Archive for the ‘Arts & Crafts’ Category.

I finished something!

Just wanted to share these cards that I completed last weekend, after stamping with my friend Charly and getting one of her paper packs.  I used extra basic ivory cardstock for some of the card bases, so I ended up with 4 extra patterned papers and 1 cardstock, and still got a nice set of cards that didn’t take very long.

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Quick and Fun cards

Icy Roads

I’ve been struggling with my health for weeks and it seems to be getting worse; my ability to explain it is slowly leaking away.  I’ve been trying to come up with an analogy of what my brain feels like. Sometimes, the words come out garbled, even reading a line of text, and I’m so distracted that if I don’t watch out I’m off on another topic entirely.

How does one describe having no energy but yet not being tired? Feeling “wrong” but not feeling sick? Especially when one’s brain is the problem in the first place and expected to do that thinking.

What I do know is that the internal feelings seems eerily connected and similar to the external symptoms that my son has struggled with for years. I find myself not wanting to get off the couch and attend to basic things, and wonder if that is what he feels like. I reach for thoughts that are no longer there and try to force out words that slip away like eels or change into the wrong words, and I recall all the times where at his worst, he wouldn’t even speak. A song with static plays while I try to read text, and I want to scream from the chaos.   I recall his reaction to me talking too much – he screams at me to shut up.  I’m 40, though, so I don’t.

The best I have come up with is the feeling of driving on icy roads. At first, the snow fell gently and lightly; it got in the way of my thinking but I could brush it aside, and normal operations of my brain felt like driving on soft snow that fell on dry ground. There is a surreal feeling; things aren’t quite the way I’m used to, but it’s fine, even pretty. In fact I’ve taken substances that make me feel this way, only this time I’ve not had anything to drink and yet feel a bit as if I have. Like driving on snow, everything works, you just take it a bit slower and try to enjoy the scenery. Most of the time, my mental road all feels fine and working. Then I put on the brake and for a second it just doesn’t do anything. I think, “I did put on the brake, right?” and then suddenly I feel myself slowing, back in control, wondering if anything unusual actually happened. When driving on snow, you pay more attention – slowly you realize all the times where the tires slip, just a little, but you don’t know for sure. Maybe it is your imagination…it feels fine right now.

Lately, though the mental roads are getting icy and slick. At times my brain can’t hold a thought from the sink to the fridge. Oh, I’m used to this – but usually it’s because I am driving too fast. I’m thinking of 10 things, and what to put in my tea is lowest of the list and so it takes a while for the gears to click in and bring it to the surface. But when my only task in the moment is making tea, I don’t expect black ice between the sink and the fridge. My coordination is off, and I need a wider road during those times. I reach for something and my hands don’t quite land where I put them. I look at the writing on my three out of four vials of spit for the lab test, and I see the writing decline over the course of the day. Yet, still, I tell myself it’s not a big deal – I probably just rested that one with the pretty handwriting on the table. Until I try that with the fourth, and am shaken when my name comes out stilted and jumpy.

I live in Colorado and the weather here varies not just from month to month, but from day to day and hour to hour. I should be used to this but I’m tired of having Colorado weather in my head. Earlier this week, my mental roads were very snowpacked and icy, and I was starting to panic. I laid down to read, and fell asleep. Though it took me an hour to clear the sleep from my head, I then had 5 hours of perfect clarity – exactly like a typical Colorado winter day once the snow has started to melt because the sun has come out. Then after a stressful situation, I could feel the snow in my head start to fall, like a blanket, obscuring everything I was trying to think about and even making my hands slippery and awkward on the keyboard.

Today has dawned sunny and bright, but with high winds – both literally and figuratively. The clouds on the horizon are fuzzy and tenuous, but the clouds in my head are starting to billow and threaten. It will be interesting to see what weather the future brings.

Altered Coasters

I recently participated in a swap of altered coasters through The Creative Underground.  We haven’t seen the final creation yet, but here’s a sneak peek at my contributions:

Front: Skinny Dip is part of the original coaster, which was part of the swap instructions.  The background was stamped and collaged out of crumpled tissue paper. The diver and words “Dive In” are printed on vellum, sealed with Diamond Glaze, and collaged on.  The beads for the splash were attached with Diamond Glaze.

Back: The flipflops are again part of the original design; The saying was printed on regular paper and then rinsed to create a more subtle effect.  The woman’s necklace was attached with Diamond Glaze while still on the string and then the string was removed.

Inket Collage

I wanted to collage with an image printed on vellum, looking for that soft, image through the vellum look, but quickly ran into snags.  First, the color would run when I applied the collage glue (I was using Mod Podge, and had already run out for more supplies so didn’t want to find a waterproof collage medium).  Second, the vellum would curl as soon as it hit the liquid.  I tried rinsing the image, but too much of the color was washed away.  I finally found the following technique.

First, print your images in reverse onto vellum if you will have it show through from the back.  Print extras for test copies.  Let this dry completely.

Next, before cutting out your images, cover the ink with a layer of Diamond Glaze or SU Crystal Effects, and let dry.  Then cut out the images.  If there are parts you would like to have faded, experiment with leaving them uncovered, and rinsing thoroughly in water to see what effect you get.

Take your cut out images and soak in cold water while you prepare your collage canvas.  At first they will curl into tight balls; after a few minutes they will relax into limp pieces.   Don’t over soak or your Diamond Glaze will wash off and the ink will begin to run. Now they are ready to collage.

After applying your collage elements, if you still have curling or wrinkling around the edges that you don’t care for, cover the image with plastic wrap or a piece of a plastic bag (the one that all of the supplies came in worked well :), and roll with a brayer to flatten.

Results may vary; I have only tried this with one printer and type of vellum, specified below.  You can also use this the Diamond Glaze to project paper images for right-side-up collage.

Materials used:

  • HP c7200 Photosmart printer with regular ink
  • Inkjet Vellum (from Office Depot)
  • SU Crystal Effects
  • Mod Podge Matte

Pictures coming soon 🙂

Webkinz Crochet Sweater & Scarf

Here is another version of a Webkinz Sweater, with a matching scarf. It’s easy enough that my son can make them, and the scarf is a nice learning tool for the child who wants to progress to the sweater.

For basic crochet instructions:


For the scarf, form a loop in your yarn and make a chain that is 5 links plus the initial loop, plus what is on the hook. Neither of those count.

Your scarf will be 4 stitches wide (the 5th is the turning stitch). The beauty of this for kids is that they don’t need to figure out where to put the next stitch. For each row, simply count from the far left end – first count to the 4th (not counting the initial 1/2 stitch that came from your initial loop) and put the hook through number 4. Single crochet (wrap up around the back, pull through 1, wrap again, pull through all). Next count to number 3, then 2, then 1. After doing these 4 stitches, make a single chain stitch for the turning row, turn, and do it all again, counting back each time until you know by heart which stitch to start with and which one is next. So it starts like this, where x is your initial loop, and h is your hooked loop:

x 1 2 3 4 5 h

Stitch 4, then 3, then 2, then 1; chain; turn; repeat. Note that on row 1 you go under 1 piece of yarn, but on all other rows you go under both yarns of the “V”.


Next, the sweater! Loosely chain on enough length to slip over your Webkinz head and form the neck. Using a simple slip stitch and making sure the chain is not twisted, join together. Crochet around and around (again, on row 1, going through 1 yarn, and through 2 after that) until it is the right length for the neck and any cuff you want. Try it on your dog, and leave it on for the next step.

Next you are going to make the body. Either rotate the collar so that your hook is at the side, or crochet over to one side. Then make a chain stitch (still attached) about 1/2 the circumference of the dog so that it will go under his legs and reattach to the main crochet. Straighten the chain, run it under his legs, and join this chain to the main crochet using a slip stitch. Now simply crochet around and around this new circle (either on the dog or off) until it reaches his back legs. If you would like a rounded edge on the back, turn around without using a turning stitch, and go backwards for a few inches and end with a slip stitch before tying off.

Here is the pattern I used as a base for the sweater, though I believe mine is simpler:

Webkinz Knifty Knitter Sweater

I found/modified this loom knitting pattern for my son’s Webkinz, and thought your kids might like to try it!

I modified a base pattern from here:

You’ll need to refer to that pattern for pictures and details.
Materials: Knifty Knitter rectangular or 12-peg flower loom, bulky yarn.

First, I loosely wrapped 12 pegs on the end of the rectangular loom in the “e-wrap” pattern that you use on the round loom. When I got to the end of the first 6 I just went across to the other side. I did NOT use the figure eight pattern that you might usually use – I went around in a circle, with the crosses on the inside and the loops on the outside, like a f lower.

I knitted for 11 rows to make the back-end of the sweater – I found that I needed to knit about 3 rows more than I thought I would need by looking at it, because it tends to snug up when taken off the loom. I knitted the back end first, because it is naturally much looser than the cast on.

Next, using the above pattern as a guide, I picked two pegs for each leghole. Since I wanted the leg holes near the bottom, I left 3 pegs in between the legs, and 5 on top. Here’s an attempt at an illustration, with O for pegs that are knitted normally and X for leg-hole pegs:



If you look at this as if it is a circle, you can see there are 5 pegs for the top, and 3 for the bottom. I cast off the two legs and rewrapped them according to the above pattern.

Next, I knitted 9 rows for the neck of the sweater. This gave enough for a small cuff.

Now you are ready to cast off. If your Webkinz has a small head and neck, you can do a regular cast-off; I did this the first time and it worked OK. But it fits better with a loose cast-off. I used this one: – look for “SUPER-STRETCHY BIND-OFF”.

Have fun!! I’ll try to post a picture soon.

Magic Brooms

Here is the last craft we did in the Stroyan’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We made brooms!

The handles were each hand chosen and worked by the children. (I didn’t make a broom this time). The broom is made out of alfalfa stems – we wracked our brains for good materials and couldn’t find any. Unfortunately, they shrink a lot when dry. For some reason I thought I would be able to get them tighter when wet but I had to re-tie my son’s broom and I suspect others did also. Finally, we stamped and embossed the name of the broom on the handles.

My son now rides around the house constantly and wants to figure out some “muggle broom tricks”.



Wands This summer I had a group of children over to do “The Stroyan’s summer school of magic” a la HP. These are the wands we made on the first day…it was a good exercise for my son as he was thinking everything had to be “authentic” (meaning the feathers on the outside would not be OK) but he got over it 🙂

Mine is the second from the end…it has a gold-embossed handle and a peacock feather gently winding around it, and the whole thing has a light coating of gold glitter spray.

Summer garland swap

My summer garland pieces are finally finished, photographed, and delivered!

garland swap

I wanted to capture the spirit of summer which for me, at least, had to include flowers! Mine are made with flowers from my garden, including miniature pansies, yarrow, lobelia, thyme and lavender. The “vase” is made of marbled and stamped polymer clay. I had so much fun making them!

Painting the boards:Back (before stamping):


Front detail:

All 31 finished!


Mindfulness bracelet

Here’s my mindfulness bracelet. The beads are made from marbled polymer clay, stamped with rubber stamps, and “embossed” with pearlex. Some of the wire work was done on wigjig, and some by hand.

This is a bracelet I made after a workshop on soul wisdom. We were supposed to first be aware of what we knew at a deep level (mine was that I need to enjoy the moment more and not live in the future) and commit to an action that would anchor that awareness. I knew that adding another todo item to be mindful each day was not the answer:) So this is what I came up with. If you can’t see it, it says joy, True, Laugh, love. These were the words I happened to have that I liked best 🙂

Mindfulness Mindfulness