Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Colour Experiment - Final

Posted by Micah at 8:32 AM 11 comments Links to this post
I give up! I was loan four Copic markers by my Close to My Heart consultant, Leisa, 2 shades of pink and 2 shades of gray (plus a blender pen). I've been trying to do something presentable but I'm afraid it's just not enough to show the blending capabilities... not even anything worth taking a photo of. So, this is the end of my colour experiment for now.

Some of you expressed concern that I wasn't making a final project with the finished dragons... well, the water colour dragon was given to my son, the marker dragon to my older daughter... but I rescued the coloured pencil dragon and crayon dragon to make into projects.

All the paper is from Stampin' Up, as are the two sentiments. The sparklies are from Close to My Heart and the dollar store (see the itty bitty sparkly on the pencil dragon's finger?). The ribbon and the corner punch are from Michaels, I'm not sure of the vendor names. The dragon is from Paper Pretties.

I'd like to thank all of you for following along on this colour experiment, your words of encouragement kept my momentum up and made it tons of fun. I must admit, whenever I make a post I check my email often to see if anyone has replied... it's like getting mini Birthday presents to get a comment!

On a closing note, please take a moment to enter my Draw for the Cure. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, hence why my blog and icon have gone PINK!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

oops!

Posted by Micah at 10:49 AM 1 comments Links to this post
I'm suppose to have a Copic Marker update today, but I had friends over yesterday and then my husband let me sleep late today (what a dear!) so I'm popping in for a quick update and apology.

Just so I have something to talk about, I'm asking how many of you have read Linda Bacon's (Ph.D) book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight? Amazing read. I recommend it to absolutely everything regardless of body image. Someone who totally loves their body can still learn something from this book, and if it means spreading the word to those who need to hear the message... great! Most especially though... anyone who has EVER dieted needs to read this book. Anyone with children (especially girls) needs to read this book.

I'm very tired of hearing that overweight=unhealthy, because it's simply not true. There are many reasons someone might be "over" what society expects them to weigh and usually it's NOT due to a sedentry and unhealthy lifestyle.

Changing the focus from "I'm fat, how do I lose weight" to "I want to be healthier and eat healthier and I want to move more, I feel good when I eat well and move more" does not mean "the fatties are giving up". How many other situations in our life do we use negative reinforcement to learn? Do our children respond better to, "hey, let's try this awesome activity here" or "get off your fat ass and exercise!"? If we know children and peers respond better to positive reinforcement, why would we treat ourselves any differently?

All my life I remember being called fat and hating my body and how I looked. When I look at pictures of myself as a tween and teenager, I'm floored at how great I look. My mental image of myself was entirely distorted and flat out wrong! It makes me really, really, worried for my girls.

We're a "fat positive" household that is working toward better food and activity choices. How about you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Koen's Story for Cpl. Hathaway, USMC

Posted by Micah at 7:00 AM 10 comments Links to this post
I'm a member of Splitcoast Stampers and often browse the "card request" forum for a Random Act of Kindness. In the past Koen and Kerowyn have contributed to these cards by colouring (usually with crayon) inside the card.

On Monday we heard about Cpl. Hathaway, USMC who had surgery on August 30 and could use some cheering up. I started making a card and my son (who will be four on Jan 6th, 2011) asked me, "mommy, what you doing?" I told him there was a man who had an owie and was feeling sad, so mommy and some of mommy's friends were making him cards to cheer him up. Koen thought about that and said, "me too mommy! we make him happy, mommy, send him hugs like grandma!" (Maternal Grandma sends stickers and other fun things with little notes all the time, Koen knows all about how the mail system works now).

After I recovered from a pang of maternal pride that brought tears to my eyes I figured, heck, let's make something that's all his. So I took some white card stock and cut it down to 6x11.5 and scored it at 5.5 to fold in half. Another piece of coloured cardstock was cut to 6.25x11.5 and also folded in half. The whole kit and kaboodle was tied together with some hemp and I used one of my journaling markers to draw lines at the bottom of each page.

Koen then drew images (if I were to do it again I'd do the writing in pencil so I can fix mistakes like how I spelled Pteranadon. And I'd use sheets of tracing paper between the pages to keep them from glomming up the opposing page.) and told me what they were about. The words are entirely his, I cleaned up pronunciation ("cane-o" is really "volcano") and a tiny bit of the grammar, "he is Russian" for someone who is long dead is now, "he was Russian" for example.)

Page 1: This is a tree with the warm sun overhead. Birds and fairies (like Tinkerbell) live in trees. Koala bears live in trees too.
Page 2: My grandma has a beach on a lake. I like to go swimming and make sandcastles with a bucket. It is really hot at the beach.

Page 3: Spaceships have rockets and go to planets not back down [to earth]. Gagarine was the first man in space, he was Russian. Rocket fire is blue because it's hot.

Page 4: Dragons are real and breathe fire! Some dragons fly, like the Teranadon*
* mommy isn't sure that is spelled right, but is sure we mean "dinosaur" not "dragon".

Page 5: Teranadons are dragons, no, dinosaurs that fly. They fly away from volcanos. Teranadons are green and eat fish.

Page 6: Volcanos blow up with fire. They are made from mountains. Volcanos are not the beach.
Page 7: This is mommy with baby Elora. Baby Elora cries, mommy makes her feel better. I like to snuggle Elora, I love her lots and lots and lots and tooooooo much.

Page 8: My daddy is fun. He takes me to the park.

Thank you Koen, we now know not to take a towel and swim trunks when we next go visit a volcano.

The last page is done by Kerowyn who was quite jealous of Koen being allowed to colour in his own little book (she was tired of plain paper that mommy had given her) and she explained her picture was "flophers" and "binkerbell".

It warms my heart that my kids (the older one at least) want to make others happy, even those they have never met. Now if only they'd be nice to each other!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PINK!

Posted by Micah at 1:58 PM 6 comments Links to this post
October is coming up, and that means Breast Cancer Awareness! My blog has gone pink, as has my icon (even on LJ and Facebook!).

Since 1986 the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has been working toward a future free of Breast Cancer. Most notable of their events is the CIBC Run for the Cure, but they also raise money with Shop for the Cure with select partners and Cook for the Cure with Kitchenaid. Even when you're not going out of your way to donate time or money, you could still be making a difference with your everyday purchases!

In an effort to spread the word I'm hosting a very special draw. Instead of linking to my blog and posting to let me know you have, I'd like you to post on your blog or social networking site with a link to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.cbcf.org/)* making sure to comment here to let me know you've done so.

When you do that you'll be entered (once for each blog or networking site you link from) to win the Close to My Heart "Triple Play" Mini Album Kit. The kit includes everything you need (aside from cutting tools) to create the three mini albums shown in this picture.

The draw will remain open until midnight (my time) on October 20th and be drawn on October 21st. The winner will have one week to contact me before I redraw.

Kit includes: My Acrykix(R) "Love This Stamp" set; 4 Exclusive Inks(R) cubes (Desert Sand, Hollyhock, Indian Corn Blue and Sunset); 9 - 4" x12" panels (3 each of 3 colour schemes); 3 - 6" x 12" die-cut sheets; 72" Colonial White Grosgrain Ribbon; 3 - hook-and-loop fasteners. I've added a tape runner and an acrylic block. You literally just need scissors, and maybe stamp cleaner, though water works too.

* I am not a registered volunteer of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and am not asking for any donations. I also realize that those outside of Canada might find it odd linking to the CBCF, however it still spreads awareness (and I am not familiar with cancer foundations in other countries).

Colour Experiment - Day Six

Posted by Micah at 7:00 AM 9 comments Links to this post
New day... same media? Today's experiment comes from two sources. The crayon technique was shared with me by Kathy over at Lucky Stamper, the "white wash" look was linked by HappyCrafter in reply to Day Two. I almost split this into two days, but since Laurie Wilson already did a wonderful tutorial for the white wash with markers, I figured I'd stick to the crayon technique.

The first part of the experiment was figuring out what crayons to use. Do you have any idea how may different types of crayons, not just brands, there are out there? Well, I own three kinds (or my kids do at least). All three are from Crayola... there's the traditional crayon, "twistables" and "washable" (which aren't really washable, by the way). I did a test with two of each colour (tried to make sure they were all the same two colours but crayons get lost, broken, eaten, et cetera).

I ended up picking the "normal" crayons, I liked how they blended the best. The twistables were a harder wax and so came up paler and harder to blend. The washables were a much softer wax and glommed all over my page (remember Day Three?) and didn't seem to blend as smoothly.

After picking my colours and stamping my image I made sure to sharpen the heck out of my crayons (the apricot is actually a washable... honestly I could only find three "normal" crayons. I used two of them and threw in the one washable. Washables do NOT sharpen well!). Then I drew a thin line around the edge of the dragon, tossing in a few dabs of blue and apricot for accents. Heres the fun part... I used a smudge stick (typically used by artists using charcoal or softer graphite pencils) and a teensy bit of baby oil and blended the colour inward. To do a true white wash I've used way too much colour, but hopefully it still looks okay.




Thanks for checking in! My next colour experiment post should be this Thursday as I've found someone to loan me some Copic markers!



PS. Today my youngest, Elora Dawn, is four months old. Have a cup'o'cute!

Don't ask where the camera is.



Stamp image from Paper Pretties.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Experiments with Colour - Day Five

Posted by Micah at 7:00 AM 7 comments Links to this post
I've learned several valuable lessons this evening (last night by the time you read this).


1. I've managed to post five days of this experiment series and have a different title for each day.
2. Chalks are not my favorite way to colour... at all.
3. The dragon image is not a good chalk subject.


So first up, thank you to my Stampin' Up supplier, Colleen Hilchie, for lending me the "Stampin' Pastels. This experiment isn't a wash because I still learned something... I mean other than I suck at colouring with chalk.


A few tips before I continue. I didn't have an "embossing buddy" (basically a tiny bean bag with chalk instead of beans) to go over the paper with before stamping. That means if I go outside the lines, the chalk sticks.

Also, it's much easier to work with a solid image than a line image like this dragon. The technique is suppose to be... use embossing buddy on paper, stamp image in versa mark, "paint" chalk onto versa mark where it then sticks. I'm going about it all wrong and that put me behind a bit.


I did give a go of using a versa marker and then colouring. It didn't look so great to me. There was simply too much contrast between where the versa marker was and was not... so I might as well be colouring with markers.


Still I stuck with it, trying again to get my earth tone dragon (maybe that's my problem? I just can't work with brown??). I used Chocolate Chip, Close to Cocoa, More Mustard and So Saffron before I gave up!

But I did want to make sure to show an example of the "right" way (or at least the way I was told) to use chalks, so I dug out some generic random stamps I had and used those.


Remember that an embossing buddy would keep the area surrounding my image "clean", giving a nice soft look but not as messy as shown in my images. I used Garden Green, Bravo Burgundy and So Saffron.


Bottom line? I don't like chalks, at least not for colouring line images. I'll just chalk it up to preference. *snerk* See what I did there??



Stamp image from Paper Pretties.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Father's Day - blast from the past

Posted by Micah at 9:55 AM 8 comments Links to this post
It's not that great of a photo, but hopefully you can see it. This is the card I made for my husband's father for Father's day a few years back. The baby in the picture is my husband. I used a vellum from a random vellum pack I had and put it over the photo before sticking them together with brads.

The paper is from Stampin' Up (cardstock and DP).

The card was inspired by one I made for my husband's first ever Father's Day. Difference is, I didn't have a picture of my Father-in-Law holding Alan as a baby, just the newborn picture.

Thanks for checking in! I'll see you tomorrow for Day Five of the Colour Experiment!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Colouring Experiment: Day Four

Posted by Micah at 7:00 AM 7 comments Links to this post
I wanted to thank everyone for the lovely comments left on this project. I've had much encouragement and several suggestions for other techniques to try! This should keep my going!
I'll be taking a break on Sunday, but back at it on Monday.

Have you ever started a project and had everything go wrong that could go wrong? That was me today. First up I kept forgetting all the stuff I know about colouring. With crayons and water colour pencils it pretty much doesn't matter what surface you're colouring on (I mean underneath your paper) but with harder things like coloured pencils, you can't have a soft surface. Well, my work area has cork mats (makes for a great stamping surface). Oops. What it means is that your pencils can't get the nice dark colour you'd get on a hard surface. Oh well, I'd started I'm going to keep going.

So next I find that the pencil I picked to be my main colour, brown, is broken. Every time I sharpen it it'll break off again, usually a ways inside the wood so I have to sharpen a bunch. That was certainly annoying. I tried 5-6 times and gave up.

Then I decided, well, even though I've done a purple dragon I'm going to do another one... this time more jewel tones. I couldn't decide which jewel tones and, frankly, I had lost a bit of interest after being denied the earth tones... so I used all of them. (There wasn't much of a selection anyway). At this point I'm grumbling about not being able to find my Prisma Colours.

I really wanted to do a blue based purple so started with that and worked into the purple. I highlighted her cheeks and eyelids with the pink to make her a bit "warmer". After all that I ended up going over it in the pink anyway because it didn't look "right"... part of that is due to the purple pencil. There was something in the purple that was scraping, even after sharpening, the colour back off as I coloured. I tried sharpening, rotating, adjusting the angle, nothing.

The wings turned out great. I had to remind myself that it's "okay" to blend colours that are seperated on the spectrum (red/pink, skip orange, to yellow, for example) and it gives a neat effect. I suggest starting with the darker colour and blending with the lighter colour. If your pencils are fairly soft (like my beloved and missing Prismas) you'll want to watch that your lighter colour doesn't get "dirty" when you go over the darker colour.

Another thing to consider, with any medium really, is your colour selections. I love to work with complimentary colours (colours across from one another on the colour wheel... so red/green, purple/yellow, blue/orange) and if I have a significant amount of one, I want to add that in as well. It can be a pain because I love red and I love green, but I don't like all my coloured images to look like Christmas themes. Also, I love blue but I'm really picky about oranges and dislike many shades of orange.

Here's my finished dragon, who will NOT end up on a card or project, but since we can learn from mistakes is still making it into my blog.

Thank you for checking in! See you Monday... I haven't decided yet, but some more colouring!

Stamp image from Paper Pretties.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Experimenting with Colours - Day Three

Posted by Micah at 7:00 AM 7 comments Links to this post
Crayons!! I didn't have any of my OWN crayons so I stole my kids. So, I ended up with "Large" washable crayola crayons. It's not easy to do detail work with crayons!! Today's colours are my pick.

I should note that this is not the only crayon technique I want to try, I have to visit the craft store for some materials and then I'm going to try something Kathy told me about. That'll probably be day five or six.

So... same image, new technique. After picking my colours I worked in the opposite direction as the water colours and markers. I started with the DARKER colour, in this case red. Once I'd gone lightly over the whole body of the dragon with the red crayon I started working with more pressure on the crayon with the dark orange. For the belly it was orange and then yellow.

Crayons are messy. Did I mention that? I wasn't too worried about going outside the lines, both because these crayons were HUGE and because you can always go back and "scape" the paper to get most of the colour off again. (I used a craft blade, but any flat sharp object should do the trick).

Whatever you do, don't "wipe" the paper to get the crayon bits off. Oi.

If your image has only a little bit of the stamp colour you can kind of cheat and just go over the lines. Unless you're using a "white" base colour (in other words, any pastel colours) it won't show much.

Not much to say about this experiment really... I mean, it's crayons. You're going to end up with a BRIGHT and waxy image. The finished product will be easily scraped and so it might not be the best technique for card making.

Here she is in her glory. I finished it with two shades of green... again starting with the darker colour. I wanted to cover some of my more glaring "outside the lines" moments, mostly to impress you folks with my childlike ability to colour with crayons! Are you impressed?
Thank you for stopping by! See you tomorrow for my pencil crayon experiment.

Stamp image from Paper Pretties.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Experimenting with Colour - Day Two

Posted by Micah at 6:05 AM 5 comments Links to this post
Alright! Day Two of the Great Colour Experiment. My two year old informed me that pink and purple would be our colours, based on a favourite dragon toy. I had already decided to test out my Stampin' Up dual tip markers. Take in mind that my daughter was sitting in my lap "helping", as a result I didn't stay within the lines all the time.



First I picked my colours, the lids don't always look the same as the colour on paper so I tested them all and narrowed it down (the picture is before I narrowed it down!). Because there are so many pinks and purples from the retired colours I had plenty to choose from. I picked Pale Plum for the body, Lavender Lace for the wings, Pretty in Pink for the belly, Pixie Pink for the crest and kept Lovely Lilac and Orchid Opulence for accents.



I'm told that copic markers don't get "lines" like regular markers where the ink is overlapped. I'd love to try that sometime!! Stampin' Up markers however, do get lines, so it's best to do "two coats". Do one coat, let it dry and go back over it... especially if you're not using paper designed for a lot of moisture (such as my mysteriously lacking water colour paper). I tried doing that second coat as shading, but there's no real in between. Perhaps if I did dots like a comic strip?

I need to not do these when the kidsa re up. I grabbed the Orchid colour instead of Pale Plum and went over the face. Tee-hee. So I had to go over the whole body with the Orchid. Looks good though!

Here's a shot of the finished product, all outside the lines and stuff. Eep!
Thanks for checking in!

Stamp image from Paper Pretties.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Experiment in Colouring - Day One

Posted by Micah at 11:27 AM 10 comments Links to this post
I got my new stamps from Paper Pretties yesterday and I figured this would be a great time to experiment with colouring. I don't own copic markers (yet!!) so I'm working with what I have.

Day one is water colour pencils, these particular ones are from Stampin' Up.

As you can see the image is an awesome dragon. I love it! After stamping several images in brown staze-on, I consulted with my 3.5 year old boy on what he felt would be appropriate colours for a dragon of this level of awesomeness, he informed me that green AND blue would be appropriate.


I picked out some colours and, this is important, tested the colours on an edge of the paper. I'm not working with water colour paper (I need to make a trip to the craft store) so I have to be careful how much moisture I use or the paper will start to peel and tear. Knowing this I started with a yellow (to lighten the green) at the points where the dragon might have more light on her scales.


Next I dusted around the edges with the green. It doesn't matter if it's neat, we're going over it with moisture anyway and that will blend the colours. If you're working with several colours it's always best to start with the lighest and work your way darker... you can cover light with dark but not dark with light.

Around the green I took the blue. The dragon's hands, feet, back scales, horns and eye lids are just plain blue. I added some color to the wings.


When I do this one next time I'm going to use a bit less of the yellow on her green-blue scales. Due to non water colour paper I couldn't do as much blending as I would have liked.


At this point both my older children (3.5 and 2) were giving critiques which mostly involved indignation that I wasn't sharing the "crayons". I took a break to put on the electronic babysitter to see if I could rush the job!

Next up I started blending with Stampin' Up blender pens. You can just as easily use a paintbrush and a little water (but, again, no water color paper). The blender pens offer a bit more control and a little less "mess". There's also no chance you're going to tip over a jar of water on your project. Oops!


For this stage I went from the darker colours to the lighter because I wanted to minimize the yellow on her thigh and tail. On the wings I went from inside to outside since the outside was colour free until I used the blender pen.
Between each section I "cleaned" my pen by drawing on a blank area of the paper that wouldn't be used until no colour came off the pen.
Finally I went over her eyes, eye lashes and claws with a Chocolate Chip marker (because I used brown staz-on) to darken them a bit. The children approved and I'm happy with the result even though I feel I could have done a neater job (next time I'll wait until the kids are in bed!).


Tomorrow I'll post images of my adventures in colouring with markers (non-copic)... this time the colour inspiration supplied by my 2 year old daughter!

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm baaaaack

Posted by Micah at 8:46 AM 4 comments Links to this post
I'm greatful for all the comments (public and private) offering support. The biggest emotional kick-in-the-pants I'm dealing with is still trying to find homes for my remaining two cats. In the last few months I've been to the hospital three times for "moderate to severe" asthma attacks. I've been booked for an appointment to learn how to manage my asthma (which is an adult occurance, probably triggered by the number pregnancy does to the body) but without removing the biggest cause of the irritation, there's not much I can do.

Calgary, the city I live in, is beyond capacity with regards to cats in the shelters. I'm also not sure any of them are No-Kill shelters. We're looking at things like the Cat Genie to try and reduce allergins. After two glorious weeks away where I only had to use my inhaler once, we returned to the house and within five minutes of being home I was wheezing. It's killing me that I'm the reason we have to find new homes for our furry babies... and it's getting to the point that I can't keep searching for a home without risking serious injury to myself (the doctor tells me that daily use of my inhaler is a Bad Thing). That means that I have to consider euthenizing the cats.

So, after all that sob story, I'm dedicating this journal entry to animal shelters everywhere. People like the folks who run the Last Chance Cat Ranch, that open their homes to the "less adoptable" cats. Or groups like the S.P.C.A. that even work with American soldiers overseas who have befriended strays to cope with what they deal with every day.

Please, if you are looking for a pet to adopt, consider visiting your local shelter first. You can visit the animal many times, some places even let you take them home on a "trial", to see if you and the animal get along. If you're not looking to adopt, please considering making a donation of time or money. And, barring all else, please just spread the word to your friends, families and social networking sites.

I'll be back to crafting very soon now that I'm home. Thank you all for your patience!
 

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