Friday, December 23, 2016

After my last Christmas craft sale, it was nice to do some crafting for myself and even then it wasn't for me - I made a record number of handmade cards. Somehow I was just super organized instead of being super behind. "Late for this year, early for next" was my motto! I even made 45 flat cards for my co-workers and that's the subject of today's blog.

So, so many bells!
Cardmaking is often not a spontaneous thing. Most of the time people see the end product, not the sketches, colour sampling or model. To figure out how I was going to pull off the flat cards, I had to quickly check and see how many bell shapes would fit on a 12x12" sheet of cardstock so my Pazzles could be a pretty good holiday helper! Then I had to find a rubber stamp sentiment that would fit the space as well as make sure that the bell shape would fit the diagonal line background stamp I had in mind. Oh, and I also had to make sure that I had coordinating ink as well!

I really wanted to impress my co-workers with crisp machine drawn text but ran into a snag halfway through. The old style pen tool for my Pazzles only holds certain size pens and out of the millions of pens and markers hanging around the house, none were really in colours that matched! Half of them were machine drawn anyway, so that was a huge time saver.

Bells were made in every colour. I cut and stamped one sheet a night and soon the pile of bells grew! The night before I gave them out, I fired up Netflix and threaded gold metallic floss through each one. Originally I wanted to string Hershey's kisses on each bell, but that quickly turned into a tangled mess!

If you want to deliver holiday cheer to your co-workers next year, here are the supplies I used for 45ish cards:
  • bell SVG /Pazzles cutting file
  • sentiment stamp from Stampin' Up Christmas Pines set
  • diagonal stripe background stamp from Stampin' Up
  • 8 sheets of 12x12" cardstock in green, red, coral, orange, light blue, grey and pink
  • 4 sheets of letter sized white or vanilla paper (12 sentiments to a page)
  • ink pads in green, red, coral, orange, light blue, grey and pink (I use Stampin' Up because it matches with the paper)
Have fun!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

2016 Christmas Craft Fairs

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself because I'm finally ahead of things, not behind. Here's where you can find me this Christmas craft sales season in Calgary. Along with MasterCard and Visa payments, I can now take Interac payments too. Come out and say hi and shop local!

October 22, 10-4pm
St. Brigid Fall Craft Fair
730 Citadel Way NW, Calgary, Alberta T3G 5S6
Facebook for more info
November 11, 11-5pm
Fort Calgary Annual Artisans' Fair
750 9 Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 5E1
Facebook for more info
November 18 and 19
Thorncliffe Greenview Craft Fair
5600 Centre Street North, Calgary, Alberta T2K 0T3
Facebook for more info
December 2 and 3
HHAC Christmas Craft Sale and Tea
10099 Harvest Hills Blvd NW, Calgary, Alberta T3K 4W9
Facebook for more info

If I'm not in your area, check out to find a sale near you!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Calgary Mini Maker Faire 2016

I gotta get better at writing about events before they happen! But with the preparing, packing, printing and promoting, the peace and place to pontificate doesn't often happen.

I jumped at the chance to be part Of the Calgary Mini Maker Faire when I saw the ad on Facebook. I had previously attended Maker Faire but had never thought I would have something to show off. Then I remembered the presentation that I did for my fibre class about knitting machines. I have three of them! With this realization, an idea was born and I applied.

When the acceptance email came through, I was super jazzed. Time to prep! As the big weekend approached, I became kind of nervous. What if people thought that knitting machines were no fun? What if no one wanted to talk to me? I would be sitting there all day Facebooking or something.

I had no reason to worry - the table was immensely popular. It was just me manning the table and I had lots of people of all ages who wanted to take a try at the knitting machines. I had brought a dozen balls of yarn and it wasn't enough. Despite all my planning, I didn't guess that some would like to make and take something on the knitting machine.

By the second day I was starting to lose my voice and I had to change the table up so that only I was using the knitting machine :D As they say, you don't know what you don't know and if I return next year I will bring Mom or a friend so I can look at the other exhibits.Fortunately the volunteers and organizers made the whole event run so smoothly that it was a great experience all around. Maybe I will even have a different idea too!

Friday, September 9, 2016

New horse scherenschnitte on Etsy

It's seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I was drawing some new papercuts - but it last November was a long time ago! I found the half finished piece for this grazing horse and quick finished it up. It is cut from black cardstock and mounted to white cardstock. There were a few hairy moments when I was cutting the mane and clouds. It is so easy to snip these off by accident. The picture is sale on Etsy.
Grazing mare papercut

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Cuttable Files on Etsy

It's been a busy summer! I finally got organized enough to make a bunch of new cuttable or cutting files for digital die cutting machines for Etsy. I have a Pazzles, but Cricut and Silhouette are two other popular brands. And with third party software like Make the Cut, digi crafters aren't limited to certain file types like days of yore! It's kind of cringe-worthy to think that the original Cricut came with couldn't use your own designs back then.

Fortunately, times have changed and there are all sorts of designy people out there like me who are happy to share their designs. So far I have some frames, birds and feathers. We'll see how the collection grows.

Each cutting file package comes with a PDF, an SVG file and a WPC file for Pazzles. Even if you don't have a digital die cutter, you can use the SVG to scale the pictures to size, or you can do it the old fashioned way with a photocopier with the PDF. Sometimes I forget that you can use a cutting machine to draw too. Clip art, embroidery patterns, laser cutting, stencils...cuttable files have tons of uses :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I Used to Draw Like This

I posted this on Facebook last week. My friend and framer Ljubica came over to deliver a picture and while chatting about art, this and that, I pulled out an old watercolour from high school.

It was good for a laugh! You can see that I liked Breyers as well as horses a lot back then! It made me a little sad too - even back then art programs were pretty underfunded. We did most of our projects on manila paper and it was almost always watercolour. Manila paper is a poor quality choice - it doesn't hold water very well - and, well, it's off white! Occasionally we did get real watercolour paper or a Fredrix canvas, but I was kind of disappointed by how little I learned about drawing, technique or materials. I sense this is why a lot of people never practice art - they figure that just because they were not good at it then, they never will be. Chances are they just didn't have good instruction or materials :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

3 Easy Ways to Cut Tissue Paper for Crafts

Every now and then I enjoy making a craft video. I am by no means a pro at it, but each one gets a little better every time. There are so many factors such as audio, lighting, camera positioning and complaining cockatiels :-D

I finally made a title card after noticing that some craft videos have some pretty snazzy introductions. I made a black & white drawing, cleaned it up in Corel Photo Paint and then converted it to a vector image in CorelDraw so the colours could be changed easily.

Inspiration came from a video that suggested putting the camera tripod on top of the desk. It's hard to craft with a tripod between you and your hands, so this worked well, except the video is upside down and rotating it can look funny. Time to do things the left handed way until I get a fancier set up :-D

I'm pleased to show off this technique for cutting tissue paper. I figured it out back in spring when making a card for my friend Always Artistic and taking photos just didn't seem to do. Take a look and let me know if this is a technique that you would like to try as well!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Oh Canada!

I hope everyone had a lovely Canada Day yesterday. Our weather was up and down with being brilliantly sunny in the morning to humid and overcast by the afternoon. My husband and our friends covered 5 km from downtown to Prince's Island Park and back. I finally got to see the iconic Peace Bridge, built in 2012!

Being an earlybird, I started on this papercut, or scherenschnitte, yesterday morning, drawing all the letters by hand. Once we were worn out and overfed, it was relaxing to come home and finish it off. If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I am often late for holidays, so finally I was just in time :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Scenes from Spruce Meadows

Today I am going to share with you a magical place in Alberta. Now, Alberta is full of magical places, but if you love horses, Spruce Meadows is a wonderous land where sport and family meet!

When I was a little girl living in Edmonton, I used to dutifully collect the free admission passes that came with the gas bill in hopes that some day my family would make the three hour trek to Calgary. That never happened - it was only until I moved here that I was able to indulge in Spruce Meadows and I loved every minute of it. Every visit, decades later, reminds me of my youthful enthusiasm for horses.

It's easy to forget that houses are right across the road from it now - but it still maintains its country charm. And here's the best part - there really is something for everyone at Spruce Meadows, from live music, delicious food, usually a car show or dog agility.

Spruce Meadows celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and this lasting gift from the Southern family always fills my heart with pride. Red Arrow kindly provides a free shuttle service so that the park is accessible to everyone and admission is free, although some day I am going to splurge on the paid seats :)

I couldn't have asked for a more picture perfect day when I went for the Continental on June 11th. It was sunny and cool and I marvelled at all the recent upgrades. It's been a couple of years since my last visit. The old bleacher seating at the Chinook Ring has been replaced with a fancy new Founder's Plaza with tables and chairs.

I was super excited this day because I borrowed a 200 mm zoom lens. For those of you who have never held one, it's about as long as your forearm and weighs about a pound or two. It was really hefty! I found a primo space for the event going on and tested it out. I was so nervous because of the borrowed lens that I forgot to make the most of the zoom! I had all sorts of dumb fears that it would fall off my camera or that I would drop it :D

Fortunately by the time we found seating in the International Ring I had a handle on it and I was thrilled with the results, as you can see in this sample on Flickr. I can't wait to go again!

Monday, May 9, 2016

New budgie colouring book

A couple of weeks ago I added a new printable colouring book to my Etsy shop. It's all about budgies! In fact, it's called OMG Budgies!!!. Like most budgie lovers, it's so exciting when you see something with a budgie on it! The big parrots get all the attention :-) I have so many budgie photos over the years that it was a no brainer to pick favourites of Moxie, Mr. Jill, Mellow and Feisty to turn into line art. I really enjoyed it and I found a lot of photos that I had forgotten about over the years. The colouring book is just $5 and you can print as many copies as you like for home use. Watch for a few paper copies at sales too - in fact, I sold the first paper copy at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. The customer was overjoyed. OMG budgies!!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

National Pet Day

Somehow I was caught off guard by National Pet Day...something I had never heard of before! Every day is pet day in our house and here's a recently completely papercut of Muffin. It's hard to believe that he is 14/15 and that we have had him for six and a half years.
Cockatiel Papercut

Thursday, March 31, 2016

New Horse Papercut

Whew, I am always moving at the speed of life! Here is an 8.5x11" papercut that I did earlier in the month. It was inspired by a friend who reshares a lot of feathered horses on Facebook! Adding some horses within a horse made for a more interesting picture than just pinto coloured. It's for sale on Etsy too!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Come learn with me!

I'm excited to announce that I will be teaching a class on February 28 at Loft 112. Come and learn the magic of scherenschnitte or papercutting! If you can pronounce it, you can do it :-D All materials are provided.

Friday, January 22, 2016

2010 Lougheed House Visit

Like most creative people, I'm sitting on a pile of images and sometimes those images take longer than usual to see the light of day! I finally sat down and uploaded 20 of my favourite pictures from a 2010 visit to Lougheed House, a historic home and museum here in Calgary. It was a beautiful summer day, and my Mom and I headed down there to see what was new in the garden. I took along a piece of frosty plastic from an IKEA box and Mom patiently held it higher or lower behind the flowers. The effect worked well - a sort of fake selective focus which my old Canon PowerShot lacked. In pictures of the irises, it added a sparkly effect. A few of the irises and the violas have made it on to cards and magnets and now that I'm looking at them again, I'll probably pick out a few more for craft sales this year :-) Click through to see the whole album.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Last year's holiday horse

I love how I'm so behind that I couldn't post this last year :-D If you're wondering if there was a 2014 holiday horse...nope...that one is half done. Late for this year, early for next seems to be my motto. This horse is made from layers of paper and PanPastel.

2015 Holiday Horse by calzephyr on DeviantArt