Friday, June 5, 2009

Shrinky Stinks: The sequel

Everyone knows (BWAHAHAHAHAHA!) I don't mind making fun of myself, especially when it's so easy to do. But a normal person learns from her mistakes--or at least, learns not to replicate the same gigantic FAIL as last time. Pas moi, mes amis. I barge on, leaving ever more crafty humiliation in my wake.

To pour salt in my wounds, 6-year-olds can do homemade Shrinky Dinks successfully. However, I and I alone can go from this:

to this:

in under 90 seconds.

Yes, I used #6 plastic and permanent markers in a 350F-degree oven. Yes, I watched it carefully. In fact, I was witness as it curled itself into its now locked and deformed position...mocking me all the way, no doubt.

My Shrinky quest continues. I will someday make nice shrunken plastic foofies, even though what works for others apparently does not wish to cooperate with me.

Still, hope springs eternal. Or something.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Tempis Fugit" - mixed media collage

100% hunted and gathered materials. Too bad you can't read the text--it says "Time is given wings".


A friend sent me this nifty photo last night (now how could she evah have been reminded of little ol' me?) It beautifully illustrates the time-honored wisdom of "You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose--but there are just some crafty ideas you should definitely not pick up on!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I've been icky-sicky-poo and definitely not up to crafting or blogging. However, I'm much better now, thanks very much! Let the games resume!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kindred Spirits: SCAVENGING makes credit card jewelry!

I'm so excited to find another amazing blog, Scavenging--now here are people most definitely cut out of the same recycled and upcycled cloth as the Crafty Bag Lady! I absolutely loved their ideas on transforming credit cards into a funky, fun jewelry. Click here for the tutorial on making the bracelet shown above. As soon as I can get hold of a drill, I'm so making these!

Really now, is there a good excuse for just tossing stuff out???

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mixed Media Doll: Magda

I may have found my art niche! In my last Slash Sale Bonanza, I scored a Petaloo paper doll form for 25 cents. I took it apart and used it as a template for Magda, my first mixed media doll. She's dressed in junk and other old mail, along with scraps on hand. I sure did have fun making her and can't wait to explore more in this category!

(Note: After this weekend things will slow down for a while--I hope--so I can spend more time doing what I enjoy so much. Lately it's been all grandkids, almost all the time, while their mother has been occupied with all the festivities of a wedding she is in.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sock puppet electronics cozy tutorial (pic heavy)

Another motto of mine: NEED FEEDS. My hubby, whom I fondly call Irish, just bought the cutiest-patootiest mini-notebook ever! He's not much of a touch pad guy, though, so he also got a wireless mouse. Because the mouse is about 1/5 the size of the computer, it will hardly fit in the case; and since he daily transports all his study accouterments in his leather backpack, he didn't want the mouse just banging around in there. But the CBL, buy a mouse cover? You jest--of course you do!

I thought of a fast fix which not only enables the mouse/phone/camera/iPod/whatever protection program, but also provides another use for those ubiquitous odd socks.

Start with a sock. A hefty, thick one like this is best for padding.

Put it on like a puppet.

Squeeze the "puppet's" head together.

Turn inside out while holding the squeezed part tightly inside.

Keep going till the former inside is now outside.

Carefully remove your hand and pat the inside (which used to be the outside) into a pocket shape. There will be a double padding now which is great for your electronics.

Stitch the bottom (which used to be the elasticized top of the sock) closed. I happen to dig the blanket stitch.

Sew on a button and ribbon closure and VIOLA! (Yes, VIOLA!)

I liked this one so I pinched it for my cell and am doing another for my digital camera. Irish is using the original prototype which hasn't been sewn together yet. The elastic in that is so good that it holds the mouse in without any further help. I do plan to finish his when I can get it back!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Slash sale BONANZA!

I heart art materials. I also hoard them. What I can't do is buy them at full price. This past week my local craft store had a clearance sale on old scrapbooking and other such items. I waited a few days, and found the markdown had gone right to my comfort zone: Everything originally over $5 was now $1, and everything originally under that was down to 25 cents. So here's my haul for that day:

I know it's hard to tell from here just how much stuff I got, but it's a lot. That's a big basket in the photo, and the cache covered my dining table. I added up my total if I had bought everything at full price (yeah, like that would've ever happened!): $187.59! Ready for my grand total? $22.00 even! Yeah, baby! Now that's what I call a sale. Nope, that's what I call a windfall! I can't wait to start in on it. Especially the art dolls!

P.S. I don't always hoard for hoarding's sake. Sometime soon I will be cleaning out a bunch of stuff, bagging it up, and sharing with my arty companions...maybe you! Stay tuned!

Monday, May 4, 2009

MSCE May: Mona's Memories

I made this card as an ATC but am still unsure if it will stay such. It just may end up as part of a larger piece. That's been happening lately as I see my fledgling artwork evolve as do many of my poems, becoming something quite different from what I had in mind when I began.

The lady's face intrigues me. Who is she and why is she holding a hunting rifle? Why is she looking down? I find a Mona Lisa-like mystery in her. Not sure why I tagged this with the word just seemed right at the time. Memories of someone I never knew and a time I never lived: "Mona" looks so contemporary, yet the photo is from the 20's or 30's. Wish I could've hung out with her.

Used: All on hand: Recycled cereal box cardboard and junk mail; scrap fabric; salvaged raffia; slash-sale brads. Cost, including the picture found at an antique store, about a buck.

Friday, May 1, 2009

MSCE April: Wrapup

I put that pic up just because it's one of my all-time favorites. It represents how I feel about making art in life.

Bubbly, glittery, craftadelic thanks to Dot at Dabbled for starting up the MSCE April idea, and to Heather at Dollar Store Crafts and Craft Fail for telling me about it! Some days all I could do was write blog posts or read other people's, but every day I strove to have that Something Cool attitude going. I found out that I really enjoy blogging my goofy efforts. I'm so not concerned with being an Artiste or Author or's finding and making art in the life all around me that's important. Also, I met some very cool folks and have been greatly enriched by them already. Win-win-WIN, ding-ding-DING!

Now on to May and every other day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WhooHoo! Altered Altoids box completed

And here it is! I call it "Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun".

It was a real blast to do. I started out with the three bathing beauties picture, from my ephemera and old photos collection. The design kept morphing as the ideas kept swarming. When I saw those little beachy buttons at a local craft store, I grabbed them so fast I left little whirlwinds in my wake! The other papers were junk mail, and the big starfish on top came from my Home for Abandoned Jewelry Orphans AKA "Sharon's big stash of broken stuff that might be useful someday".

This is for a swap on Altered StART, so I don't get to keep it. Sure does stoke me to do some more themed tins, though.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Creating in tiny spaces: Pt. 3

Or, "All I ever needed to know on the subject I learned at kindergarten."

Many years of working with kids via church, VBS, and the like, not to mention raising my own, taught me one of the best ways to win over space crunch--a trick every teacher knows: Set up work/play stations. In our little nest, I have several spaces set up outside my main crafting area that I can use when the mood hits, or when working on various projects at once.

Once again, the secret to living happily with a non-artist type is the ability to camouflage these areas.

Our common room is set up for three distinct living functions: eating, office, and relaxing. Thanks to my upbringing as eldest daughter in a family of 12 kids and never having much personal stuff or space, I have developed a keen eye for making every corner count. And thanks to SuziBlu, I like to fool around with drawing. Over here in the relaxing/viewing portion of the room, I keep all my drawing pads and accessories available yet hidden inside this cheapo ottoman I picked up on clearance at a discount store. Since I can never just sit there and watch a movie, I grab a pad and pencils and doodle to my heart's content.

Or I can take out cross stitch, hand sewing or embroidery, which I keep next to the couch in these nifty baskets. (The red one was Freecycled.)

Or I can pull out these trays which I keep under the sofa, and piece together backgrounds for ATCs or cut out pics and magazine letters for collages.

My next "sandbox" is a tray table set up in a corner. Once again, this is mobile and ready to move around. A vintage linen keeps it looking neater (or it would, if I'd iron it).

I like to peruse craft magazines and books for ideas while sitting up in bed. Once again, my tote fetish comes in handy.

I also keep small projects in another bag which can fit into my purse when I go out.

Thanks, Mrs. Shannon! Class dismissed, and don't forget your lunchboxes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Creating in tiny spaces: Pt. 2 UPDATED

When space is limited, storage becomes at once a priority and a pain in the tush. A single person can have their space any way that suits them. But what about the artist who shares living quarters with a neat freak left-brainer who doesn't enjoy seeing craft clutter spread out all over the place? Ah, there's the rub, as The Bard once said. It's time for the delicacy of diplomacy and compromise.

In our case, it came down to moving the dining table to our large common room from the eat-in kitchen, which then became my main crafting area. Christmas before last I got a nice adjustable art table. You really don't want to see the top of it right's a bloomin' mess with about 6 projects happening and the debris of a few others still to be put away. My compromise is to cover it with a gorgeous tablecloth some friends sent from Ireland. Hey--why shouldn't even my cover ups be beautiful and inspiring?

No, don't want to look under there! You don't!! Trust me!

All right, if you insist...but remember, you were warned.

Told you so! Okay, moving on.

I started gathering (read: scrounging) plastic storage bins and stacked them on one side, with baskets and more on top. Nearby I tacked up a makeup travel kit bag with see-through compartments, wherein I store ATCs in progress, small cutout pics I want handy, and the like. Next to that I hung my paint shirt.

Over to the left is a great little unit I found at Costco on closeout. Above that is my favorite all-time embellishment "file"--a fishing tackle box. What a wonder! I have separate compartments for different colored buttons, beads, shells, broken jewelry, and whatnot--all within reaching and, more importantly, remembering distance. (Isn't it annoying to forget what you have because you can't see it?)

Speaking of which, down under is where I keep folders containing stickers, vintage photos, ephemera, and such. Old pickle and pasta jars keep trims and miscellany handy. A castoff tote holds my Quick-Kutz die cutter and accessories (got those on slash-and-burn sales, too!) and a hanging bag contains my glue guns and sticks.

Amazing what you can store in a small area!

Check back for Pt. 3: Take a tip from pre-school

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Creating in tiny spaces: Pt. 1

So you don't have the art studio of your dreams. In fact, you don't have a studio at all--you live in a dorm or cramped apartment; or with your parents; or share space with a spouse, kids, two cats and a dog. That doesn't mean you can't make art. In my square-footage-challenged domain, I work with what I've got. Today and continuing through the next segments of this series, I'll show you some of my ideas.

First, let me introduce you to my Porta-ArtSpot:

Yup, my new "BFF", an old picnic basket I picked up at a garage sale. It can go room to room or in the car to wherever I might want to create--such as my friend's house for our monthly "art play date" or even to the local coffeehouse. I can change out the contents easily, and even close it and use the top as a footstool while I'm working on something.

Think of your lack as a positive rather than a negative. It's a challenge! Look around at what you've got, and find creative solutions. It can actually be fun, and stir your imagination in other ways.

Back tomorrow for Pt. 2.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brighten those corners--pay it forward!!

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do
Don not wait to shed your light afar
To the many duties ever near you now be true
Brighten the corner where you are.

~Ina D. Ogdon, 1913

I love that old hymn because of its message: Don't wait till you're "rich and famous" to make a difference, even with your art! The only time we have is right now.

This fabulous idea is from Diane Evans via Dot/Dabbled via Piggy in the Puddle, and I'm adding my own stuff at the end (out of italics):

Then I headed over to one of my friends blogs and found this wonderful idea of paying it forward....this is all with something creative.....

Here's how it works....

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It’ll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own blog to pay this forward.
This text was used from

So then--everyone clear on how this works? Hope to hear from you! And yes, I will gladly send outside the USA.

MSCE 4/21: Altered Altoids tin, in progress

I'm doing this for the current swap at my very favorite Yahoo Group of all time, Altered StART. The assigned theme is "By the Sea", and I finished the inside lid today. That's real German glass glitter in there--oh, Ilove that stuff!

Still tweaking the rest of the tin, and will post as it gets done. I have to have it mailed off before a week from this Thursday, so stay tuned!

Monday, April 20, 2009

CBL featured at Polymer Clay Tutor!

This certainly was a pleasant surprise at the end of my day! Cindy Lietz is a very accomplished polymer clay artist and instructor who might even get unwieldy me to try again (if indeed I can be trusted! HA!) Her site is incredibly interesting and jam-packed with helpful information and artful inspiration. You don't have to be into clays or beading to get a lot out of it--evidenced by her April 9 post about my favorite art form, mixed media--but if you are, I guarantee you'll be in Polymer Paradise! She even has some free introductory videos to get you going.

Many thanks for the thumbs-up, Cindy! I'll be spreadin' the word to all my crafty friends about your great site.

MSCE 4/20: 2-minute paper clip recipe holder

Today's idea was inspired by my two favorite muses: excess and need. I inherited three huge boxes of colored paper clips from a kind Freecycler and since I'm not really going to clip thousands of papers together, am always looking for ways to use them. I also like to tear out interesting recipes from magazines. Trouble is, if I then stick them in a box or drawer, I completely forget about them. I thought it'd be fun to have a cute and colorful paper clip chain hanging on the side of my microwave, with my latest finds displayed where I can see them when I'm making up my grocery list. A couple of magnet clips from my Dollar Store stash and it was good to go.

Gee, ya think?

Your rainbow is shaded red.


What is says about you: You are a passionate person. You appreciate energetic people. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

This was amusing...I am definitely a Red.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Free is better! --Public domain images for collage on Flickr

You absolutely must not miss this! Thanks to Robin on Altered StART, I have discovered Free Collage Images on Flickr and may not ever come up for air again. I might have to get another hard drive just to hold the ones I want...and want...and want...nope, just kidding! The idea is to save lots of money on materials so I can get the tools I really want.

*Note to self: Hold out for the laser printer and the Dremel instead of that cheaper handheld drill!

Cool beans!

My jewelry disaster post of last Tuesday was picked up by the wonderful new blog Craft Fail, and also merited a comment by none other than The Crafty Chica herself, Kathy Cano Murillo! Me so happy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

MSCE 4/17: Photo Fun

I don't have Photoshop and my knowledge of such things would fit into Thumbelina's thimble. However, I do have a basic photo editor, (the apparently now-defunct) Microsoft Picture It; and Google's wonderful Picasa--both CBL-certified 100% FREE of charge and idiot-proof--so I decided to play around with one of my own pics and see where it landed. My Cool Thing today is this (drumroll):

I might find it a little on the edge of creepy. I kind of like the misty, foggy look and the way my eyes pop. My husband liked it, too...he actually used the word "dreamy". (Thanks, Honey! I think you're a keeper!)

Next time, I'm gonna try because I read on Kim Komando's excellent site that it has an easier learning curve than Photoshop or Gimp, which I tried once but gave up after weeks of staring at in bewilderment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MCSE 4/16: Yay goody! A new toy!

This one is just way too much fun and, best of all, free! Next time you feel like escaping, instead of playing MahJohngg or Free Cell till your brain turns to limp cabbage, go on over to Wordle and make something COOL!

Here's the thumbnail of mine:

There's also a clickable image over in the sidebar--scroll down a bit and you'll see it. In case you wonder, it says, "I am creative and no one can take that from me."

Wordle lets you put whatever words you choose together in all sorts of configurations; just upload to their public gallery, or print out your new work of word art and use any way you wish. Cloud computing is coming, so let's mount those creative flying ponies and get on up into the atmosphere!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to make bad jewelry

It's refreshing to find crafty gallows humor like the ones listed over there in the sidebar of that name to the right. One of my new favorites is Craft Fail, a sort of True Confessions of creative attempts that should just never have been unleashed.

In the spirit of that and of, well, just laughing at myself because I need to today, here is where I spill on...ME! I now present three projects, each with potential in the conception phase, but woefully lacking in execution. (Hmmm...execution...gallows humor...pattern here?)

EXHIBIT A, Filed under "WTH": Plastic bead that just ate it, but not before exacting bloody revenge

Who in the world could mess up these? I mean, how easy-peasy can something get? I followed the instructions. Don't ask me how, but I ended up with what appears to be a green inner ear bone. No, wait--it's a deformed miniature coffee mug! No, wait--it's The Leaning Tower of Teeny Tiny Plastic, with two micro-ropes attached to keep it from hitting the ground! I have no idea what it is, but it sure the heck is not a bead.

Being the optimist Queen of Denial I am, I thought hmmmmm...maybe I could wear it as a funky ring!
Yay! Cool idea...until I put it on my finger and promptly impaled myself with the sharp point inside. Yeeowch! As if that weren't enough, I then realized I hadn't even taken all the stupid soda bottle label off. Tacky, tacky!

EXHIBIT B: The absurdly impractical cuff bracelet--now with random EXTRA glitter!

Happy, happy! A castoff leather cuff bracelet, just begging for a Crafty Bag Lady makeover...all mine! All I had to do was find a new embellishment for it. There were dozens, if not hundreds of possibilities in my stash. Inexplicably, I chose a green pottery rose--not for a moment considering its complete unsuitability for the purpose.

My next hurdle: an adhesive to stick ceramic to leather. Because of the rose's dimensions, I couldn't clamp or put anything heavy on it, so I reached for my good friend Gorilla Glue and thought the problem was licked. Not until it dried did I notice the unsightly yellowish glue halo all around the rose. Ever tried to peel that stuff off of leather? Ever tried peeling concrete off a sidewalk with a spatula?

OK, so I was stuck with it (sorry; corny pun genes in my family.) So then I thought, What's cuter and covers more crafty sins than glitter? Aha! A very Crafty Chica solution! I am so clever! Except that the glitter didn't hide the glue halo as much as draw attention to it like a flashing neon CRAFT DORK sign.

Oh, but I'm stubborn. I would hold my head up and wear my glitter-enhanced gluey green rose and leather cuff and wear it proudly! Except that the weight of the rose constantly pulls the cuff down, snap side up. I am always having to watch that the delicate rose doesn't get chipped, and I can't get the rose off without busting it up. I can't wear it anywhere. It's's haunts my jewelry rack as a reminder that all that glitters is not crafty gold.

EXHIBIT C: Cheerios, pepperoni, and mouse droppings necklace

This is my most infamous handmade-gone-toxic. And like brown eyes, big feet, and a funny-shaped thumb, it is with me till the day I die.

It was the 90's and Fimo was all the rage! Everybody who was anybody was buying the stuff and churning out mountains of intricately designed beads and other gorgeous adornments. Me too! Me too! Can I come into your playhouse? See, I bought some clay of my very own! Cinnamon and beige and black--isn't that an interesting and fun combination? Hey, I'm an artist, just like you! And just look at this classy polyester string! Cool, huh? Huh? And I'll even do nice little knots between the beads as spacers...'cuz I'm so artsy...

Ba da DUMB.

The beads are misshapen and not funky enough to be cool but not nice enough to be acceptable. The knots are tied too far away from the beads. This necklace is so bad that it's been through three garage sales and I haven't been able to unload it for 25 cents. I tried to give it away once; the erstwhile recipient declined. I even put it in a Freecycle box and I swear, the thing actually came back to me! Accckkk!

Thus it is destiny, the necklace and me: together forever, forever together, till death do us part. And I've never touched Fimo again.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I was so proud of the Facebook application I made. Carefully chosen graphics enhanced witty, sparkling text. Following every instruction to the iota, I took an extra half hour just to tweak it to perfection. I couldn't wait to post it here--I was that proud of my very first such effort!

Finally! The click of submission into the aether! Now it was just awaiting the fruit of my efforts. Whoooo--creative me!

Except...the gremlins, obviously bored with their usual routine of causing world upheaval and head lice outbreaks, decided on a course of action: Now wouldn't it be soooooooo funny to eat up Sharon's project! She's such a dork! Wheeeeeeeeee!

Crash, bang, freeze...DANG!

And the worst part was, I'd already eaten all the chocolate.