Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Gift for my Aunt

My 86-year-old mom and I are leaving in a couple of days for Iowa to visit her sister.  This may be their last visit, as they live so far apart and neither is well enough to travel much.  One of my cousins will pick us up and take us to my aunt's home, then another cousin will pick us up in a few days and return us to the airport. We hope to also visit another cousin who is struggling with Stage 3 cancer while we're there.

I've been trying to collect a few gifts to take back with us.  Colorado-grown beans, honey, hand-made soaps - gifts for my cousins were fairly easy.  But I was having a hard time thinking of something for my aunt. Then I happened on some fabric that called out her name and I decided to make a NCW (Necessary Clutch Wallet) for her. This is a pattern from Emmaline Bags that I've made several times.  I was originally inspired by Rachel Anaya, an amazing seamstress friend.  Her blog,, is well worth following.  My mom and I both carry a NCW, I have a couple of spares at home, I've made some for charity raffles, and a couple as gifts for my daughters.  I keep adjusting the pattern to get it EXACTLY the way I want it.  This one is close, but I think I need to make a few more!

Here's what I made to take to my aunt.  I think she'll like it, as she's a quilter and seamstress and I'm sure she will value the time and love that went into it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

August Swap Card

I occasionally join a group of other FSJ Coaches in a card swap.  I'll be sitting out September - and maybe October - but here's the card I sent in for August.  (I hadn't wanted to share it before the organizer sent everyone's cards out to them, but I think it's late enough now - especially since she posted pictures today!)

I'd had several ATC cards left over from a different swap, so decided to incorporate them into full-sized cards.  I'm not sure I care for the wonky placement now that I see it again!  I stamped the flower and leaf images and sentiment on the front of the larger card using clear embossing ink to create a watermark look. Then I rubbed on a dusting of pan pastels before attaching the ATC and some sequins.

Click HERE to see how I created the background on the ATCs. I used red, yellow and orange water-based markers, then clear-embossed the Honeycomb stamp over the color before spritzing with water and softening the rest of the background with the watercolor lift technique.

Monday, September 5, 2016

September Club Technique - Watercolor and Alcohol

Our September club technique uses watercolor and rubbing alcohol to add interest and texture to a background piece.  It's pretty easy - just lay down a watercolor wash and drip, splatter or dab on some rubbing alcohol.  The color around the alcohol will spread and lighten.  I added some bits of more intense color after adding the alcohol, to give it a bit more interest.  After you try the technique, make a card using your watercolor and alcohol background. And please share your creations! Here's mine.  I used an older sentiment stamp from my stash, the FSJ doily die, and FSJ Butterfly Prints and matching dies.
To get started, you'll need watercolor paper, watercolor paints or crayons, water, rubbing alcohol, and paint brushes.  I also like to use a bit of masking tape to hold my paper flat while I'm working, and an acrylic block to use as a palette.

Mix up some water and color on your palette so you'll have it ready for your wash.  Then spritz your paper (or brush with clear water). Paint color over the entire surface.

Next use a paint brush, Q-tip, or cotton ball to splatter or drip alcohol onto the wet color wash.  I think my starting color should have been darker so the contrast would show up better.  The alcohol will look grayish when you first add it, but will soon dry.

I dipped the tip of my small brush directly into my wet paint and just touched the damp paper here and there since I didn't think my original color was intense enough. I like the look of this step better than the final piece after it dried!!

Finally, let the background dry, or dry with a heat tool, trim and use it to create an element on your card.  Have fun!