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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / DATABASE ISSUES - Please do not start up new swaps until it's fixed!! on: December 12, 2018 08:52:31 AM
We are currently experiencing issues with the database where it is not accessible at all. This, of course, greatly affects all aspects of swapping.

PLEASE DO NOT START ANY SWAPS UNTIL THIS ISSUE IS RESOLVED. In addition, if you are an organizer, please keep accurate records so you can enter feedback as soon as the database is back in order. It would be extra helpful if you could take care to keep the records up to date on your swap thread as well.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope that the database is back up and running soon.
2  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Craft Swaps / DATABASE ISSUES - Please do not start up new swaps until it's fixed!! on: December 12, 2018 08:50:13 AM
We are currently experiencing issues with the database where it is not accessible at all. This, of course, greatly affects all aspects of swapping.

PLEASE DO NOT START ANY SWAPS UNTIL THIS ISSUE IS RESOLVED. In addition, if you are an organizer, please keep accurate records so you can enter feedback as soon as the database is back in order. It would be extra helpful if you could take care to keep the records up to date on your swap thread as well.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope that the database is back up and running soon.
3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Gingerbread Matchbox on: November 26, 2018 08:41:06 AM
I got a little Peaked Roof Matchbox kit from Alpha Stamps. The inside drawer slides out to make a tiny scene. The outside brown cardboard immediately reminded me of the color of gingerbread, so I decided to make a sweet candy house using dimensional paint and polymer clay canes that look like peppermint. The doorknob is a red brad. I used the paint to adhere the "candy", just as one would use icing on a real gingerbread house.


There are even some little gingerbread people (from a collage sheet) on the back.


If this roof were really made of candy, it would be a huge sugar buzz!


The drawer slides out the bottom to reveal a wintery scene. Isn't that vintage plastic Santa the cutest? His Christmas tree is decorated with seed beads.


So much Christmas goodness in a standard sized matchbox. Ho ho ho!
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Kitschy Christmas on: November 05, 2018 08:45:06 AM
Be still my heart: PINK bottle brush Christmas trees! When I saw these trees I knew just what to do with them: make a little kitschy Christmas scene. The pink tree looks great with my favorite color combo of turquoise and red, and of course I had to line the box opening with some pink pom poms for extra kitsch. A little turquoise deer I had got a new set of eyes (spot of black paint) and a shiny red nose (tiny red crystal). I tied a little bit of baker's twine around his neck to make him dapper, and used a few layers of foam tape to attach him to the back of the box.


I chose a red and white striped paper for the top and bottom of the slide out box because they reminded me of a candy cane.


Even though the box is nice and deep, I used scissors to flatten out the back of the tree a little so it fit inside better. Here's a little better idea of the inside color (that deep box is difficult to photograph well!)


Just for fun, I put a jolly little Santa on the back.


Fa la la!
5  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Altered Costume Boxes on: October 26, 2018 07:24:53 AM
 I'm a big fan of making art in vintage Christmas ornament boxes, so when I saw these new Tim Holtz reproduction Halloween Costume boxes, it was love at first sight. Halloween is my favorite! These small boxes (the cat box below is 2" by 3") look great on their own, so it doesn't take much to create cute little Halloween decor. What fun!


For the smallest box, I covered the back of the box with orange and black scrapbook paper, black alphabet beads (boo!) and a vintage image of a girl with a pumpkin. I used foam adhesive dots to raise her up from the back. Rick rack trim and a little pumpkin was added to the box top.


On this next box, I used some vintage kids from one collage sheet and masks from another to make a group of tiny trick or treaters. Foam adhesive was again used to give the group more of a 3D look. C'mon now, give them some candy!


Here's the largest box. It got a background of orange with black polka dots and some fun orange tinsel around the opening. The inside features a flying bat and a ready-for-a-party plastic skeleton holding a black cat shaker. The skeleton was, of course, too tall to fit in the space like that, so I took some heavy duty clippers and removed his pelvis and the bottom part of his arms to fit. Sounds ghastly, but look how happy he is; he doesn't mind a bit!


What a fun addition to my Halloween decor! These are going to look great on my mantel.
6  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Tiny Haunted House & Tombstone Tutorial (so many pictures!!) on: October 08, 2018 07:47:26 AM
Can't stop making things for Halloween! This haunted house is tiny, but still pretty spooky. The base is only 6" by 6".


I covered the sides of the house with a wood plank scrapbook paper, and the roofs with spiderwebs. Dresden trim accents the roof lines. 


The "stone" path in the front is cut from a cardboard egg carton. It's got the perfect texture for pavers.


Tombstones litter the front yard. The kit comes with four; I chose to use three. Buried in the front yard are "Al B. Bach" and "Ima Goner". Sadly, no one knows who lies beneath the cross. I have created a tutorial for how I made the tombstones, and you can find it at the bottom of this post.

The windows in this little house are actually thin sheets of mica. Here in the front,  I put the image of the child behind the mica, so it looks like she's inside. The pumpkin is in front of the mica so it looks like it's outside, sitting on the windowsill.


I used mica in the window because the house is designed to accommodate a tea light. When it's dark, you can light it up and it looks so spooky!


Here you can see the back of the house. I wanted the inside to be as light as possible when the tea light is lit, so I did not paint the walls or floor. You can also see all the mica in the windows. Believe it or not, it's really easy to cut the mica to size with just a regular pair of scissors. (But not your good paper cutting scissors; use the cheap pair!) I used a little white glue to adhere the mica to the back of the house.


The tree is made from a branch of an azalea bush. Perfect! I punched a little hole in the base and just fed the bottom of the branch in. The crow sitting in that tree used to be a bluejay. I filed down the tuft on his head and painted him black. He prefers life as a crow.


Next to the door are a couple of tiny pumpkins and a skull.  Although the house is designed with three windows across the front, I decided to include a door. It's just a piece of painted cardboard, with a window cut into it so the light can shine through. The doorknob is a brad.


The sides of the house are solid. I used some window frames backed with mica to make it look like there were windows there.


I had so much fun making this haunted house! I love that it looks good both in the daytime and at night.


And now for the Tombstone tutorial:

Items needed
Chipboard tombstones
Ratty old paintbrush
Black, white, and grey paint
Straight edge (optional)
Very fine black pen. I used .1 and .05 Copic Multiliner pens (above)
N4 Grey Copic Marker (not shown above)

Dip your paintbrush into each of your three colors and dab it onto the tombstone at random. It's best to use an old stiff brush that's pretty wrecked already.


Keep dabbing on the mixed paints until you are happy with the results. Once I get the mottled look I like, I often dip the brush in just the white paint for some contrast.


Make sure you also paint the back and sides of each piece. If you're making a little graveyard, it's nice if some of the stones are lighter than the others.


Using a straight edge and a .1 black pen, draw thin lines to give the tombstone a 3D effect. If you have a steady hand (or you need to go around a curve, like the stone at top below, just freehand it.)


Use the .05 pen to draw tiny cracks in the tombstones. I also used a grey Copic marker (N4) to give some shadows and dimension. For the tombstones in the haunted house project above, I hand lettered the gravestones, but for these two, I found some odd bits of rub on type that added detail. Either way works great. Now that I've got some new tombstones to play with, I need to do another Halloween project. Hmm....


Whew! If you're still reading, you deserve a prize! For a complete list of supplies I used in the Haunted house, click here, and for the set of tombstones used in the tutorial, click here. Happy haunting!
7  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Haunted Halloween Surprise Box on: September 25, 2018 07:51:35 AM
I don't know about you, but if someone gave me a beautifully wrapped little gift that had a tag proclaiming it "haunted", I might think twice about opening it up. It's so tempting, though. I do love Halloween, and look how fun that bow is...


But beware! This is not an ordinary box, it's an exploding box! Once you lift the lid, the sides of the box slowly open, and you see exactly what's doing the haunting.


Yikes! It appears to be a forgotten cemetery, and one of the grave's occupants seems to be clawing his way up from underground. (I cut those hands off of an unfortunate plastic skeleton.)


The chipboard tombstones were painted in mottled black, grey and white acrylic paints, and then embellishments were added: a silver medal flower on the cross, some rub on scrolly lines and a painted RIP on the rounded stone, and a silver skull charm, also painted, on the pointed headstone. Some tiny bats, cut out of a chipboard border, fly overhead. A spooky skull has also made an appearance.


There are also a few pumpkins in the graveyard. The two in the back help stabilize the chipboard fence. The flap of the box with the night sky on it is supported in the back by some clay so it remains upright when the box is opened. I added a faux orange side behind it for symmetry.


Happy haunting! Would you open it? If you want an exploding box or other supplies, click here.
8  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Witch, Please! on: September 18, 2018 07:27:34 AM
I was poking around an antique mall with friends a few weekends ago, when I came upon an old photo that just spoke to me. It was a photo of four women, and the two ladies on the ends happened to have pretty creepy eyes. With Halloween approaching, I knew I just had to make them into a small coven of witches. I trimmed the cardboard the photo was mounted on and added a border made from Dazzles thin line stickers.  The two creepiest ladies each received a nice broomstick, and all were adorned with witch hats. I added a few dark black "buttons", and one skully badge.


Usually, I would scan a photo like this and use the reproduction, but I do feel that using the original photo makes a much better result. It's a little scary gluing things down when it's a one of a kind, but the result is definitely worth it. Below, I enlarged it for you so you can see those eyes, especially on that witch on the left. She's definitely working on a spell.
9  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Teeny Tiny Halloween Shriney (x3!) on: September 05, 2018 06:56:28 AM
It's the most wonderful time of the year: college football, and Halloween crafting. Yay! Today I present to you three adorable mini Halloween shrines from Alpha Stamps. The opening of each one measures just 2" by 2". The tallest one shown below is a little less than 6" tall. So cute! Here's what I did with mine...


The cat. I gotta be honest: I am not a cat lover by any means. However, there was something about this cat that I just couldn't resist. The shrine is constructed similar to the others, so it comes with the 2" by 2" square opening, but I gave my kitty a mouth. And teeth. I cut a piece of shirt cardboard just big enough to attach to the front, and painted a nose and mouth. Once the paint dried, I cut out the interior of the mouth, and it was the perfect size to catch a big ole black rat. The cat looked so happy, that I felt it needed a Halloween party hat.


The sides are orange with polkadots to match his hat. Looks like that rat is trying to escape!


Front shots of the other two:


Can you spot the two tiny black rats?


Thanks for checking them out. There are more photos (and a lot more words) on my blog if you really want to get into it.
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / ATC Folder on: August 24, 2018 08:59:33 AM
Alpha Stamps just came out with a new ATC envelope folder, so naturally, I had to give it a spin. I chose to let the cardboard of the holder be a part of the design, so I pulled out some of my favorite old scrapbook paper and gave it a bee theme. Here's the front when it's closed:


There's a slit in the back for that tab to go in, but for this piece I decided to ignore that and use a ribbon for closure. The butterfly is attached to the ribbon with double stick tape. The ribbon just slides off when you want to open it. (Who can ever re-tie the perfect bow?)


Inside, there are tabs perfect for holding an ATC. Even though this is bee themed, I just couldn't resist adding a few rogue ladybugs surrounding that card.


I added a little craft paper brown bag to the lower flap, so it also holds an ATC, this one with a tab on it so it's easy to extract.


I think this is a fun way to store (or trade) ATCs. Smiley
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