Friday, November 21, 2008

Paper Fridays--Animal Prints





All fakes, of course!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Postcards

Here are my choices for cards that are representative of my city. The Statue of Liberty has always been a special landmark for me. I still get emotional when I see it or when I take first time visitors to NYC. I used to assist with the Ellis Island Oral History Project when I was researching immigration issues during my college days. It was so exciting talking to people who emmigrated to the US and their takes on the United States and especially their take on the Statue of Liberty.

So, for my representative postcards, I chose pictures of the Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You have been challenged

As I have detailed on several posts on this website thingy, I am a member of swap-bot. This is all linked to my first Gocco swap where Lisa (the coordinator) recommended that I check out swap-bot because of the positive experience I had with the Gocco postcard swap.

Of all of the categories of swap-bot that interested me, I was drawn to the postcard and note card swaps. I especially became interested in the handmade versions of these swaps. While I was researching the different aspects of the postcard swaps, I fell upon an article detailing a new website: is a website dedicated to those people who love to swap postcards. You can swap domestically or internationally. I decided—what the heck, why not? As my compulsive nature took over, I can’t seem to get my postcards out soon enough. I anxiously wait for someone to receive one of my postcards so I can immediately request another address.

People seem to love to receive postcards from New York City and I never know what to send. So here is my challenge to you:

If you had to send a postcard that represents your city, town, region, location, country, etc. what would it be? Go out and find a representative postcard (preferably 4” x 6” which is the standard small card), scan it to your blog and link to this original posting. In your blog entry for that day, describe why you chose the card that you did.

Secondly, if you have to send a postcard that represents YOU, what would it be? As above, go out and find it, scan it to your blog and explain.

These cards can be handmade or store bought. Your choice. If you know someone who would enjoy this exercise, forward this blog post to them. If you want to angel (host) someone else’s choices, do that as well. Let’s all be creative and come up with something special.

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It was so simple then . . .

It was supposed to be a simple swap. All I had to do was take three rubber stamps and make four impressions of each stamp. I was supposed to do this for two separate people. All in all, I had to make 24 stamped images to send. It looked so easy on paper. In reality, it was stamper’s hell.

The first problem was that I had to choose the stamps. I thought that I had a lot of stamps to choose from. In reality, unless I have misplaced some of my stamps (which could have happened in the moving of the studio), I only had a few Christmas stamps to choose from. The stamped image was supposed to take up the majority of a 4” by 5” piece of white cardstock. So, I finally chose three stamps.

The second problem was the inking of the stamps. So, of all of the ink pads in my possession (I have a complete set of all Stampin Up craft ink pads and many of the Color Box ink pads), the swap required that the images be stamped in black ink. Of course, the three Black ink pads in my possession all required re-inking. And naturally, I had no black pigment ink to re-ink the pads. A trip to three stores (who happened to be open on Sunday) solved this particular dilemma.

The third problem was the actually stamping. I never realized how difficult it is to get 8 solid and good impressions of a single image. Some were smudged, some were too dark, some were too light and finally some turned out just right. After 53 attempts to get 24 stamped images, I called it quits.

And finally, the second guessing started. Did I choose the right stamps? Will my partner like the images that I chose? What happens if my partner has the same stamps that I do? What if they aren’t good enough? I worried so much that I ended up eating some ice cream to calm myself.

Actually, I was looking for a good excuse to eat some ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch).

So, today I will mail out my packages and hope that I get a good rating. Oh, the drama of it all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NYC Craft Fair

I was just asked to replace a late cancellation at this craft fair. I don't know why I agreed--maybe because it was a good cause. I don't have a lot of product to bring but I have five days to get things ready. Plus, I will be taking invoices so I can take orders. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Paper Friday--Reds

More of my paper adventures in Japan. This week was dedicated to the Red Drawer. Next week, animal prints.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Got Nothin' for Ya

Tina (see here) challenges everyone to post 5 personal things about themselves. Following her lead, and since I haven't already posted today, I decided to comply with her wishes. Here are five things that you might not already know about me:
  • I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches (chunky peanut butter with sliced bananas on wheat bread).
  • I love to swim. I try to swim 5 days a week at the pool.
  • I love Frito Lay Bean dip. Unfortunately, I can't get it here in NYC. I tried to take some with me on a plane and was detained at the security check in because I wouldn't throw it away. I ate the whole can in front of them to prove that it wasn't a security threat (and then farted all the way through the metal detector--just for them).
  • I am addicted to creative channels on TV (Bravo, HGTV, Food Network).
  • I love Pace picante sauce (original brand--not the chunky brand) in any of the three levels of heat.
  • Old jobs: caterer, full time college professor, Williams Sonoma visual merchandiser, Christmas tree decorator, personal shopper
  • I like scented soap. I live for Copa soaps and artisanal soaps.
  • I have travelled to all continents except Antarctica
  • I used to be in the U.S. Navy
  • I have tried to learn to knit on 4 different occasions.

So there you have it--five (actually ten things you might not know about me).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Christmas Card Swaps

These are some more cards that I designed for this season. As mentioned previously, I always try and develop one card design that uses a different color scheme. The first card uses card stock that is called sorbet. The fuchsia and chartreuse colored card stock (watermelon and lime according to the manufacturers) was used for this card.

The top of the card is silver embossed. The top of the card is them shortened by 1 inch to reveal the chartreuse color of the interior of the card. The interior of the card has been gocco printed in silver ink with the greeting and a snowflake border.

The second card uses bits and pieces that I had in my scrap pile. The snowflake was left over the separates that were designed earlier in the week.

The first card represents why I purchased a Gocco printer. I wanted to combine screen printing and card making techniques to meld a new synthesis of handmade cards.

The top of the card showing the interior reveal

The interior of the card.

A card made up of leftover bits and pieces.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas Card Swap

I think that I am addicted to swap-bot but it forces me to get an advanced jump on my Christmas card designs.

Here are a couple of the cards that I sent out.

The first card is a based on a series of cutouts that I had done by a friend in Hong Kong. I am always interesed in how other cultures view Christmas. The inside of the card is a printed mulberry paper with silver and gold flecks. The back of the card has my new hanko and my label.

The second card is based on an embossed velvet paper. I take some paper backed velvet and emboss it with a iron. Every season, I always develop an alternate colored card. My swap partner loved purple and snowmen. So this card is a multi-matted card using the embossed velvet and the snowman image.

Front of cutout card

Inside of cutout card

Back of cutout card (hanko and label)

Velvet embossed card (embiggen to see details)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Paper Fridays

The following papers were purchased during my last trip to Japan. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Snowflake Notecards Swap Done

Last night I decided to experiment with Translucent Embossing Paste and Glitter. The results didn't turn out like I had hoped but I might still be able to use the cards. I should have used the Opaque Embossing Paste with Glitter which I will do tonight. Because of the lack of success with the experiment, I decided to finish my Snowflake Cards this morning rather than last night. I find that I am much more creative in the morning when I wake up early. At night, I find that I am better at assembling cards because all I have to do is focus on the task rather than be creative.

So this morning, I decided that I needed to finish my snowflake swap requirements. I am only required to send two cards so I decided to send an extra card. I took the two cards that I wasn't particularly happy with (the lavender and pink cards) and added a vellum snowflake overlay that was printed with "Season's Greetings" in a grey colored script. On the inside of the card, I placed a sheet of nice quality text weight paper. I joined all of the pieces with a silver organza bow that is tied on the crease. I am much more happy with the final cards.

The second design is a multiple matted silver snowflake. My swap partner's favorite color is purple. So I took duplex card stock with lavender and dark brown and used that as the base card. I then layered the front of the card with purple metallic paper, a silver metallic textured matt, a chocolate brown textured matt and the embossed snowflake on the lavender colored card that is the inside of the base card. Even though it is simple, I really like this card and color combination.

For the matching envelopes, I took white envelopes and dry embossed a snowflake on each one. Unfortunately, the scan couldn't show the results of the dry embossing. It is very subtle but I will definitely use this idea during this holiday season.

All I have to do now is send them out and hope that my swap partner likes them.

Snowflake Swap Card #1

Snowflake Swap Card #2

Snowflake Swap Card #3

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Up to my Elbows in Snowflakes

I am in a snowflake notecard swap. I am responsible for making two different snowflake cards and sending them to my swap partner. We have been challenged to move away from the "traditional" white snowflake and toward something different--different colors, etc.

My swap partner likes the color purple so I thought that I would do something with that and I decided to get out my embossing paste and brass stencils to see what I could come up with. I always have a problem working with embossing paste because it always gets underneath the stencil or I don't get the correct amount of coverage. I have used everything from credit cards to offset spatulas. I finally decided to use the plastic rib that I use when making decorative boxes and it worked perfectly. As for the stencil, I use the old screenprinting tip of taping off the area and putting the ink on the tape and dragging the ink over the image. I decided to use blue painter's tape to tape down the stencil and applying the embossing paste to the tape and it worked quite well. The only adjustment I had to make was to put the adhesive side of the tape on my clothes before applying it to the card and stencil. Without doing so, the tape was marring my cardstock.

As with any new project, I work on separates (pieces of cardstock that can then be used individually as parts of a card) and directly on cards.

Here are some of the pieces that I have so far. In a future post, I will show the final cards. I do have to say that I really like the fuchsia and silver combination. The lavender and silver look nice too. The light pink and silver is my least favorite.
I really like this color combination
More separates. I think that I might mount these on brown cardstock.
These are regular cards rather than cardstock.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Japan Journal Entry

The United States has 99¢ stores. Japan has ¥100 stores. Here is my haul from the store:

  • ATCs in Pink and Lime Green (for a swap)
  • 6” origami squares
  • 2” origami squares
  • Cellophane Bags (The bags are patterned. The liner is the color. Plaids, Hearts and Polka Dots
  • Scissors
  • 6” x 8” self healing mats (2)
  • 3” x 7” self healing mats (2)
  • Craft Blade
  • Glue Stick
  • 5” Lucite ruler with steel edge
  • Hello Kitty Zip Bags (for a swap)

All for ¥100 each.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Even More Japan Pictures

I am notorious for getting lost. When I was growing up, I was used to getting directions like "go to the red barn and turn left" or "go to the Dairy Queen, cross the street until you get to the Hardys and walk five minutes and it will be on your left."

The concepts of North, South, East and West are totally alien to me. How in the hell am I supposed to know where the sun is at any given moment and from which direction it came? It's not as if I am mapping the trajectory of the sun when I need to go somewhere.

When I am in foreign places, I always take my camera with me. This way, I take pictures of the major signs so that I can look at the digital images on my camera to know where I am supposed to go. This have been quite helpful when I am in a country where I do not speak the language. I simply go the picture in my viewfinder, show it to the person that I have stopped for directions and point. Usually, it works.

So in total regard for full disclosure, I share the following pictures:

My hotel was within walking distance from this subway station.

I love the way that the stations were numbered. It is easy to know if you are going in the right direction.

I always take pictures of the intersections. It really helps

In Japan, if you want to stand on the escalator you stand on the left side and let the moving traffic (i.e., the people who want to walk up the escalator) move on the right hand side. The Japanese are so polite that they post the above signs so that everyone knows how to act correctly on the escalator. In New York, people just yell at you to get the &*$*$ out of the way.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Japan Pictures

So here is the second round of pictures. Ito-Ya has a very specific "no picture" policy but I was able to sneak these while the cashier wasn't looking. As I was checking out, the cashier said "I know you take picture. You spend lots of money--so I don't tell on you.

So much for being sneaky.

The front of Ito-Ya Store #1

The back of Ito-Ya 1

The front of Ito-Ya Store #2

The English title of Store #2

Bolts of paper mentioned in an earlier post.

A wider angle of more paper