Friday, February 22, 2013

Wishing For Spring

Winter just won't go away. Those of us living in Maryland have been fortunate not to have had a lot of snow this year, but we have had our share of miserable weather. We have had snow, freezing rain, sleet or a combination of all three every week this winter. Yesterday was one of the rare bright sunny days so I took advantage of it to run some errands. Even though the sun was shining, it was still very cold and windy.

Home Depot was my last stop. One last time to get out of the car and brave the icy wind before heading home. My husband sent me to home depot to pick up trays to start his tomato plants. While walking from the garden center to the check out, I found a display of orchids. I was mesmerized by the blue orchids. They were beautiful and unusual and I had to have one. I started to read the tag about orchid care and quickly became disillusioned by the blue orchid. The tag stated that the plant was actually a white orchid infused with blue dye and the new blooms would be white. Sadly I put the blue orchid back on the shelf and walked away. While walking to the check out I found another display of orchids in lavender, pinks and light coral (all natural colors and half the price of the fake blue one). A beautiful lavender orchid caught my attention so I decided to buy it and bring it home as a little present to myself to help me cope with what's left of winter.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Panda Box

I'm always saying that there are never enough hours in the day for me to get everything accomplished, but some how I can find time to decorate a shipping box. There's always time for art! Decorating shipping boxes is a fun, quick, creative project and everyone seems to like them. The man at the UPS store told me that they enjoy the decorated boxes and Brittany likes coming home from a long day at the University to find a cheerful box waiting on her door step.

After a stressful day at work, I headed off to my atelier with the my plain brown box. I didn't have a clear vision of the finished project before I started. I knew I wanted a Panda scene and worked from there. I fired up the Cricut and cut the Pandas, bamboo and the pagoda. Next I pulled several sheets of paper and card stock-for the sky and ground and placed the images against the papers that I had chosen until I found the paper that worked well with my images. I placed the paper on the shipping box and marked the measurements for the ground and sky on the paper. I constructed the entire scene before gluing anything down. The scene needed some elements in the sky, so I hand cut a sun and some clouds. When I was satisfied, I glued everything in place and then covered the entire scene with clear shipping tape to protect it. By the time that I had finished my project I was no longer stressed out. Art is such a great way to relieve stress. I get so absorbed in my projects, whether it is painting or Cricut, that I lose all track of time.

Directions for Panda Box:

Medium size brown shipping box- I recycled a box.
Prima Marketing Sasha Paper Collection- green background paper with flowers
Blue paper for sky
White, black, brown, red, yellow, light green and olive card stock
Cricut  Paisley Cartridge
Circle cutter or small round object to cut the sun
Martha Stewart Bangle Chain border punch
Aleene's Clear Tack craft glue

1.  Cut the Sasha green flower print paper to approximately 6 inches. Cut the blue paper to approximately 6 inches. Position the blue paper so that one inch is under the edge of the green flower paper. The blue sky should measure approximately 5 inches high. Glue the paper so that the flower paper over laps the blue paper by one inch.

2.  Using the Cricut paisley cartridge cut one 2 inch sitting Panda out of the black and white card stock. Cut a 1 1/2 inch sitting Panda and a 1 1/2 inch standing Panda out of the black and white card stock. Assemble the Panda's.

3.  Cut the bonsai tree out of the brown and olive card stock at 1 1/2 inches and the Pagoda out of the red and black card stock at 1 1/2 inches.  Using scissors cut a small branch from the bamboo for the Panda to hold. Cut the bamboo at 1 1/2 inches out of light green and olive card stock. Assemble the bonsai tree, bamboo and the Pagoda. Glue the hand cut bamboo branch in the Panda's hands.

4.  Use the Martha Stewart Bangle Chain border punch to punch a border the length of a 12 x 12 inch piece of brown card stock.

5.  Position the background green flower/blue sky paper on the box. Once you like the placement glue it in place with Aleene's Clear Tack craft glue.  Position the large and small sitting Panda's so that they are sitting in a field with flowers and glue in place.

6.  Position the brown bangle chain border so that it covers the seam between the ground and the sky and glue in place.

7.  Center the bonsai tree on the top part of the border and glue in place.

8.  Glue the Pagoda on top of the border just to the right of the bonsai tree.  Glue the small standing Panda to the left of the bonsai tree. Position the Panda on the center of the chain just above the bottom loops.

9.  Use a small round object or a circle cutter to cut a small sun out of yellow card stock. Glue the sun to the upper right of the picture. Lightly draw free form clouds, with a pencil, on white card stock. Cut the clouds out with scissors. The clouds don't have to perfect, in fact it's better if they are not. Glue the clouds to the upper left portion of the picture.

10.  Once all of the glue is dry cover the entire picture with clear shipping tape. Position the tape so that the edges meet and no portion of the picture is left unprotected. This step is necessary to make sure that your decorated box arrives at it's destination in tact. My box traveled to Connecticut via UPS and arrived unharmed. The box was in such good shape that Brittany's room-mate wanted to use it to pack some of her clothing to take back to Turkey for the summer break.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kitty Thank you Card

I was standing in the check out line in the grocery store and noticed a display of greeting cards with a "hand made" touch. I picked up a cute card with a die cut bird and bird house on the front. I contemplated buying the card until I turned it over to look at the price. I was in sticker shock- $7.95 for a card with a few die cuts on it? There was no way that I could ever justify the price when I have a Cricut at home.

Although this is a thank you card, it could be used for other occasions by changing the greeting. I almost decided to use theme for a Valentine's Day card instead.

Directions for Kitty Thank you Card:

Recollections small white roses
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist-Cherry, Pearl
Martha Stewart Heart Border Punch, leaf paper punch
Pink ribbon with white hearts
Recollections adhesive backed small crystal hearts, pearls
White, black, light pink,cream and olive green card stock
DCWV Tres Chic mat stack- pink and black print card stock
Cricut Four Legged Friends cartridge
Bone folder
Small foam dots

1.  Print the greeting on a piece of white card stock using the half fold option.  Fold the card in half and crease it with a bone folder.

2.  Using the Cricut Four Legged Friends cartridge cut Cat 5 at 2 1/2 inches out of white card stock. Press the shift key and cut Cat 5-S out of cream card stock. Press the Layer key and cut the ear, nose and collar out of light pink card stock. Press the Layer and Shift keys and cut the eye lashes out of black card stock. Assemble the cat. Lightly spray Kitty with Pearl Glimmer Mist and let her dry. Attach a small pink crystal heart over Kitty's nose and attach 3 small pearls to her collar.

3.  Cut a square, 3 1/2 inches high by 3 1/2 inches wide, from black and pink print card stock. Cut a 4 inch square out of the light pink card stock. Cut a 4 1/4 inch square out of the black card stock.

4.  Glue the pink card stock on top of the black card stock, leaving a 1/4 inch border on all sides. Attach Zots to the back of the black and pink print card stock. Layer the print card stock on top of the light pink card stock leaving a 1/4 inch border on all sides. Press the print card stock in place.  Attach foam dots to the back of Kitty, center her on the print card stock and press in place.

5.  Cut a piece of  pink ribbon and tie a small bow. Cut two smaller pieces of ribbon and glue them to opposite corners layered card stock. Glue the bow over the ribbon on the upper right hand corner of the card stock.

6.  Lightly spray a white rose with Cherry Glimmer Mist. Let it dry. Punch two leaves out of the olive green card stock, using the Martha Stewart leaf paper punch.

7.  Punch a heart border out of the light pink card stock, using the Martha Stewart heart border punch. Save the left over pieces from the punched paper (hearts and paper scraps from heart image).

8.  Apply a small pink heart on each side of the word Merci. Use the left over scrap of pink card stock from the heart border punch and glue it over the top and bottom of the word Merci, to frame it. Glue the rose to the left of the frame and glue two leaves under the rose.

9.  Glue the heart border under the front edge of the card.  Glue the small hearts from the border punch to each corner of the black card stock.