Saturday, August 31, 2013

RIP HP & Back To It All

Hi there... remember me? My name is Maureen and I used to blog.

And do some artsy / craftsy things too.

But when my dear 8 year old HP laptop died about 10 days ago, I was forced to make a huge decision.

Replace it with another PC or finally bite the bullet and go Apple? I love my iPhone and iPad, but since I have quite a bit of Windows-based imaging and web-building software, I decided to hunt down a new PC laptop. When I got to the store however, I learned that I could run BOTH Windows and Apple on a MacBook Pro.

My dream come true!

I have always wanted a Mac, so because I am a University faculty member and since Apple is running a special offer for the beginning of the school year, I finagled a deal for over $200 off a new MacBook! (I know, I am bad and/or damn lucky - it never hurts to ask!).

Needless to say, since I brought it home, I have been on a steep learning curve (oh and he talks - WITH an English accent thankyouverymuch). He, erm, IT is wonderful... everything is running great; I have my old Windows programs back, new software to learn with a $150 App Store credit and because I am vigilant in backing up, I didn't lose anything when my ex-HP bit the dust (may it Rest In Peace).

It is so wonderful to be back.

Oh and before my Crises Of The Expired Laptop occurred, I was busy every night on a rather large Halloween project that I will be revealing when I get back to completing it.

I did however, finish a smaller project I am ready to share today though:

A domino book! I have seen these on many Pinterest boards, on Laura's website and on YouTube. Using 1" x 2" sized dominoes, you create a book using accordion-folded paper, ribbon and whatever you fancy to decorate it.

Mine is all about birds...

Using a dimensional sticker from Jolee's, I replaced the ribbon with a length of chain at the top and attached it to the front of my book. I then stamped some Inkadinkado birds, coloured them all in black (some were just outlines) cut them out individually and added them to each page. The last page features an empty birdcage with open door - it's a charm that I dyed with black alcohol ink. The background was created with Ranger Distress inks and rub-ons from Basic Grey.

The edges of the dominoes were painted black with a Copic marker. The ribbon is silvery seam binding. Here's a shot of the back with patterned paper, distress inked edges and another rub-on.

I really love how alcohol inks react on smooth non-porous surfaces. I inked both dominoes with black and white ink and added some Alcohol Blending Solution to create this great mottled effect:

A fun little project I have wanted to try for some time now!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mini-Book First Try

While working on my Mini Matchbook cabinet, I was intrigued by Laura Carson's Apothecary Tutorial from last Halloween. I thought I might like to make one, especially after finding some tiny glass bottles at the local Dollar Store.

This weekend I tried my hand at one of the mini-books she demonstrated. Using everything else I hand in my stash, here's my first attempt. The book's front and back covers are created first using heavy chipboard, wrapped in patterned paper. Then the spine is made from a double thickness of paper and I thought it would look even better by inserting two pieces of thick cord in between them to create some authentic spine ridges. After gluing I used my bone folder to define those ridges.

Here's the front of my book, with Spellbinder's die-cut chipboard embellishments, along with an old key, spider charm and tassel (inked and distressed with alcohol inks and Distress Stain).

A closer look at the spine, with more chipboard embellishments cut on my Cuttlebug and painted with Tim Holtz's pewter Distress Stain.

The back of the book, with the same paper as the front and a charm used to hold the ribbon closure.

A peek inside....

Oh, yeah, it's not really a book! It's a mini-apothecary! Since I didn't have an Altoids tin, I used a square tin I had on hand (that staples came in).

Okay, enough teasing, here's what's inside:

My mini-witches' potion book! And I mean mini - it measures a mere 4.5" tall and 4" wide; the bottles range from 1.5" to 2" tall. The first bottle has a black candle with wax dripping down the sides. The second bottle is filled with a fine white glitter, the skull and crossbones bottle was dyed with yellow alcohol ink and the last tall bottle was dyed with purple alcohol ink (all by Ranger) and has some rub-on swirls decorating the front. (I hand drew the cat and poison symbols since I didn't have tiny labels.)

A black crow sits on top with an old scroll (potion recipes, I guess) tied with a ribbon. Looks like the set hasn't been used in awhile; there's a spider in that web! (Made with some wire and a dot of Glossy Accents for the body).

Before attaching the tin to the back cover, I stained it with more alcohol inks (green and purple) and lined the sides (inside and out) with lace again dyed to match. The back of the tin has some patterned paper of skulls that has a wash of pewter Distress Stain, so depending on what angle you look at it, the skulls seem to appear and disappear.

This sure was a lot of fun to make; now I need to get a few things together to make something like Laura's large Pretty Potions and Poisons Apothecary shelf... at least I already have the black cat!

Thank you again Laura, for the great tutorials and inspiration!

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