Friday, December 24, 2010

...and then there's this

I freely admit to being inspired by those artists out here on the web who use a variety of ephemera to create tiny masterpieces.....  Electra, this means you for one.......!!

My cousin Sue is a talented folk artist and possesses more than her fair share of ability at anything she turns her hand to, which makes gift-giving more than unusually fraught with difficulty: something store-bought just doesn't seem right.  I bought these wooden buttons from Aussie Woodcraft at the Healesville market and had something crafty in mind, but what?  After an evening blurfing (see Electra, there's that word again) I decided to combine the concept of an ATC with a collection of papers, and then frame the result.  Let me say that the frame was the easy bit.  I hunted through the big box of wooden things under the desk - and there was the perfect frame, all it needed was some sanding to neaten up the edges, and a bit of inspiration for the artwork in the centre.  The finished work has no glass because the picture is in 3D.

I've used a piece of handmade paper with a lovely textured edge for the hills; the fields are a combination of SU designer paper overlaid with green gauze ribbon, and the sky is the reverse of a lovely SU paper that matches their Fifth Avenue Floral stamp set.  The patterned ribbon at the bottom of the picture is a tiny piece from one of the TE kits. 

Merry Christmas Sue.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Made it!! (OG # 83)

Make it..... make it........ Who has time to make anything more than the bed?  Ah, but then the holidays were upon me and once I caught up with the bits of housekeeping I had conveniently overlooked, and wrapped some Christmas presents, suddenly there was time to play.  So Poobahs, here's my offering........

 My friend Kim and I started school together (more years ago than either of us are prepared to admit) and her birthday heralds the beginning of holidays for us because it was always the day after Speech Night (which at our school was on the last day of the school year). She and I share a love for silver jewellery so it was only a short stretch of the imagination to make this necklace for her.  I've used red coral, silver scallop shells and beads and a couple of tiny hematite (ironstone) balls as well.

And of course there had to be a card.  I used lots of TE goodies here, and some cream card stock that seemed like a good idea at the time, but never seems to look as crisp as black or white........FINALLY, thanks to TE pushing me outside my monotone comfort zone, I have the papers with which to grace colours other than white!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Post Dinner Swoon

.........oh have I had a meal.  Anyone familiar with Chapel Street in Windsor should go and explore the menu at Dino's.  We shared some interesting tapas (grilled asparagus with parmesan shavings, black heirloom tomatoes, cured ocean trout with beetroot strings) then roasted duck, wagyu sirloin and veal, followed by strawberry pannacotta and chocolate tart.  Not to mention a soft pinot grigio and some great coffee.  My Dad has found yet another good place (and I'm betting he and Mum were the oldest in the place by at least the 25 years that separates us!!)  The prospect of breakfast, or ANY meal, in the next 24 hours is completely superfluous.  

Add to the food: eccentric and casual diners, staff from all corners of the globe, attentive and amusing service, quirky artwork and retro leadlights.  I had forgotten how much I miss the cosmopolitan side of my town when I'm hiding here in my safe and rather boring suburb (*** identity concealed ***)!!

Manly Men

Here's Dad's card.... just time to upload before falling into the shower and getting ready for his big birthday bash, well, okay, the dinner booked in an upbeat bistro Dad's found.  It makes a change from the usual sailing-themed ones I usually make for him, and it fits the bill for the latest Opus Gluei challenge too.  Lots of layers, some leaves and a brad from a TE kit  or two, ribbon from the Busy Room boxes, and an assortment of DP from Spotlight and La Creme (thanks Lisa, that's a gift that keeps on giving!!)

Can't wait..... have to run.

 Happy 80th Birthday Dad!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lost time

How can it be three weeks since I even opened the page?  Where does the time go?  Ah yes, writing reports, travelling to Canberra, writing more reports, Christmas shopping.......  well, roll on December.

ooooo, sudden thought..... can make a card for the Poobahs AND have something special for my Dad in the same breath.  Its not every year he turns 80!  Cant wait to see the restaurant he's found for dinner this year - in Chapel Street no less, so its not going to be boring!!  What a great thing to be still looking for things outside the square........ 

Find the artist of the image above here.  Love the work of Mike Barr because its the Chapel Street I know from my childhood, captured as I remember it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Messages for friends

I love it when I can make a card with someone particular in principle.......but when it comes to actually sitting up to the desk and choosing colours, papers, ribbons etc, I can't make up my mind.  Here are two cards I made recently - both for good friends of mine.  The first is for a lovely lady going through some sad times.  She makes beautiful things for other people, and is one of those empathetic people who know just when to post you a little present when you need a lift.  My favourite is a box of chocolate frogs she sent me, along with an apology from her sons who had to taste test a couple to check that the packet wasn't past its "Use By" date........  Boys.

I think the two pieces of DP are from Stampin' Up and are a perfect match for the Kaiser flowers.  The brads are from a multi-coloured pack I found at Spotlight, and the ribbon could be from anywhere.  This Busy Room is getting more overloaded than ever before.

This next card had to match a truly exotic beach bag my friend chose from a stall at the Healesville Market last month.  She wandered past and exclaimed over it so much that I had to go back and buy it for her BIG SPECIAL UMENTIONABLE birthday which was last week.  We went out today to celebrate at a local winery where they served us a great lunch with some good wines.  Despite the low clouds we enjoyed the magic views across the vineyards.  Three tables of friends and family made for a lovely l-o-n-g day. 
Everything I've used, except the big green brad, is from one or other of the magical TE Key Ingredients kits I've been gathering over the last few months.  Don't know what I'd have done with out these little packets of surprises which wing their way over every month.  The hardest part was sticking on the tiny sequin stars......I need better glasses, and smaller fingers!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Everything is on a go-slow...

...trying to upload but tonight, nothing works.Halloween at its best? or just another rainy night in Melbourne.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bubble bubble.....

 Now you have to remember that we don't really do Halloween in Australia, despite the chocolate-driven intentions of the children in my street, so this week's challenge at Opus Gluei appeals to the witch in me, as opposed to pumpkins.  I hope the Poobahs take their usual relaxed view of things and don't get too cross!  Anyway, its taken so long for me to find my work table, not to mention my scissors, paper and double-sided tape that I hope I'm forgiven

So in homage to my favourite Romantic artist, John William Waterhouse, and in deference to the witches of my imagination... here are my three triangles, one circle and one half-circle as per recipe.  And I even managed an embellishment or two, if you count the sketchy additions as well as some tiny bits of bling.  You might need a magnifying glass to find the half circle, but its there.... follow the line of sight.

I REALLY like the witches in "Hocus Pocus", especially Bette Midler's buck teeth and flaming red hair....and the wonderful Thachery Binx of course (in cat form).  I've never been able to look at my vacuum cleaner with quite the same equanimity since..........

Thanks to imdb for the photograph from the movie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Christmas is coming.....

I don't want to think about it, but Christmas is on the way.  Yes I've started Christmas shopping (to be truthful, I never really stop), and I've even begun to think about what I might cook for the holiday visitor-fest (now that's a nice thought).... and Christmas goodies have begun to pop up in the nicest places.  If you haven't ever visited Taylored Expressions, you've been missing out on lots of lovely things.  Click on the badge on the side to see what is in store there for Christmas.... right now!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Summer........  cant wait.  Winter has been particularly wet and cold this year, and although we need the rain and my garden is thriving, I do love a warm afternoon.  

When I saw this image I could hear insects buzzing around and darting across the top of the water in the creek.  There's just a soft sound of water moving and the grass is just a bit prickly and dry from a day in the sun.  Pick up the hem of your skirt and slip off your sandals; slide your feet into the cool water just near the bank where its shallow and you can see the bottom.

Not sure if this is what Opus Gluei meant by dog days of summer, but it says summer to me.  The papers are just a collection from the boxes, bits of black and orange and a whisper of gauze ribbon to break up the black..

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Opus Gluei #66 The shirt off your back

Those Poobahs try to push me out of my comfort zone every week, into the cat food of all places, but not this time!!

As if its going to make the slightest bit of difference whether I look up, down, behind me or anywhere else?  What else is there to see but black?  Its my uniform and I love it. Just to prove a point I pushed back the chair, grabbed the camera and aimed it straight at my feet..... black trousers, black shoes, okay, and spotted laces, but they're mostly black and they came from such a great shop on Southbank......  I bought check ones too, but that's for another day.

So that's when I settled back into such a comfortable space and reached for lots of little bits and pieces of black scraps that litter my desk.  A piece of corrugated card with a hint of glitter, some parchment, a circle of velvety suede, some faceted brads and of course a matching piece of spotted ribbon.  I have to admit this is not the most bright and beautiful ATC, but it is me.  And if I'd used my shirt for inspiration (or in this wintery weather, my polar-fleece), it wouldn't have been any different!! 

Sorry ladies, not this time.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Katie

It doesn't seem like 12 months since I made the last card for Katie, but it must be.  My son asked me to make something for his friend, and its a pleasure.  Katie has been a good friend to Simon for a long time, and calls herself  "an honorary boy" because she's the only girl in the group which regularly drops in for pizza..... so much for my Friday nights home alone, not that I'm complaining very loudly.

.All the elements on this card are courtesy of a kit from Taylored Expressions, the extra one that came at the end of my 6 month subscription to her Key Ingredients sets.  I started with my usual black CS (cant move too far out of the zone) but the other lovely papers and flowers and leaves are from the kit.  I love the retro colours and psychedelic pattern of the DP.  This is going to be a kit I'll be using a lot and soon it will all be gone!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Opus Gluei #65 Fun with Ephemera

Can I just upload my house?  This ephemera challenge might just help me make space somwhere....

I've been doing a bit of my own de-cluttering lately, going through the many folders of paper images I cut for decoupage, so I was really in the mood for a bit more.  Then I took a good look at a few other places around the place, such as a corner of the kitchen bench beside the phone, and the pinboard behind my desk which is supposed to be inspirational but which instead is a jumble of heaven only knows what..........

So here's an ATC with a medical theme: a printout from the Medicare (Govt health care rebate system)office sometime in 2008, a band-aid that's seen better days (no NOT USED, but a bit dusty from being in the corner of a drawer), some droplets that might be body fluids, but aren't, and some likely text that came from a brochure I was throwing out.  That's one little space cleaned out......

....and then I tripped over a cat food dish which inspired the second.  The little white card came from a packet of something cute and was prised off the pinboard (the other sign there says "Dogs have masters, cats have staff" but was too long to fit on anything other than the pinboard so its staying put), then I hunted about for the rest.  The blue thing is Mr P's plastic registration tag for last year, the C is for cat.  What else?  And of course then there are four little pieces of cat food.....I had to seal them (must be the oddest use for Jo Sonja's sealer ever) so that the cats didn't eat them for a midnight snack.  The fish is, well, another thing to eat?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's cookin'........

You can tell I'm home on leave.... two challenges in a week!!
This week's Opus Gluei challenge is to do something related to food..... and I was thinking, eat it, cook it, prepare it, shop for it, dine out etc etc etc but I've become obsessed with ATCs lately because they satisfy the creative bit of me that wants to make something using papers and bits and pieces.  Having said that, there are almost NO bits OR pieces on either of these.  So out with the cookbooks and in with the scissors.  Who needs to eat anyway?

Both these cut-outs are from decoupage paper that always has so many images on it that there are hundreds to go round.  I went off on a fruit theme for a year or two and every piece of paper made me hungry just to look at it.  Have to find the big platter I made once, covered with cherries and several dozen coats of varnish.  A story for another time.... 

I fixed both shapes to black paper and re-cut each image with a small border, then fixed them to their backgrounds with felt pads so they have a second shadow.  The grapes have had their bloom emphasised by SU Crystal Effects, and they're mounted on a roughly torn piece of handmade blue paper and a black ATC.  The apple and cherries have a triangle cut from a scrap of La Creme added to their black card.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anyone for chocolate?

Now I have to say that brown is not a colour I use very much, but I do like its vintage look, and its softness.  And of course it reminds me of one of my favourite foods.... no I DO NOT mean burnt toast, or even vegemite.  I might be fifth generation Australian, but there are other things I'd rather have on my toast than maybe crunchy peanut butter, or quince jelly.

 Back to the point....  I was reading Lisa's post yesterday about the lastest Pink Elephant Challenge which she'd entered as a member of their design team (where does she find the time??) and thought it was about time I branched out a little.  This is what I made for their TPE 76 Color Challenge "Brown". 

I finally found a use for this interesting piece of brown on brown faded DP but it needed a layer of cream underneath to separate it from the black CS base.  I gathered up a variety of flowers, including an embossed SU Eastern Bloom, and layered them on along with some plain and spotted ribbon and some black and white brads.  Its my sort of birthday card.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Make me smile

I think I'm becoming hooked on ATCs because they're small.  I freely admit that I don't use them as they're intended.... no real artist lives here, but I like the size and the lack of opportunity to add too many frills.  Don't come to me for cute.

Oooo I do sound pernickety today......  small break for soothing cup of tea......


This week's OG challenge was to make them smile and I got so sidetracked in my picture folders that I kept on trying.  So here's what I did: two deceptively nice gun-toting children coming home for tea, a hopeful suitor, dinner with intent, and a catty ballerina.  I think some of the smiles might be ironic, assuming I succeed in making anyone smile at all.

All the images are from my decoupage folders in a vain attempt to minimise some small part of my busy room.  Likewise all the little pieces of coloured CS are from that big mountain of bits that always needs to be in a bigger box than the one its in.  I wrote the text because my printer is having one of those "I dont print on THAT" days, and here and there I sneaked in little bits of bling.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Far Out Brussel Sprout

I guess there are some times you just have to be Australian.  The other book in this series is Unreal Banana Peel, and they're collections of childrens rhymes and chants, best heard in the playground.  I know it doesn't make sense, but that's where my mind wandered......

...which has absolutely NOTHING to do with this weeks challenge at Opus Gluei, except in name, because the challenge is FAR OUT.  They were thinking aliens, Martians, stars, not vegetables.  It wasn't until I went to a fabulous Tim Burton exhibition this week that inspiration for an ATC finally struck.  There were just a few of his drawings in pastel on black paper, intricate multi-coloured planets and the odd shooting star, and I had a light-bulb moment.  Black and white = infinity with a few twinkling things thrown in = easy peasy.

So here's my rocket blasting off back to Earth (that's the big blue sparkling thingy in the corner) from some place very inhospitable and rocky looking.  Now I wish I'd made it a Tardis instead, but then it would have had to have had daleks and maybe a cyberman.  Tricky.  Too hard on such a tiny little piece of CS but I'll hold the thought...........

I'm very proud of the orange flame because its a piece of ribbon that I attacked with a pin to fray..... sometimes I scare myself.  Details?  Heavens, its not big enough to have any, except that the DP is still more from the La Creme stack which is always perfect no matter what the topic.  There are black dots and some twinkling stars as well as the Earth (which just proves that 5 years ago when I bought the blue bling I must have known it would be useful....eventually).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tim's birthday

Where did those 21 years go?  Tim is the middle son of a good friend, so I've known him since before he was born.  He barracks for the Mighty Bombers, also known as Essendon to those quieter more sedate people, and their colours are red and black.  

Being a quiet and unassuming Bombers supporter myself was easy to find the right mix for his birthday card, given that most of the paper in my room is black.  I uncovered the cuttlebug (see the next post below... its there on the edge of the bench) and used the squares folder.  There are silver brads, and a wee piece of La Creme that was lurking in the corner of a box.  The 21 is from a set of acrylic stamps that I've nearly worn out because they're so useful.

What's going on?

They're wicked over there at Opus Gluei.... usually nobody, and I mean NOBODY sees the space I call my Busy Room, mainly because its a place only the owner could love.  I followed the rules (I nearly wrote "guidelines" but who am I kidding, these are RULES) and didn't move a thing, just turned around from my computer and snapped some pictures.  Then I looked , really looked, at them and there's hardly a bit of paper to be seen.  I really do make cards here.  Somewhere. 

The best thing about my desk is that its high (I use a drafting stool to sit at it), and about 8 feet long, and 30 inches wide.... and the remaining workspace is about a foot square.  It has a lovely big pinboard at the back and lots of shelves above.  Ideal.....and full.  The rest of the room is best left to your imagination.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Opus Gluei #59 Ice cream

Have you ANY idea how cold it is here?  Ice-cream?  You've got to be joking.  Today we had winds of 100+ km/h and hailstones (it was just as the classes were walking down to the bottom of the oval to see the mobile farm)(thank heavens for the big dryer in the laundry)......  but last night it was a little milder and I suddenly had the urge to break out the cuttlebug because it occurred to me that the spider web folder was just what I needed for waffle cones.  I should have been asleep, but these OG challenges eat away at the little grey cells.....

So here is my ice-cream, but I couldn't resist a little mis-hap to keep the whole idea from being too cute.  Shame about that choc-honeycomb chip one hitting the ground, but life does indeed have its moments.  I had a bit of fun with the cuttlebug, a couple of circle punches and SU Crystal Effects which I keep forgetting about.  The sentiment is from an acrylic set I found at Spotlight, and the DP is another piece from the wonderful La Creme stack.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Alexandra

Some girls are very pink, and that means I'm getting even further outside the zone than usual..... The only white thing about this card is the envelope, and there's not a speck of black to be seen.  Never mind, she'll grow up soon and then, provided my fingers and brain still work together to make cards at all, I'll be able to charm her with something black and white.

In the meantime:  this uses almost the last of my dragonflies, along with a little card cut out that came in a bundle from the Poobahs one day.  The Francheville Tangerine Flowers DP was lurking in the busy room (probably wondering if it would ever be used!!)and the pink is so old its just a scrap with no name left.  I used a cream card and matched it with some ribbon Lisa sent last year.  

I love how my busy room boxes are full of little things from friends far and near.  Using them on cards for other friends is a bit like paying it forward I think.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Life's a beach

...its a bit cold for this today, but what a thought!  Warm sun, a deserted beach and hopefully a good book.  Then of course there must be the hotel just behind me, with a waiter just about to wander down the sand and remind me that lunch will be served soon, or perhaps ask if I'd like something refreshing to drink?  Doesn't hurt to dream!!

I did sit on a beach a bit like this once on one of the lovely Whitsunday Islands..... no palm trees though, and DEFINITELY no waiter, or hotel for that matter.

This little slice of memory is for Opus Gluei #58.  There's some coloured CS from the boxes, a piece of red ribbon to match the stripes in the beach towel, and that umbrella, some sand which I think I saved from my sons sandpit (to have on the bottom of candle bowls so the sand absorbs the wax)(L-o-n-g story related to my fire-protection absorbed husband who hated candles), and some shells saved from a wander along a beach some time in the past.  The image is one I clipped from a magazine.  I was trying to duplicate the horizon with the two colours of CS - sort of matching the sea.  The passport stamp is one I've had for a while and its a really useful one to suggest far away places.

Maybe I should have used it on Ali's card too?? 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I can see clearly now (Opus Gluei #57)

I have very bad memories of acetate sheet.... once a long time ago I made a card that was supposed to take its inspiration from the movie "Singing in the Rain" and I went off on a crazy tangent that involved simulating water on a window, my cuttlebug and a piece of acetate.  I almost never recovered, and that particular card didn't make it to the archive.  It should NEVER have made it to the entry stage either but that's another sad story.  Well, we all have to start somewhere, some of us lower down the scale than others!!  
Made two cards and like them both.  Here's the first, and if you go down to the previous post you'll see the second.  I finally worked out that I have to post in reverse order.....  Anyway this one is a sympathy card destined unfortunately for a friend.  I know its mostly black, and maybe that's a bit maudlin, but I also think its a stylish card and think she'll like it because she's a stylish lady herself.  I left out lots of words because I want to write a message that doesn't need to jostle with a generated sentiment, and I'm not a big fan of gushing.

The acetate sheet is another pre-cut one (see the next post) with silver embossing, and there are a couple different ribbons (thanks for the spotted one Liz) and a layered Kaisercraft flower.

Opus Gluei #57 I can see even more clearly now

.... more acetate sheet.  This very minimalist attempt combines a Japanese image from my decoupage file with a pre-cut ATC sized piece of acetate with a silver frame embossed on it.  I was hunting around at the local Spotlight and found a packet of these Fundamentals with 5 different designs printed on acetate and ready to go.  I included the fragment picture just to show it is indeed acetate and terrible to photograph!

I know this will look too simple for most, but I seem to be on a "less-is-more" kick lately; plus it seems to compliment the oriental image.  Japanese things always give me the impression that everything over the top has been shaved away and just the bones remain.

Bon Voyage Ali

My very dear friend is off on the trip of a lifetime (until she gets home with itchy feet and plans the next one) catching up with family and travelling around the Mediterranean.  Lucky girl.  Can hardly wait for the photos because I know they'll be spectacular... not only is she going to be in wonderful places, but she has a great eye for the unusual so the holidays snaps will be anything but.........

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Opus Gluei #56 Seasonal Icons

 Hmmm...dont know about this.  All that colour, and buttons no less.....

Well this is supposed to be about icons of a season but once I saw Jana's collection of cards I started thinking about something to represent each of the seasons.  I love the concept of ATCs, so that's what I chose.  The set is linked by colours too, with each using something of the card before it, just like each season leaves shadows of itself before the next one is really THERE.  The summer one has sunny sandy colours, a little length of blue rik-rak for the sea, and a fat fish blowing big bubbles.  For autumn I used the colours of the leaves outside my window today, including just a little bit of green.
Its nearly winter so that made me think of frost and fog, hence the snowflake rub-on and the blues.  There's just a wisp of cloud about too.  And finally in spring there is still a hint of winter around, and the promise of the warmth of summer, so I added a flower and butterfly.

Gulp, that's 4 buttons, 8 different papers (thanks to my April kit from Taylored Expressions), 4 different pieces of ribbon, and not a piece of black to be seen.  

Going to lie down now, feeling faint...............