Monday, August 31, 2009

Mucha Resin Link Bracelet

I've expanded my jewelry-making to bracelets now. This is a link bracelet made with Alphonse Mucha images--I just love the art nouveau look! You can really use any images--your own photos or punched designer paper.

Since I bought these images as a digital collage sheet (from --where I bought the bracelet blanks too, by the way), I had to print them on my computer, which required a step to seal them before adding resin. I used a Krylon spray specifically for protecting photos. After printing the images, spray both the front and the back of the paper, let it dry & then punch or cut them out.

They were already in a 3/4" circle size in pdf form but I needed them to be 11/16" to fit perfectly inside the link. I figured out I could re-size them by opening the pdf & then using the pdf photo tool to copy them onto the clipboard--IMPORTANT--make sure the "view" is more than 100% to maintain image quality--I put it on 150% just to be safe. Then I inserted the copy from the clipboard onto a blank 8 1/2" x 11" photo in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Nest, I resized the whole thing so the circles were 11/16" (by making the ruler visible). Then I saved it as a .tif so as to avoid any compression of the file. Next, I opened up Microsoft Publisher & inserted the tif onto a blank letter, resized the photo to letter size (this is to make sure it still prints to be the right size) & saved it as a pdf. I found that it still printed the best quality as a pdf rather than if I just printed it as a jpg--I'm sure other more computer savvy people can figure out their own way but if all you have is Microsoft Office & a non-professional photo-editing software, hopefully this will work for you too. Alot of these collage sheets are already sized for use on certain pieces (like scrabble tiles or dominos) but if you know how to resize, you can buy one size & re-use it!

Since I could not find a 11/16" circle punch to save my life, I simply had to cut the circles out. It was worth it though, because it's easier to add resin when the image fits nicely in the tray. So, the last step, of course, was to add my Colores Doming Resin--let it cure & viola--cute bracelet!

These five Mucha ladies represent the five months of my family's birthdays--so it can be a nice personal present. Below is a (little fuzzy) close-up of "April."


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Outdoor Craft Fair: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Saturday was the first time I’d done an outdoor craft fair (but I’ve done indoor ones for about four years now) & I have to say—not a big fan. The event was the first annual Catholic Heritage Festival for the Diocese of Arlington so there was a lot more going on than just the vendors. Here are my reflections on my experience as one of them:

So the Good—Friends & Family: my friend & downline Areana had a table with me and it was nice to share the day with her. More friends stopped by—our friend Erin, who isn’t even Catholic, drove out with her family. My family came to visit and there were kid activities to keep them happy and they got to see me “in action.” My friend JoEllen, her husband & four young kids helped me pack up quickly when the festival was closed due to a storm coming. I also met a few new stamping diehards for my newsletter and got nice compliments on my display.

The Bad: I couldn’t sleep the night before because the weather forecast was poor and I was sure they’d cancel it completely—kind of stressed me out because I’d already packed the car and worked so hard for so long. The weather held off for quite awhile (albeit it got annoyingly windy) but then they did cut the festival short by about 2 hours due to a lightning storm coming (metal tents=bad place). We were on top of a hill too—not good. There wasn’t much activity the first hour and a half either because there was a mass & mass + shopping = sacrilegious. So there was only about 2 hours of “shopping” but then a lot of people didn’t come to the festival to shop—therein lies the risk of doing a craft fair in conjunction with a larger event. So, while I got some nice feedback, the sales were less than hoped for L. I know it couldn’t be helped but I left a little discouraged nonetheless. The bright side is that I got all my stuff packed up before the rain hit (rain + paper products=disaster).

& the Ugly: So I managed to escape unscathed (ironically, it was at the Bull Run Park near Manassas, site of the famous Civil War battle, and there was a shooting range nearby that I could hear as I drove away—adding to the drama or maybe I’m just easily amused), but then had the perfect end to my day AFTER pulling into our dry garage. When I opened up the door to the van, my box full o f paper items fell out and dumped everything in a puddle that had formed from the rain on the van! Triage was quick. Then, when I brought in my big magnetic board with all my domino magnets on it, I noticed little teeny ants crawling all over it! A sheet I’d left under a table and placed on top of the board had collected the unwelcome visitors & in our rush to pack up, had not been noticed. Sigh.

The Aftermath: Luckily, after the initial shock of puddles and ants, in the end there wasn’t much lasting damage. I did do some soul-searching regarding my crafting hobby though. My conclusion—when this seems to feel like a job, it’s time to cut back! If anyone has insights on how to moderate/balance making enough stuff to have for a craft fair yet still remain sane/don’t bite your kids heads off—please share!!! I’ll be working on that over the next few months (Lord knows I have enough stuff now for the rest of my holiday shows!)

Me & my Shtuff. I went a little nuts with Vistaprint —notice the matching banner & my t-shirt. Then, I also got new business cards, business magnets, a car magnet AND a hat (my daughter was wearing it). It was all “Free” (just paid more than usual shipping). Vistaprint isn’t paying me for this, but it’s great fun if you want a few more marketing items!

Areana's Table. Check out the fun headbands--made from sealed paper! We'll get her to guest-blog about them :-)

Barrettes anyone? The Disney Princess ones were popular.

Quality Control. Then, as you can see, I've become obsessed with making jewelry...think I have enough rings & pendants??


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Embellish It Yourself Mini-Albums

Here are a few mini-albums for Saturday's craft fair. These were made with SU!'s Scallop Circle and Clear Scallop Square dies. I first used SU's Glue Stick to adhere the paper on chipboard (mostly the stuff that comes with packs of paper) before running it through the Big Shot. Only the front and back are chipboard and then I added cardstock inside for the pages (also run through the Big Shot).

I tried a variety of themes and then created a little bag of coordinating embellishments so people had a choice. For example, in the first picture, the image from "Special Blessings" lends itself to a wedding, baptism, first communion etc. so I offered all those sentiments. Next, I broke out the Sticky Cuts and glitter for tween albums.

Finally, I used the new "Pony Party" and the retired "Prehistoric Pals" for a girl or boy birthday album respectively. For the boy embellishments, I used the new "Look Who's Turning" stamp set and provided all the numbers so someone can pick the age the kid is turning. This project makes a great gift and still lets someone else add their personal touch.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Craft Fair Countdown...

Well, my first craft fair of the season is less than three weeks away (the Catholic Heritage Festival at Bull Run Park, Manassas, VA Aug. 22--come visit!) and I'm going on vacation next week so here's a "double post" since I'm going to try my darndest to avoid the computer for awhile--some photo binder clips I've made to sell and a new display idea I picked up fromKerry on (Love the free sharing of ideas on that site!!)

First off, some jumbo binder clips (from Staples) that I altered to hold photos. I used retired Simply Scrappin' Kits for these. My SU! glue sticks hold the paper on very nicely & then dimensionals pop the images out. Note the snowflake on the Christmas one--that's the new SU! Snowflake punch.

This next version of the photo binder clips uses some that were on clearance at Staples. They had a round end and were too top-heavy to stand upright so I turned them on their sides. I used the Batty For You stamp set and a random soccer ball stamp I had. Luckily, SU! colors coordinated nicely with the clips. I dipped the images in a Versamark Pad, covered in Clear Embossing Powder and embossed (2 layers to get a nice smooth glass-like appearance).

Now, here's a little preview of a new display idea I got from Kerry: using upended wire shelving! She used these for a craft fair to add height and I loved the idea. I also have this area in front of the folding doors of our furnace and it was the perfect solution for adding more organizational space. I can still move it easily if we need to service the furnace and I can then use it for my craft fairs too. These are 6 ft. high & tied together with plastic cable cord ties--got it all at Lowe's. Right now they're just leaning against the doors but for the craft fairs, I'll use Kerry's idea of bungee cords to secure them to the table since there won't be a wall to lean them against.
I got the "S" hooks and long narrow basket from the IKEA kitchen section. My punches are on a towel rack I found at a thrift store. I rigged this other wire basket with some yarn so that it'd hang. More counter space was saved by using S hooks to hang my brown & pink organizer tote too.
See you in a couple of weeks :)