After our travel in the tropics we awoke our first morning home to a regular foggy daybreak. Here are a few views from the deck:
IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IGUANAS,
DO NOT READ THIS POST!
THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING!
Where the ship docks in St Thomas there is a sweeping curve of rocks lining the bay. The iguanas turn out in force to sunbathe on the rocks and to strike a pose for photographers.
Here are a few I found amusing:
They all think they're ROCK STARS!
These are some random photos taken while we were in Puerto Rico:
These guys came SO close to tipping their sailboat over. It was a nailbiting display of seamanship - or folly.
I didn't realize until I reviewed my photos that I had taken pictures of churches in every port. I just love the architecture down there.
The cruise ship has a ceramics painting station that they open for use 2-3 days for a couple of hours. You purchase the greenware and paint with glazes with your own design. They fire it and return it to you on the last day.
This time I chose to do a square dish and I painted it with goldfish. There are three tones of orange for the fish and two of blue for the water. White and black are used for accents.
Surprisingly, the dish only cost $1 more than the kit for making the cards. A much better value, I think.
Well, really nothing fantastic about this at all. One of the cruise activities was to learn to make a box... been there, done that. But with no cost involved I thought I'd go check it out.
Came in late, sat down and started folding away. "Wait," she says, "you'll need me to show you what to do." (Ummm, no!) So I kept on folding and she kept on instructing the rest of the group how to do it her way. She used the method where you cut the sides before folding the box and only provided decorative edge scissors! AAAAKKKKK!
When we were done I realized the top and bottom could not be nested without squashing the sides of the base. SOOOOO tacky.
Anyway, I ended up showing the instructor three things:
1) make the base paper 1/4 inch smaller in each direction so the lid will slide on.
2) Don't make those first folds across the middle, but rather MARK the middle. This way you dont have big creases across the center of your box.
3) Angle fold the 4 corners instead of cutting them and you have a box with all finished edges rather than cut corners that are weakened.
Here is the box I made:
Nothing special to look at but a good teaching tool and I had something to carry a few trinkets home in.
The second of my cards made from the kit of supplies:
I also inked all the edges of the pieces used for this card. My original touched on this one was the shape of the scrapbook paper (because of the corners I cut off for yesterday's card) and using bits of ribbon as 'photo corners' on the front panel.
I can't believe I PAID for these cheeseball supplies! It cost me $3.50 apiece to make these two cards.
The second project the cruiseline had available was making cards. Basically, we got a packet with 2 folded card bases, 2 buttons, 4 rhinestones, 2 scrapbook paper bits, 4 paper flowers, 2 rubons for the card back, a length of ribbon, and the use of two rubberstamps.
For my first card I cut corners off one of the scrapbook papers, inked the edges of everything with the black inkpad and layered it all with glue dots. For the front panel I stamped the greeting on it and then cut my popsicle stick (for applying rubons) into bits and used glue dots to make dimensional spacers for lifing the panel away from the backing.
I used three pieces of the ribbon to make 'leaves' for my flower.
One of the cruiseline's craft projects offered is to decorate a blank journal. You get the journal, three sheets of cardstock, stickers, tags, ribbon, photo corners, and the use of a few rubber stamps.
I chose to be unconventional and used the photo corners on the cardstock and mounted it to the covers of the journal. Then I attached ribbon 'handles' to the unbound edge on both front and back. I tore out sections of the third piece of cardstock to use as travel labels, and attached tags to the handles.
The result was a 'suitcase' style journal.
I applied stickers and stamps to both sides for a bit more decoration, and a few of their paper-clips at the top edge.
There's nothing quite as beautiful as a sunset at sea! I took some photos on a recent cruise and here they are to share with you.
I like this one for the watercolor gradation in the sky:
This one is awesome because of the streaks the sun makes over the tops of the clouds:
And this one is my first successful photo of the green flash. We've seen this phenomenon 3-4 times over the years. It happens just at the point when the sun disappears below the horizon. There is suddenly a bright green flash right at the edge of the water. My timing on this was perfect:
More photos of ports of call in a few days.
Assignment: Make a masculine card
Layers, layers, layers and Stamping, stamping, stamping and Distressing, distressing, distressing and Imagination!
The base card is double-sided cardstock (with the stripes on the inside and black on the front). I folded it off-center so the inside would show and roughed up all the edges before distressing with inks. I added a blue die-cut band on the right. I used two layers of scroll die-cuts and ink-distressed a scalloped square to place over them.
The gold chipboard frame came with the dots on it so I used a clear stamp with butterscotch ink to add a text border. The stamped image was colored with watercolor pencils and the water is covered with glaze. The chipboard circle was stamped in black and mounted on foam dots.
A little bit of the outdoors.
I learned to sew when I was in 5th grade on my mother's Singer Touch-n-Sew. That was when I started 4H and I remember my first project was an apron that gathered onto a plastic molded band. I used that machine to make many clothes for my fashion doll and for myself. I continued using that machine into my teens, making crafts, gifts and toys along with even more clothing.
Imagine my joy when I took home economics in high school and there was the same sewing machine! I was 'home'! After graduation I started my degree in home economics and found that I needed a sewing machine of my own. YAY! The high school was selling their machines - just 5 years old - and they included an overhaul and cleaning. I paid a whopping $75 for my first sewing machine.
I used that machine for all the sewing for my degree in clothing, textiles, and design and for making my clothes. When the kids came along I made baby clothes, play clothes, school clothes, and even formal wear for my daughter. Still later I made wedding crafts and bridesmaid dresses for her and then some baby clothes for the grand-daughters our son presented.
I have been using that workhorse for 39 years - plus the use of it and it's cohorts for 3 years in high school - plus the one at home for another 7.
Sadly, I was just starting to do the quilting on a second quilt I had pieced when the gears inside began breaking. Oh, the horrible sound of grinding and crunching as cogs snapped off!
(not the actual gears)
Off to the sewing machine shop and a repair estimate to drop the jaw. I ended up buying a new machine for only $50 more than the repair bill.
I didn't want to go right back to the quilt without learning about the new machine and all the fancy feet. So I took 4 hours of instruction at the store and set out to make a separate project to learn the 1/4- inch foot, the walking foot, and the free-motion foot. I had materials for a watercolor quilt so used them to make a wall hanging.
This is the result:
It measures about 29 inches square (the interior blocks are 1.5 inches square). I did stippling for the first time ever, learned to install hanging loops, used a glued basting for the binding, and used a product called quilters ease for layout.
Good lessons learned - now I can get back to quilting the pieced top that started the whole thing!
I've been holding off showing this quilt since I finished it in early November. It was made for my eldest grand-daughter and I had to wait until she had opened it for her birthday before revealing it.
I used a pattern called Puzzling Pieces. It is made up of 33 colors (used twice each), black (for the 'missing pieces') and a colorful dotted print (for the backing and binding.)
This is a full-size quilt. Each of the 9-inch blocks is made up of 7 separate pieces. I backed it, free-motion quilted it, and hand-bound it. Here you can see the diagonal wavy stitching that is the quilting as well as getting a better view of the backing fabric:
I hand embroidered the label for the back of the quilt as well (name redacted for security).
I am doing one for each of the 5 grandkids, but they will wait for posting like this one did, until the birthday when it is presented.
As I was sitting in a restaurant at Christmas I looked up and saw their huge 5-point 3-dimensional stars haning from the ceiling. While waiting for service I started trying to figure our how I could construct one using 5 sheets of 12 x 12 cardstock.
I drew on my napkin.
When I tried to use those sketches, though, I wisely used paper instead of cardstock and scaled back to 6 x 6 sheets.
As it turns out, you cannot make a 5-point star from my design. You CAN, however, make a 7-point star!
I added gold Stickles along the creases and ridges of each spoke and placed a giant flower brad in the center. This is a two-sided star - the same on both sides - so it could be hung from the ceiling... maybe in a restaurant! LOL!
Assignment: Make a card for a teenager.
I had a brainstorm about using an oval tag as a skateboard by adding wheels. It actually worked much like I envisioned, though the tag was wider than I remembered it. I used rubons to make it look like it was covered with graffiti. The wheels are black circle punches, hole reinforcements and eyelets.
I accordion folded a 12 x 12 cardstock then cut on an angle to make a multi-level top. I decorated the front with bits of silver card impressed with diamond plate, black leaf stickers, and handwritten text "ride like the wind".
Along the top edges I arranged these cut out words:
On the inside I added more diamond plate and some industrial-looking scrapbook paper.
And here is the full view:
I have no idea if a 'real' teenager would like this card, but it worked for the swap I was in.
New toy alert! When I saw that the Teresa Collins Stampmaker was on sale before Christmas I asked my personal Santa to get it for me. He kindly drove 60 miles to the store that had it marked down and I didn't even have to wait to open it (he never wrapped it!)
This unassuming box opens up to reveal all this:
It includes a CD of instructions.
So, what does it do? It allows you to make your own clear stamps from any black and white artwork (samples included). You create a 'sandwich' of the artwork and a packet with a gel-like medium between two clear plates. This goes inside the machine which has 4 UV lights in it. After a few minutes explosure the packet is opened and rinsed off and scrubbed with a little brush. Then you put it back in the machine to harden. Sticky-back medium is included to make the stamp a cling. A block with a handle is included.
Here's the machine up close:
There are materials included so the machine can be used for making stencils and embossing dies.
I haven't had a chance to play with it yet but will post when I have done so.