Wednesday, 30 September 2015

WOYWW 330

What’s on my workdesk this Wednesday? As usual I’m between projects! – so it’s a dumping ground. Well, quite a tidy one really – I just dumped the stuff on it last night when I was going to bed.

WOYWW 330 30-9

Working round the desk: top left you can see the first card in my 2015 Card Factory. Next to that, at the back, is a pile of pieces of packing foam that came in the post with a parcel the other day – I shall be blogging about this in a day or two if you can restrain yourselves in your curiosity! The little green scrap of card beside them is part of that.

In front of that, the Turkish Delight box no longer contains Turkish Delight unfortunately (several years ago it became part of Shoshi) and it now contains my drawing pens.

Beside that is my new Florabunda Zentangle book that I won on Neil Burley’s blog and on top of it are the drawings I have so far done. Again, I will be blogging about these in due course. I am having such fun with this, and when not feeling too well but well enough to do something, this is something I can do from the comfort of the recliner.

As I can with my adult colouring – on the right of the desk you can see my latest effort (not my favourite picture but quite fun to do), and again I shall be blogging about that.

Beyond that, on the right, are the purple scraps from the purple goodies I made for our neighbour recently. I’m about purpled out now, and it will be nice to move onto some other colours, much as I am a fan of purple!

Health Update

I saw the oncologist as usual last Thursday, the day before my chemo treatment (and also went up to the unit to have my usual bloods). She was, as always, most concerned about the peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of the chemo which has to be carefully monitored because unchecked, it can lead to permanent nerve damage and lifelong symptoms – something we obviously want to avoid. She said that unfortunately the only way of mitigating it was to reduce the chemo dose and since this has already been done twice, I didn’t think it would be possible again. However, in view of the fact that I only had 2 treatments to go, and research shows that people undergoing chemo post-surgery as a mopping-up operation do just as well on a reduced dose at the end as those who do not, she proposed reducing the last 2 treatments by 50 percent! I was pretty amazed at this. So this is what happened on Friday, and all went OK.

Saturday I didn’t feel too bad because of the steroids, but on Sunday and Monday I felt terrible and fairly demoralised, thinking that the reduced dose wasn’t making any difference. The peripheral neuropathy was much better, though, and I soon left off my gloves. I was able to do a few short stints in the studio over the next few days which pleased me a lot, and by yesterday I was feeling a lot better. OK, I feel spaced out, weak and shaky but not so desperately poorly in a general sort of way as I would normally be feeling at this stage in the cycle.

I am highly delighted to be feeling so much better, and able to do some things! I am now looking forward to feeling a lot better after my final treatment on 16th October, and getting back in the kitchen again and starting to look after my hubby after all this time that he’s been looking after me! He has done a great job but I feel the time rapidly approaching when I want to start cooking real food again instead of ready meals, and sorting the kitchen out!! I expect the resumption of my domestic duties will pale after a while but how I’m feeling now about resuming them, now the end of all this is in sight, has to be a good thing! I am feeling very upbeat and positive.

Have a great creative week, everybody, and happy WOYWW.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Card Factory 2015–Purple Embossed Birthday Card with Tag

I have started my latest card factory. My stash is empty, and I am fed up with realising it’s someone’s birthday in a few days’ time, or someone needs a get well card or whatever, and having to work to a deadline. I thought if I could make up a good collection of cards I’d always have something ready when I need it. Most of them will be relatively simple.

19 Completed Card

My first effort is as a result of the pieces I cut before, to make finished cards 5 inches square. I embossed a whole sheet in error and didn’t use it, so that is my starting point for this card.

The first step was to ink the embossed piece of white card. The embossing was done with my Cuttlebug, using Tim Holtz’ “Damask” embossing folder, and I inked it with Shaded Lilac distress ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

01 Inking the Embossed Background

Next I heat-embossed the raised surface with clear embossing powder, applying the Versamark with my brayer.

02 Clear Embossing

I inked the piece again, this time with Seedless Preserves distress ink, using the Inkylicious Ink Duster, and went around the edges with Dusty Concord distress ink, using a home-made blending tool. I rubbed the ink off the embossing resist using the purple kitchen paper, very slightly dampened.

03 Inking Over the Clear Embossing

Now it was time to start on the tag holder, to be stuck down to the bottom part of the card. I took a piece of scrap white card, an offcut from when I was cutting the blank 5 x 5 in cards, and trimmed it to size.

04 Preparing to Make the Tag Holder

I took the piece of kitchen paper which I’d been using to mop up purple ink, and which had matured to the state when it was usable for backgrounds etc. I separated the two layers of kitchen paper (you get double for your money that way!!) and cut one piece in half. I laid down a fairly thick layer of regular matt gel medium onto the piece of card, and scrumpled up the piece of kitchen paper as I laid it down on top. I added more gel medium to the top surface, making sure it was well stuck down.

05 Applying the Kitchen Paper with Gel Medium

I dried it a bit with my heat gun and when it was ready to be handled, I trimmed off the excess with scissors, and then dried it fully.

I inked around the edges and on the surface, by rubbing the Seedless Preserves distress ink pad directly onto the surfaces, and then blended in the ink with the Inkylicious Ink Duster, to cover up any white, and any gel medium that was showing. I dried it again with my heat gun.

06 Inking the Tag Holder

The final step was to rub on some Treasure Gold gilding wax lightly with my fingertip to highlight the raised surface of the piece. It has a lovely deep texture and a lot of lustre.

07 Treasure Gold on the Tag Holder

I cut a tag using my new Tim Holtz “Labels” die set, using some of the purple paper that I’d stuck down onto card, for my recent purple projects for our neighbour.

08 Die Cutting the Tag

I inked the back of the tag with Seedless Preserves distress ink, using the Inkylicious Ink Duster, and the edges with Dusty Concord distress ink, using the home-made ink blender. I flicked water onto it with the tube from my water spritzing bottle, left it to stand for a minute or two and blotted it off.

09 Inking the Back of the Tag

I felt that the edge of the tag holder needed something to give it more definition against the card background, so I took a scrap of recycled cream gold-edged ribbon from my stash, and cut it to length, and then cut it in half lengthwise. I think this ribbon came off an Easter egg! I never throw anything like this away – it all goes in my stash.

10 Cutting the Ribbon for the Tag Holder

I used the extra-sticky red-backed double sided tape to stick it around the edge of the tag holder. Tip: to store these rolls of tape, whose edges get extremely sticky and make the rolls stick together, I always separate them with a square of waxed paper.

11 DS Tape on the Ribbon

The gold-edged ribbon in place along the top edge of the tag holder.

12 The Ribbon on the Tag Holder

To neaten the back, I stuck down a strip of card to cover the frayed edge of the cut ribbon.

13 Finishing Off the Back of the Tag Holder

The tag holder glued in place onto the card. I used Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive which is a good strong wet glue. I slipped the tag behind the holder to show how it would go.

14 Tag Holder Glued in Place

Next the matting and layering of the card. I inked the edges of the card base with Shaded Lilac distress ink and the Inkylicious Ink Duster, and then matted the card with gold mirror card and two shades of purple cardstock.

15 Card Matted and Layered

Stamping the inside of the card. I used a “Happy Birthday” sentiment stamp from the Stamp Barn (No. CHSH 238E), using Dusty Concord distress ink, after I had lightly inked around the edges of the inside of the card with Shaded Lilac distress ink and the Inkylicious Ink Duster.

16 Stamping the Inside of the Card

To stamp the sentiment on the tag, I heat-embossed in gold, using the “Birthday Greetings” sentiment from my Stampin’ Up set “Wetlands.”

17 Stamping for Tag

The completed tag. I added some purple ribbon and some fancy yarns with a touch of told in them.

18 Completed Tag

The completed card, with the tag in place.

19 Completed Card

This card was slightly more complicated to make than most of the others I am planning on making in the Card Factory, but I wanted to use the embossed sheet I had, and I already had all my purple stuff still out!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Florabunda Book

Even though the oncologist reduced my chemo dose by 50 percent on Friday, I am still feeling extremely wiped out and exhausted. However, the peripheral neuropathy is much reduced, which is a good sign, and this was the main reason for the dose reduction. My appetite has been poor these past couple of days and I’ve just got to do my usual, and go with the flow, rest as much as possible, sleep when I need to, and try to keep as positive as possible, always remembering that I now have only one treatment to go.

Recently I commented on Neil’s blog and amazingly, I won the book he was reviewing, of which he had a couple of copies to give away. For someone who never wins anything this was a big surprise! The book arrived today.

It is written by Suzanne McNeill of Design Originals, a prolific Zentangle artist and CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) in the USA. Her videos are a delight – this lady is so full of joy and inspiration! This latest book is a sort of offshoot of Zentangle, being a form of floral doodling. There is loads of potential for design with this – in the same way as Zentangle, you build up the designs one stroke at a time, from simple elements. She shows how to get different effects with different types of pens and colouring, with lots of inspiration for creating different projects

01 Book Cover

Neil popped in this adorable little tangled card he made for me with my initial on it, and with some kind words inside.

02 Neil's Card

Here are a few sample pages from the book. I am sure you will agree that it is beautifully produced, and high quality.

03 Sample Page 1

It contains pages that you can colour in yourself, and plenty of blank spaces for developing your own practice drawings.

04 Sample Page 2

05 Sample Page 3

06 Sample Page 4

07 Sample Page 5

I love the lettering section towards the end. Lots of inspiration here!

08 Sample Page 6

I hope this sample has encouraged you to look further at this.

I am just starting another card factory to replenish my stash, and this time I am intending making lots of relatively simple cards that I can produce fairly quickly, while my energy levels are so low. This book has come at an ideal time – I can do some simple floral doodles on small squares of card while resting on the recliner, and make them up into cards in my studio during those short periods when I feel up to sitting up at my work station.

Watch this space!

Thank you so much, Neil, for making this offer of the book to give away. I am highly delighted to have won it, and it made my day receiving it today when I am feeling rather poorly.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Chemo and Rapunzel

Today I went in for my seventh, and penultimate chemo treatment. Yesterday I saw Dr. Lo, the oncologist, and as usual she was particularly concerned about the peripheral neuropathy – if one is not careful this side effect can become permanent, and the only way to reduce that risk is to reduce the dose of the chemo. I have already had two reductions of 10 percent each, and thought she might suggest this, but she said that as I was so near the end of the course, she could reduce it to half the original amount for the final two sessions! I was very surprised (and delighted) at this, and asked whether it might not compromise the effectiveness of the treatment. She replied that some research has been done on patients receiving chemo after the removal of their cancers by surgery, and it has been suggested that those whose dose is reduced, or whose treatment is shortened, do just as well as those who have the full dose for the full six months, so she was confident that I would be OK. I am looking forward to seeing if this affects how I feel over the coming fortnight – I should notice a huge difference!

The Ricky Grant Day Unit phoned this morning while I was still in bed, to ask if I would come in earlier than my 1.15 p.m. appointment. I was half expecting this, because it happened before when they’d made me rather a late appointment. Because the treatment takes four hours, they are anxious to finish before the unit closes for the day. Why they can’t think of this when they make the initial appointment is beyond me! Last time I had to rush around and was still late, but at least this time they asked me to come in at 12 noon, so I still had time to get up and do everything that was necessary, and have a bit of time to myself in the morning before setting off.

All went off OK, except that the place was absolutely heaving with people today! For the first couple of hours there wasn’t a recliner chair available for me, even though I specifically requested it because I find it uncomfortable to sit in a normal chair without having my feet up for any length of time. The chair they offered me was the same as the one I’d had on the ward after my operation and it was very uncomfortable! After a short while I transferred back to my wheelchair which was at least more comfortable and supported me in all the right places, but I really did want to get my feet up. It was rather annoying that the man sitting opposite me was sitting on a recliner but in its upright position, so he would have been just as comfortable on a normal chair, freeing up the recliner for the likes of yours truly!! Eventually, though, this recliner became available when the man left, and I sat next to a delightful couple (husband having treatment) and we had a nice chat.

As usual, I took a bag of things in to do, but ended up not touching most of it, because I had printed out some free downloads of adult colouring pages, and decided to work on one of these. The nurses were very interested and loved what I had done, and enjoyed seeing it progressing. They are all so friendly and lovely.

This is the finished drawing. After using my Sharpies for the Koi Carp drawing I did before, this time I decided to go for a more subtle effect using my coloured pencils, which blend beautifully for shading.

09 Completed Drawing

Here is the original printed drawing.

01 Printed Drawing

My c9lored pencils, which fit very nicely in one of Dad’s old cigar boxes! Beside it are the other bits and pieces I thought I might need – pencil sharpener, paper stump for blending, pencil-shaped eraser, Zig Millennium archival pen, soluble graphite pencil, water brush. In the end I didn’t use the pencil sharpener, the graphite pencil or the water brush,  but everything else came in handy.

02 Coloured Pencils

Now for some detail shots. Here is a detail of the hair. I had fun shading this!

03 Detai - Hair

Detail of the prince. Note the shading on his hat.

04 Detail - Prince

Detail of the trees and towers. I like the roofs on part of the castle, that I decided to colour to look like terracotta tiles.

05 Detail - Trees and Towers

Detail of the top border. The lattice didn’t look like a wooden one to me, with its cross-shaped pieces connecting the bars – it looked more like metal, so I coloured it as such. This suggested to me the fact that Rapunzel was imprisoned in her tower. The top border has a slightly art nouveau flavour to it.

06 Detail - Top Border

Detail of Rapunzel’s face. You can’t see it very well in the photo but she has a delicate blush of pink on her cheeks, and blue eyeshadow. Note the shading under her arm.

07 Detail - Rapunzel

Lastly, a detail shot of the bottom of the picture. I love how the hair spills out beyond the frame of the picture. The whole picture has a lovely fluid feel to it.

08 Detail - Bottom Border

A final glimpse of the finished picture again. You will notice that I added a drop shadow which gives the picture a bit of dimension. I hope you enjoyed it!

09 Completed Drawing

Edit: You might be interested to visit http://www.coloring-pages-adults.com/ where I downloaded this drawing – they have got literally hundreds of amazing adult colouring pages for free download, arranged in categories. More than enough for a lifetime of happy colouring, I should think! Have fun.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Purple Basket

Yesterday I made a little basket to put all the purple goodies in to give to our neighbour. I found the instructions for making this basket via Pinterest, which directed me to this blog. I decided to alter it somewhat – making it twice as large (a 12 x 12 in sheet rather than 6 x 6 in, and even so, it comes out quite small) and also to make a single handle rather than the two in this design. I am grateful to Rachel Ricks for her template.

22 Basket with Gifts

Here is my piece of purple 12 x 12 card, scored and cut as per the instructions.

01 Scoring and Cutting the Basket

I cut several strips and panels to embellish the outside of the box. I made a bit of a booboo over this (more later) because I didn’t fully visualise how it was going to work!

I began by embossing these panels, using one of Tim Holtz’s embossing folders, “Damask,” and my Cuttlebug.

02 Embossing the Panels

After this, I inked the raised embossing with Seedless Preserves distress ink, using my brayer.

03 Inking the Embossing

I wasn’t happy with the result as the background was too pale, so I inked it with Dusty Concord distress ink, which looked a lot better. I did most of the inking on this project using Inkylicious Ink Dusters.

04 Inking the Background

Turning to what would be the inside of the box, I thought the plain purple card was far too boring, so I smooshed a background using Dusty Concord and Seedless Preserves distress inks, rubbing the ink pads on my craft sheet and spritzing it with water.

05 Smooshed Background for Basket Inside

I felt it needed something extra so I decided to put my new Brushos to use, and sprinkled on some purple, and spritzed it with water. I am not sure whether this was a component part of the purple or whether the crystals had got contaminated with another colour, but some little gold flecks appeared which I really liked! Unfortunately the photo doesn’t do this justice – it looks really rich in real life.

06 Brusho on Basket Inside

This is a set of butterfly stamps I got a few months ago.

07 Butterfly Stamps

I heat-embossed these on the inside of the basket, using gold embossing powder.

08 Gold Embossed Butterflies on Basket Inside

Returning to the panels for the outside, I heat-embossed the raised embossed surface of the panels, applying Versamark with my brayer and embossing with clear embossing powder.

09 Clear Embossing the Panels

After this I added more Seedless Preserves distress ink to darken the background still further.

10 Inking over Clear Embossing on Panels

The final touch was to add some Treasure Gold gilding wax very sparingly over the embossed surface. Just the effect I was after!

11 Treasure Gold on Embossing

It was at this point that I realised that I had not made any panels for the ends of the basket. I tried to remember what I had done, and they didn’t look the same at all! What I should have done was to look at the photos I’d already taken but I didn’t think of that… chemo brain… Anyway, I quite liked the result even if the panels did come out lighter than the rest – let’s call it “contrast” lol!!

12 Side Panels

I also realised that I should have cut the strips into short lengths to cover only the cut strips of the template, and not to have a piece going across what turned out to be the ends of the basket, so I cut off the embossed parts and disposed of the middle part. I stuck them down with my ATG glue gun. I had cut them 1/8 in smaller all round (apart from where they joined the fold) to give a matted appearance. The pale square in the centre is the bottom of the outside of the basket.

13 Basket Ready for Assembly

The next step was to assemble the box. If you look at Rachel Ricks’ blog you can see how it all comes together.

I glued the strips to each other in turn, and to the triangular flap underneath, trimming off the excess to give a nice neat edge.

Here is the basket being assembled. I used Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive which is a good strong wet glue. When I make this project in the future, I shall use this to attach the panels too, because as I flexed the strips to assemble the box, some of them started to come away at the edges and I had to squirt some of the adhesive between the layers to secure them.

14 Assembling the Basket

I punched two pairs of circles to cover the join where the strips all came together, and also to cover the backs of the brads to attach the handle.

15 Punched Circles

The larger circles were cut with a 2 1/2 in scalloped circle punch and the smaller ones with a plain 2 in circle punch. I embossed and inked these as before.

I folded each circle in half before sticking them together, and then stuck half the circle to the outside of the basket on each side.

16 The Circles on the Basket

To make the handle, because my Cuttlebug embossing folders are not long enough, I placed the narrower (1 in wide, 11 3/4 in long) strip onto the opened embossing folder and hand embossed it with a ball embossing tool. I could probably have folded it in half and embossed it in the normal way because the fold wouldn’t have shown once it was stuck down to to the other piece, or embossed each end in turn, but it looks OK. This narrower strip was cut from the same pale mauve cardstock that I used for the panels.

The wider piece was 1 1/4 in wide and 12 in long, cut from the same purple cardstock as the basket. I rounded all the corners with a corner rounder punch and stuck the two layers together with Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive, curving the handle as I went, so that the two layers would stick together in the correct curve without any separation or buckling. I chose two decorative brads to attach the handle to the basket.

17 Handle and Brads

I made a hole on each side through the half circle and all the layers, and discovered that it was much too thick for the brad to go through and its ends be spread apart to attach it. I therefore got my craft knife and carefully trimmed away some of the layers until I was satisfied that the brad could be attached securely.

18 Trimming Away Excess

Once this was done, I threaded the brads through the ends of the handle and attached the handle to the basket. The final step was to fold down the other half circles and glue them in place, hiding the trimmed away layers and the brad backs.

19 The Basket Complete

This finished the basket apart from a few little embellishments to go on the handle.

I punched three butterflies with my Stampin’ Up butterfly punch from some of the altered purple paper stuck to a layer of card, and chose the Tim Holtz Bitty Grunge set of background stamps to heat emboss them in gold.

20 Making the Butterflies

Here are the completed butterflies. I had inked them on the backs with Dusty Concord and Seedless Preserves distress inks, rubbing the butterflies directly across the ink pads.

21 Embossed Butterflies

I made a bow from purple ribbon, using my bow maker, and stuck this to a cream and gold bow I already had in my stash. The final touch was to add a little “made with love” heart charm in gold. All the embellishments were attached to the handle of the basket with Pinflair gel glue and left to dry overnight.

Here is a detail of the embellishments.

24 Detail of Embellishments

The completed basket with the gifts inside.

22 Basket with Gifts

23 Looking Dwon into the Basket

Today I made the lavender bag to go in the little box, and picked some lavender from the garden to make a nice little spray to go in the basket. I was hoping to make a small notebook with some of the purple paper I have left, but unfortunately there was no time.

15 Lavender Sachet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This afternoon we went across to see our neighbour and she absolutely loved her little basket full of goodies – she said her favourite colour was purple and she loves butterflies – both of which I knew! So nice to hit the spot and shed a little happiness – she’s had some hard knocks recently.

I am delighted that this little basket is just large enough to take the square card I made, and the other bits and pieces too. It makes a nice presentation of a collection of small gifts, and it’s definitely a project I shall be doing again. Thank you again, Rachel, for your lovely design. I hope you approve of what I have done with it!