Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time away!

Posted by Micah at 10:34 AM 4 comments Links to this post
I know I haven't posted in over a week, and I'm afraid I won't be able to post for another two weeks. Please forgive me! There are some things outside of crafting that need some tending to, then I shall return. Thank you for understanding!

In the meantime I encourage you to check these two blogs out....

The first is brand new from my Stampin Up provider, Colleen Hilchie, and can be found here:

The second has been around for a while but is worth a look at the archive. It belongs to my Close to My Heart provider, Leisa Hubley, and can be found here:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It is finished!!

Posted by Micah at 5:45 PM 18 comments Links to this post
Done! It's been a blast working on this piece, the person who commissioned me (name withheld in case the person who is getting the card checks my blog!) has been very sweet to work with. I love working with people that say things like... "I like X, I'm not sure about Y, so whatever you think can be done, go for it". It gives me some direction without stifling the creative process and it results in some great ideas!

This project has seen three new templates for shield shaped cards (two with banners, one without) that will eventually be available for download. It's seen the creation of an axe from the round tab punch and a sword from scratch. I've created faux leather from paper, and best of all... I finally used the last of my hemp twine. Oops, excuse to go CRAFT SHOPPING!!

I know this is the second post about this card, but I made a few changes since the last time. Due to the size of the round tab punch I needed to make the shield larger... I did that by getting rid of the banner at the bottom. I like the change! I started with a base of Basic Grey and used Close to Cocoa and Chocholate Chip ink to darken the edges (inside and out... didn't post the inside pictures cause I have a ton of pictures already).

The patterned paper is from DCWV Once Upon a Time which I've had lying around since, well... happily ever after.

The haft of the axe and the hilt of the sword are both textured cardstock in a pale tan color with chocolate chip and close to cocoa sponged on overtop. That gave it the wood texture (just had to make sure I got the "grain" running the right way!)

The only stamp I used was still Nature Silhoettes from Stampin' Up (the last post about this card had the head of the stag). I used the wolf on the envelope too, in close to cocoa and "stamped off" so it would be pale.

I ended up cutting the haft and hilt by hand since none of my punches really made sense. Would I do it again? absolutely! in fact I've already had three friends tell me they want this card made for them! I'll have to use different design paper, but this time around I was going for the "Tauren Warrior" feel.

Here we are, one last picture before I sign off for the night. Tomorrow is a glorious day with my husband home to chase toddlers, I love that it worked out that he's home on my birthday! Wish come true for sure!! Guess what I'm spending my time doing? Yeah, that's right... CRAFTING!

I leave you now with an explantion of my blog name. For those unfamiliar with crafting... the technique "stamping off" is simply when you ink a stamp, stamp it once and then stamp again without reinking. It gives you a paler image of your stamp.

"Take off, eh" is a common phrase used by the McKenzie Brothers. There's really no way to explain Bob and Doug McKenzie to anyone not Canadian... it's best to see it for yourself. Some of you may remember them as the voices of Rutt and Toque, the Moose in Brother Bear.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A work in progress

Posted by Micah at 11:18 PM 5 comments Links to this post
Well, I'm still working on commission pieces... but I decided to give you all a look-see anyway.

It started out as request from a World of Warcraft player and it turned into me making a couple of templates for new card shapes (eventually these will be available for download, I'm still working out the kinks). Two shields and a mug of ale. One of the pieces I'm working on now involves one of the shield shapes.

It's still in the rough stages, but I'm happy with it so far! I even came up with a few accessories...

Round tab punch! Who knew you had it in you! Don't mind the fingerprint on my hiltless sword, I was in a rush and didn't let that nice silver embossing powder (thank you Martha) cool properly before touching it.

Here's what it would look like all assembled. Alas the card shape isn't quite big enough (or the round tab is too small) so I've decided to take the gold banner off the bottom and increase the overall size of the shield itself.

The person I was commissioned by felt the shiney ribbon wasn't right, and it's true! We figured maybe a rough leather and so I came up with this. That's Old Olive paper with Chocolate Chip and Close to Cocoa ink. I daubed the paper with the ink and then went to town on it with my bone folder. I crumpled and smoothed it a few million times, adding ink to soften the paper as I went. I think it turned out okay!

I might even get some craft time in tomorrow morning, I'm so excited!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Train Table

Posted by Micah at 8:38 AM 5 comments Links to this post
I love to shop... no really! LOL. One of my favorite places to go is IKEA in there "As Is" section cause you can get great deals on items that can be used for even better projects. This last Christmas we got Koen a ton of train track and trains (even a couple Thomas trains) and we bought this table.

We'd talked about getting Koen a train table from the toy store but the prices were super crazy for our budget! This table was $30 and is just the right height for our kids to play at, and it's adjustable.

Next up I contacted a friend of ours who has tools (so that I don't have to use my hand held saw!) and we'll be purchasing some basic trim (like the kind that goes around your doors and windows), cutting it to the length of the table edges (remember to measure the shorter edge of the angled cut!) and attaching it. The trim will be attached on the sides of the table, flush with the bottom of the tabletop, so that the table itself has a ridge running all the way around it.

Once that's complete I'll be caulking the inside edges and painting the surface of the table (after sanding cause it's super shiney) with tree tops and a river or two. I'll just be using acrylic paints, nothing fancy. The final coat will be a thick clear lacquer, something I can pick up at the craft store pretty easily. (Tip, use a blow dryer to keep the resin warm and help get rid of bubbles as you apply it. And remember to do something like this in a well ventilated area!!)

The reason I got the table at such a discount? a couple pock marks on the surface where a screw was tightened took much. Pfft, doesn't bother me, I'm painting over it!

Total cost of materials and table comes out to about $50 instead of the $150 for the store bought tables and I get to customize the look all I want!

I'll post more pictures of my progress as I go. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's official!

Posted by Micah at 2:44 PM 5 comments Links to this post

About a week back I posted about a user at Splitcoast Stampers encouraging people to donate cards and papercrafting materials to Ronald McDonald House Charities. Well I've been in touch with Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta here in Calgary and they would be quite happy to take any new crafting supplies we can manage to scrounge up.

So today is the first official day of collection. I've already gone through my individual sheets of design paper (that took forever!) and seperated the ones I simply can't do without. Next I'll be looking over my stamp sets to see if there's one or two I haven't used in a long time. While my inkpads aren't new, there are some that are barely used (like many of the retired Stampin' Up colors) and I know I can do without them. Soon I'll be looking through my embellishments to see what I can part with.

I'll be able to donate several blank scrapbook albums with pages (the older Creative Memories "perfect fit" 12x12 books) and page protectors that fit. And, of course, my kids crafting drawer could use some cleaning out.

So, Calgary, I challenge you to clean out your craft rooms! Dust off those things you bought but never opened and put them in a box. Add in unused design paper, extra cardstock and any other tidbits... then contact me at berkanaisageek(at)hotmail(dot)com and we'll arrange an pick up time.

From there I'll sort the items and package them up nicely and take them to the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta!

As for the rest of you, if you'd like to contribute you can either check here to see if your area alreay has a rep... or find out if you have a Ronald McDonald House in your area. None in the area? no worries, there are plenty of charities that are looking for the same kinds of donations! If you'd like to contribute through Stamp Off, Eh, you can do so by mail (with either supplies or cards) by contacting me at berkanaisageek(at)hotmail(dot)com.

I'm sorry I've had to many posts without an actual craft to share, I'm diligently working on a commission piece (another Warcraft theme!) and I should have something to share soon. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Totally Not Crafting

Posted by Micah at 1:44 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Today has been a very sad day for me. I've read about some disturbing things (I don't suggest clicking that link unless you have a strong stomach, it involves what I feel is nothing less than "parent sanctioned" pedophilia). And I've read about some other disturbing things (involving sexism in my favorite game). And I've seen my favorite Canadian food store perpetuating fat hatred, with children no less. (I don't know how to link directly to the comment regarding the "war on childhood obesity" or I would. Edit for a direct link to their blog post.)

Between raging about poor little girls who don't have a voice and the horrible rampant "male privledge" in the gaming communities in general. Add a whole federally backed campaign that focuses on fat kids implying fat automatically means unhealthy and ignores skinny kids that are leading unhealthy lifestyles.

Well, it's nice... downright heartwarming actually... to come back to my blog and read so many awesome comments on my crafts. I know I'm an emotional wreck (meaning things "get to me" and I'll tear up over topics that I would normally be able to just get angry or happy about) but that doesn't change how awesome I feel about reading the positive things you have said to me. Thank you so much for making my "space" a positive place to come and recharge. Heck, the words I'm saying now don't do justice to the warmth I feel. Thank you isn't enough but it's all I got.

Oh and my $4.18 of natural gas usage in July turned into a $34.54 bill after fees, charges and taxes. How does that even happen?? I mean aside from using a whole gigajule of natural gas in JULY, how can the administration fee be more than my usage? and why does it cost nearly $20 to distribute $4.18 in gas to my house? Is that even legal? or ethical? Good grief.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kid tough camera

Posted by Micah at 9:42 AM 3 comments Links to this post

For Kerowyn's birthday we got a child friendly digital camera (both her and her older brother are starting to get obsessed with pretend picture taking, so we took it to the next level). I did some research and finally decided on the Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera.

Some of the other cameras we had looked at had video games and many, many, buttons on them. This one has five buttons. On/Off, Take-a-Picture, scan through pictures (forward and back), and delete picture. It's got both a view finder like an oldschool camera and a small LCD screen.

I like that the camera is durable and waterproof (resistant?) and that it's easy for little hands to use. I like that the battery casing and USB port are protected by a hatch that requires a screwdriver or other tool with a slim tip to get into. I like that it has two resolution settings, one that is okay for internet photos (see the shot of Kerowyn) and another that is okay for printing (as long as you only want 4x6 photos). On the lower resolution setting you can take about 500 photos. It also has an auto-off after a minute of inactivity. Battery saver!

What I don't like is that the frame rate is very low so you have to keep the camera, and the object you are snapping a photo of, very still to get a clear image. Most of the pictures the kids have taken so far look like they were shot from a car on the highway. How many toddlers and preschoolers do YOU know that have a steady hand? It's battery operated instead of chargable, another downer for me.

Overall I'm happy with the camera, though I wish I'd thought to set the camera to the higher resolution setting right away!

Now I have to finish a photo album for the kids to put their own photos on display... and think about a photo printer cause, well, I think it'll get expensive printing off low-res questionable photos.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cupcakes, yum!

Posted by Micah at 11:37 PM 10 comments Links to this post
July 2nd was my daughter Kerowyn's 2nd birthday. We held off on having a celebration until the end of the month when we'd be visiting grandma (my mom). Most of our friends plan or attend Canada Day events, so it made sense to hold off.

My son Koen was pretty excited (he's 3.5)... he informed me and his grandmother that we must make a birfday cake and make in lots and lots and lots of nummy. You may recall me mentioning a Sesame Street themed card I had been working on. Well, "stuff" happened and I never finished the card, but we kept the theme.

The birthday party was to be held at CrocTalk, Canada's only reptilian conservation facility. Predators, toddlers... what could POSSIBLY go wrong!? Nothing, as it turns out. But the facility isn't really equipped for food heavy birthday parties, so we opted for cupcakes. Koen helped to make them, he was so proud.

So after the kids fed the tortoise Sherman, and watched Allie the alligator get her dinner, and patted the rabbits and touched the baby crocs and held the crocodile egg... they were ready to eat Elmo and Cookie Monster. (Those are apricots for noses). Next time I do something like this I'll make the icing a bit thicker and NOT do it in 100+ degree weather at an outdoor facility. Sheesh.

Kerowyn had a blast and we made some new friends while we were visiting. And if you happen to be passing through Kelowna BC I highly recommend taking your kids, or yourselves, to the CrocTalk facility. They are almost ready to open the new facility which will have huge ponds... it all sounded very exciting.

This is the birthday girl. She wanted to eat all the eyes and leave the cupcakes. Aaaah, that's my girl!

Tips for cupcakes: use a thick home made icing, not store bought. Remember that food coloring waters down the icing and compensate. Use only half a cookie for Cookie Monster or your cupcake will fall apart. Try fuzzy peaches candy for Elmo's nose instead of apricots, what kid wants HEALTHY on a cupcake? pfft. Bulk food sales are your friend for white chips and fuzzy peaches, fewer left overs.

Had to add a video of Koen meeting a tortoise and Kerowyn meeting a baby croc.


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