you make a lot of cards and use double stick, consider the investment in an ATG. It won't be long before you realize your savings. 3M ATG - about $40, 3M 1/4" x 36 yards tape roll (box of 6) - about $25.

Cutting Mat - a medium to large cutting mat will help protect your work surface and give you a reliable place to cut, measure, hammer, and all the other things crafters do. Take note: do NOT use heat on or very near the cutting pad. The heat will make the pad warp.

Metal Ruler - makes using your X-Acto knife cut accurate and easy.


Stamping and Other Ways to Decorate Your Card

In my last post, I talked about See D's stamps at http://www.goinque.com/ . Well, they are having a one day sale. Here is what I got in my email:

"January 26 is Everything Inque Day - a day set aside for extra special savings on Inque Boutique products! Scrapbookers, card makers and papercrafters all over the world have been sent 15% off coupons to redeem on Inque Boutique merchandise for this one day only. Inque Boutique members will save even more!" Members save 20% on anything and everything made by Inque Boutique. Membership is free and easy. Go to their website, become a member and print out the special members only coupon to take to your local store that carries Inque Boutique products. They even have a handy store locator feature on the site so that you can find the store nearest you. I believe some online stores are honoring their coupons. You'll want to check to be sure.

Besides stamps and ink, I use the Cuttlebug embossing and die cutting machine, ribbons, charms, pastels, charcoals, colored pencils, watercolors, and embossing powders to adorn my cards. I also use polymer clay.

In all my years of crafting I have never considered polymer clay. I always just figured it was for making beads for necklaces the kids liked to wear. I don't know what happened to make me change my mind but I have discovered I can make some pretty neat looking pieces for my cards with clay. After doing some reading on the internet, I bought a couple of packs of white and one of black. The white was so that I could make molds of things around the house and the black was for making things for cards. I'm really happy I gave it a try. Yet another skill set to learn and ways to experiment with creating "stuff". I do love learning new things!


Rubber Stamping for Cards

As I've said before, I enjoy making handmade cards. Many years ago I used to really enjoy rubber stamping, but one thing led to another and I moved away from the hobby. As my children grew, my crafting room was dismantled and became one of their bedrooms. We (my husband) decided to donate all of my crafting gear (stamps, inks, embossing plates and tools, heat tools, paints and more) for a tax deduction. Now, 15 years later I find myself inching back into rubber stamping as a way to decorate my cards and possibly some polymer clay.

Times have changed quite a bit. Back in the day, all the rubber stamps you found in the stores were red rubber mounted onto wood. Only the "hard-core" stampers bought unmounted stamps or carved their own. Nowadays, the local craft stores carry unmounted stamps in both rubber and clear polymer. To top it off, they cling via static cling to clear acrylic blocks. Now stampers can actually see where they are stamping. No more close enough guess work! Sure beats carefully cutting around the rubber image, cutting foam pad to match and then gluing the whole think to a wood mount with rubber cement.

My first sets are called See-D's stamps. They come in a nice plastic case with an index page of the images and some extra static cling. They are made of purple rubber - kinda cool. They are deeply etched making a nice, clear stamping. If you don't want to buy acrylic blocks you can certainly use the sturdy case. I think you could construct an entire layout for the front of your card by placing multiple stamps on the lid and then ink them with pads or markers.

Enough talk, here is a link to the company web site: http://www.goinque.com/asp/product/


More Cuttlebug Love

My taste in card making is more toward the simple & elegant rather than cute or busy. That is why I am so pleased with the new embossing folders and die cuts Provo Craft is releasing this month. I will definitely save my loose change so I can buy a few.

Link to new embossing folders: http://www.provocraft.com/products/catalog.php?cl=cuttlebug&scl=Embossing
Link to new die cuts: http://www.provocraft.com/products/catalog.php?cl=cuttlebug&scl=Dies
Link to new combo dies: http://www.provocraft.com/products/catalog.php?cl=cuttlebug&scl=Combo