Friday, March 5, 2021

Christmas Card Challenge - March - Large Greetings Small Cards

I continued my large greeting Christmas Cards making with the aim to create A2 (4.25"x5.5") sized cards. 

I continued to use the Winter Frolic Cricut Cartridge. This greeting is 3.5" T x 3.5" W. I cut it from Champagne pearl card stock and paired it with an ivory card base.   

The acrylic ink background features royal purple color with some bright spots.

I used copper accents layers with the crown is part of the shift layer of the greeting then I cut stars with the Sizzix Star#2 die.  

These were adhered to the acrylic ink background and the large greeting was adhered with 3D foam tape.

I spattered it with copper acrylic color, a toothbrush and straight edge.


 This next card I chose a blue green piece of acrylic ink background on glossy photo paper.  It was trimmed from 4x6 to 3.75 x 5 inches.

It was adhered to a white card base.

The pearl white large greeting was mounted aligned to the bottom of the background with 3D foam tape.  

I added a silver star in the upper left hand corner.  It was cut with the Sizzix die.

It was spattered with an iridescent liquid acrylic.



Another ivory card with the champagne large greeting.  

I cut the crown from gold card stock and adhered with double sided tape. 

I added sequins in gold and copper adhered with Bling Zots. 

Since the copper was out this one was spattered at the same time as the other.

I added seasonal quarter inserts and white envelopes and they are ready for December 1st.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Christmas Card Challenge - March - Large Greetings

I decided to make Christmas cards with large greetings for my March cards.

It was easy to find some greetings on some of my Cricut cartridges.  They are easily sized and cut.  I chose the Winter Frolic cartridge.  It's hard to tell how large they will be on the first cut so I ended up with some larger die cuts than I planned so I used 5x7 cards (A7). 

The large greeting was cut from white pearl card stock at 3.5" T.  

Of course, the fun part was making acrylic ink background with photo paper.  These are 4x6 sheets and I used my Nick Bantock liquid acrylic colors for these. The colors were: Deep Turquoise, Cerulean Azure, Prussian Blue, Chrome Yellow, Chartreuse Leaf, Vermillion Lacquer, and Sapmoss Green.

I added colored sequins to the card fronts adhered with Bling Zots. For the first one the sequins were Christmas green, the red one was gold,  and the other was red and green.

I used a bit of color watered down to spatter the card fronts once I was done which helps to marry all the elements.

For the 5x7 cards I needed a clean pull of color across the 4x6 as I could not trim it.  Sometimes I end up with white edges or finger prints in the corners as I turn them over.

I see that I ended up with some pink sequins as well as red on this card. Not my intention but that's how it goes.

I have documented these in my Cricut manual so I can get smaller die cuts next time.

Always nice to have a few larger cards in my Christmas card box.

Super happy with these.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Christmas Card Challenge - Feb - Watercolor Cards 2

Here are the next 4 cards in this watercolor challenge.

I lightly drew the shapes with watercolor pencils. I then used red watercolor to paint this trio of elliptical ornaments.  The 140lb watercolor paper was taped down to a piece of glass and allowed to dry taped down.

Once dry, I added the black lines with a thin permanent marker.  

I then added spatter with gold liquid acrylic color. 

I mounted this on a dark card base.

This card is a round  ornament in fuchsia color.

I added a string where it hangs and a tiny bow. I added some pearl liquid acrylic to the sections of the shape.  Spattered with fuchsia color.

The greeting is from the Stampin Up Good Greetings set in permanent black ink.

I really loved the snowbanks I created in this composition. 

I added a twig tree with the black marker.

Stamped the greeting on the lower right hand quadrant.

This wreath was created with light and dark leaves. Remember to keep them in the same direction.

I added black outlines on the leaves and a bow at the bottom of the wreath.   

Stamped greeting above the wreath. 

Spattered with red watercolor.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Christmas Card Challenge - Feb - Watercolor Cards

I decided to try watercolor cards for my February challenge.

I watched several Youtube videos from Maremi Small Art.

She has several at the beginner level.  It seemed pretty easy so I gave it a try.  I chose to tape down my Cotman 140lb Watercolor paper to a piece of glass before I started.  I painted my color then allowed them to dry still taped down.

I cut them down into individual art pieces measuring 3.75 x 5.00 inches and added the black lines with a permanent fine tip marker. I stamped the Christmas Greeting from the Stampin Up Good Greetings set.

I adhered the watercolor piece with double sided tape to a coordinating colored card base.

I chose various color to spatter the small pieces of art. 

For the first one I chose a lavender card base with black spatter.

I did draw a rough outline with watercolor pencils before I started applying watercolor with a brush.  I picked up this tip from another video I watched and it was a great idea.

For the card on the right I chose a ultramarine blue card base for the yellow star watercolor image. 

On the tree card I used gouache (opaque watercolor) for the red balls because mixing red with green watercolor would have yielded brown ornaments.  

I used the same green for the spatter then a nice red card base. 

On this next card I painted a round ball which I turned into an ornament.  

I added the hanger and string with the black marker. Then patterns onto the ornament itself.

I added copper accents to the patterns I had drawn with the marker.

I added quarter sheet inserts with a seasonal sentiment.

I have made another set of four but they have not been turned into cards yet.

This was a lot of fun but harder than the videos make it look.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Pastel Background into cards

I made this background the other day for a photo challenge because it was too cold to go outside and take a horizon photograph.

This is the first time I have used chalk pastels in recent years.  I quite enjoyed it.  They blend beautifully.

This piece was a half sheet measuring 5.5 inches T by 8.5 inches Wide.  I did have to spray it with fixative to ensure the pastels did not rub off.

I made 2 cards with this background.

For the one on the right I cut the background to 4.00 x 5.25 inches and adhered it to a white card with double sided tape.

I then cut a tree with the Sizzix Pine Tree small from black card stock and adhered it to the pastel layer with quick dry adhesive.

I applied a bit of pastel to the piece of brown card stock.  I ripped the top edge and trimmed it to the bottom of the background layer.  Before adhering it I crunched it up to give it texture to represent a rough and rock foreground.  It was adhered with double sided tape.

On this card and chose to you the background in the other orientation which makes it an abstract.

I cut the greeting in black with the Memory Box Thanks thinlit which adhered to strip of vellum. This was then adhered to the background with black eyelets inserted with my Crop a Dile.

I added the exclamation point by hand cutting it and adhering it with quick dry adhesive.

These are going to my sisters!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Photo Cards

Using some of my photographs, I created a few all occasion cards for my card box so I can quickly add a greeting and put them in the mail.

 This is a gorgeous red poppy taken at the community garden.







The pink on the right is Summer Wine Nine Bark.



This is Orange Million Belles in a tiny ceramic pitcher taken on the fence along the trail in the river valley.

These are A2 (4.25x5.5 inch) heavy 110lb card stock.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I took this photo at the bird feeder when it was still decent temperatures -12C.   

It is a Downy Woodpecker getting seeds and fat to stay warm.  I have to say I don't know how they do it.

As you can see it is now Crazy Cold and will last for another 2 weeks they predict!

This is a story about Martha Connolly who lives in Liverpool England in Court 5 very near the docks where her husband goes everyday in hopes of getting some work.  It is 1938 and the Great Depression has caused great unemployment and poverty. They live in squalor, cold, with little food and means to earn wages.  Her and Patrick live with 8 of their 9 children in one room.  One of the girls has gained employment in a large house and sends a bit of money each month. Brian, the oldest son works and contributes as well. Martha sells rags at the market. The young ones follow the coal cart and gather the bits that fall off for the range which provided heat and the ability to cook. The photos on the right show the courts.

The other timeline is 1965 where Martha as fallen, was hospitalized and now is placed in a seniors residence where residents are expected to be quiet, not make a fuss, and stay in bed. She is now alone with no husband or children. No one comes to visit and she is lonely and sad. She shares with the staff when they come to the room she shares with 4 other women. They are not very engaged so it is very isolating.

Eventually, Martha is reunited with her youngest referred most often as Number Nine whose real name was Jamie who is now a priest.  She lives with him in the presbytery.

I have been doing a lot of sewing this week.   I have already posted the blanket for the car.

This is a set of bags for the car.  The largest bag in the upper left corner holds my winter or summer gear depending on the season.  The tall skinny and Bento Bags are for other things which need to be stored in the car on a temporary basis.

The small bag on the bottom left holds the other bags until they are needed.  

They are made from black microfiber which is polyester so will last a long time and wear well.

I received this late Christmas card from a friend who moved away a few years ago. They normally don't send cards but since this was not a "normal" year they decided to do this year.  It did my heart good to get it in the mail last few days in January.  

On my day out on Monday I stopped by the hardware store to purchase some C-Clamps.  

I have used them now to secure the lamps on both sides of the photo studio.  The lamps have been known fall and then I have lost a valuable light bulb so they were worth it.  

Eventually I want to make a backdrop holder for the studio which will be secured by clamps as well.

I am happy with the progress I am making with the studio.

Vibrant Minimalism is the challenge at Flickr Macro Monday this week.  This is one of the shots I took for it. You can check out my photo stream (SMDPics) to see the one I submitted.

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #117 and Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #278.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Sewing - Car Litter Bag

I decided to make a new car litter bag holder.  The one I have been using was the very first one I made.

I used some really nice blue butterfly cotton fabric on the outside and some of the leftover black from the car blanket.

You can check the instructions in this post.  I originally designed them as thread catchers for the craft room.

This fabric bag has 2 ties to secure it and holds a used yogurt plastic container.  I store extra bags in the bottom.

It`s been a full week of sewing.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Sewing - Car Blanket

I decided to make a new blanket for the car.  In case of emergency it would be good to have a good blanket with me. 

I was out on Monday so I went to the thrift store to purchase what I thought I needed.  I bought the navy fleece blanket and the black cotton sheet for the other side.

The fleece blanket is really too small for an emergency blanket so I googled and generally these blankets are 60"W x 84"T.  The old blanket I had in the car was that size so I decided that I would use it as a base.  It was the first bedspread I made in my twenties.  It was threadbare and very worn.  It would work well as a substrate for the fleece.  

The navy fleece would do the bottom half so I went into my stash of fabric and found a piece of white which would do nicely.  I stitched the 2 pieces of fleece to the old blanket. I did just lines on the navy but I decided to be more creative with the quilting on the white.



I did random geometric shapes.  Circles, triangles, zigzags, etc.  Some quilted the white to the base and others were added when I quilted that to the black backing.  

The back is a cotton sheet in black from IKEA.  I cut it generous in size.  That was fortunate because I was able self bind the edges by bring the black to the front and sewing it down. 

It was trimmed to 1.5 inches then folded over to the front and sewn down.


The final size: 59" x 75" inches.

This is a really nice substantial blanket which will be great for the car.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Photo Card - Birthday Tulip

I want to be using photo cards more often.

I sent some 12x12 designer paper to my sister with the stipulation that it does not come back to my house.  I have cleared 3 iris cases for photography stuff.

This is a gorgeous tulip in warm tones of pink, purple and oranges.  It was mounted to an A2 heavy card base in white.  It was signed and a Stampin Up Modern Label punchie greeting was added in the bottom left hand corner adhered with 3D foam tape.

This is for my sister who is celebrating a birthday this week.


Monday, January 25, 2021

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I captured this cute squirrel having a late afternoon snack. 

He had been digging under the snow at the foot of a small birch tree and I wondered what he was looking for. When he found it he came and sat in this tree and nicely posed for a photo.

Love how the color of what he is munching on is repeated in the orange on his head and tail.

I have put up the second photo shelf in the front hall.  I placed my award winning "Silver Roadster" framed photo on it along with a white ceramic tree.

This shelf is Mosslanda from IKEA which is 21.75" wide which was perfect for this space.  They make on which is 45" wide which I will use in the living room.

I ended up with black ones because that is all they had when I went shopping. With shopping in the pandemic I was not willing to just come back at a later time.  I was really wanting to test out how these would work before I invested bigger money in the 6 or 7 needed for the living room wall.

I am happy with these and will move forward with getting the wider ones.  I means painting the walls as well so it is not a quick job.

This is the reverse side of the blue one I posted last week.  It is a back drop for my photo studio made with a 18x24 inch artist board which I recycled.  

This is the actual canvas textured side of the board. I was going for warm tones on this side.  I cleared out a lot of my acrylic paint a couple of years ago and only kept a small box.  

The color I chose is Artist Pigment Burnt Carmine which was lighten with Warm White.  I created 3 tones, the original color, the base coat which has some white added then the lightest with more white added.

The whole board was done in the medium base coat.  It was recommended that we then apply some dark and lights and work them into the somewhat still wet base coat. On this side, this process almost completely removed the base coat from areas.  Maybe it's because it had been painted before but I had put 2 coats of primer on before the base coat.  I did the best I could then let it completely dry.  I then went back it with all three colors to cover the near bare spots.  Turned out alright.   And as luck would have it, I found a large cellophane envelope this morning which will protect it when it is stored with the other backdrops.  Yeah!

I've changed up my exercise routine.  I have been doing the last one since October 1st. With a new year I was ready for a change of moves.  I started doing the 1st mile of this DVD by Leslie Sansone.  I can choose to do any of the 5 miles so I can a different routine every day.

I don't think I will ever do 5 miles at one time which would take about 2 hours.

I created a stand for my new backdrop.  

I used some 2x4 and cut it into about 6" tall pieces. I sanded the edges then held them together with very long nails. I drilled a pilot hole through the first piece so it would be easier. Worked great!

In the video, they used big clips which I did not have so I used 2 small ones. A bit of a pain but it will do for now.

The challenge at Flickr Macro Monday is "Lockdown Song".  Music is not a big part of my life and then trying to interpret it into a photo was very challenging.  I was ready to pass this week but I went on line and search happy song.  The song HAPPY by Pharrell Willimas from Despicable Me showed up.  I had a Minion toy so I thought this could work.  This is the shot I submitted because I did not have a lot of options. 

You can check my Flicker photostream (SMDPics).

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #115 and Mersad who hosts Through my Lens #276.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I was out early Saturday morning on a photo shoot.  The weather was warm and the sun was shining so I took the opportunity to be out. 

I found a new park to investigate.  The walking was tough because it was quite icy in places. I fell Thursday after we had a dusting of snow so I was careful.   The park is long along the Fulton Ravine but is used as a off leash dog park.  I was early so it was not too bad for social distancing.

I captured the morning sun on this snow bank.  I just love the sparkle of the snow.

It was a very good 90 minute outdoor adventure.  I made several stops along the way to shoot architecture.

Very successful morning.

I have a plan for a new Christmas Tree for next year.  This one hangs on the wall.  It is made of birch tree branches hung in a triangular shape.  I had drawn up the design on paper but decided to make a mock up and hang it where I planned to see how it fit.

The triangle is 40" wide at the bottom and 48" tall. The trunk is extra.  On my last trip to the outside world I bought a 50 foot string of fairy lights which will light it.  That is enough to cover it twice which will be just right.

I plan of having crystal beads on the ends of each row which will prevent the branch from moving and capture the light.   The branches are about 5" apart which is tall enough for most of my ornaments. I most have clear glass or stained glass ornaments. I have work out the hangers for it yet.  

I hope to keep a few twigs on the branches sticking out to allow for a few special dimensional ornaments.

 I finished this book this week. A World Elsewhere by Wayne Johnston.  A Canadian author who grew up in Newfoundland.

Landis Druken is the son of a Captain on a sealing ship who had hoped to have him take over the Gilbert when the time came.  Landis attended Princeton for his higher education.  He met Padgett Vanderluyden and they became friends, were part of social scene and shared a house at one point. Padgett is very wealthy and plans to build an estate in Carolina and wanted Landis to join him. These two parted ways under bad terms.  Landis returns from Princeton and declares he does not want to head a sealing ship. For this, his father disowned him and he was left poor and living in an attic on Dark Marsh Road. 

He receives a letter from the wife of a man, Francis Carson, who sailed on his father's ship who has died at sea.  It's possible his father is responsible for this death. There is now a small son, Deacon and the mother can no longer care for him so he has been put in an orphanage. 

Landis rescues the 3 year old from the orphanage and brings Deacon to live with him. In some ways Landis is not prepared to be a father. He drinks too much, does not earn enough money to keep them both well fed, and the attic is very cold in the winter. The boy is small and frail and often travels on Landis' shoulders.

After several years, Landis being desperate writes to Padgett in Carolina and asks to come to Vanderland, the estate which was built in Carolina. Landis and Deacon move to Vanderland.  Things get complicated there with Mr. Vanderluyden, his wife and daughter. They are warm, well fed and Deacon is getting an education. Landis is teaching English to the 2 children and there are other tutors who all live in the Bachelor wing. 

Landis is very good at story telling, creating new words for things, creating poetry for songs, but he writes every day and burns the pages.  Things get harry in the final chapter but it has a good end.

I have put up 2 more framed photos on the shelf in the bedroom.  This shelf does not have the channel which the other shelf has but we'll see how it goes. 

After a bit of a exchange with an artist on my Instagram I have decided that I should have as much art on display as feasible.  I will enjoy it till the frames are filled with new photos and I will be reminded of the frames I have.  Why hide them away in boxes!


I recycled an old artist board (18"x 24 inches) I had into a photography backdrop.  I primed both sides with 2 coats of primer. 

I decided to have one side in cool tones and the other with warm tones.

This is the blue cool tones side.  I used Blue Velvet and White acrylic paint.  I watched a few videos on line about doing this process. 

I mixed my medium base coat by adding white to the blue. This was thinned with water and painted on.  I had prepared a darker version and a light version as well.  When the base coat was semi dry I applied the lights and darks with a round sponge.  I am happy with the results.

The challenge this week at Flickr Macro Monday is "Ribbon".  I had fun using a large assortment from my stash.  You can find the one I submitted on my Flickr Photostream (SMDPics).  The red one uses my new photo backdrop.  Really happy!

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #114 and with

Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #275

Friday, January 15, 2021

Christmas Card Challenge - Jan - Handmade Paper

I started on my 2021 Christmas Cards. I was inspired by a photo shoot I am planning.  

I used small sheets of handmade paper in light warm blue color.  I chose a deep warm blue card base.

I color printed a star and a greeting from the Stampin Up Bright and Beautiful set in Baja Breeze.  I heated embossed them with clear powder.  I cut the stars by hand and ripped the top and bottom edges of the greeting.

I used tiny blue brads to attach the star and greeting to the sheet of handmade paper.  I added a small sequin to the star and a snowflake sequin behind the greeting.

I have four cards in the card box.

I have not used handmade paper sheets in forever.  It was nice to get some onto cards.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Little Love for Mom

I made a book mark from some of the denim I cut off my jeans the other day.

I zigzagged about 1/4 in from the edge around the full rectangle with a tight stitch.  This will limit the unravelling that can take place.

I included a bit of lace at the top and a navy gros grain ribbon which can be used as a place marker as I stitched around.

I had to look up some embroidery stitches and find a needle and thread but eventually found all three.

I put 3 hearts in red along the length of the bookmark.   My stitching is not the greatest but it is the sentiment that I love her which is important.

Say I love you to those precious to you today.

It is ready to be mailed today.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sylvia's Simple Shots

I have joined a 52 Week Photo Challenge hosted by Kevin.  

This week's challenge was Nature.  I was out yesterday morning for my walk with good temperatures.  Unfortunately, not much sun.

I captured this Scotch Pine Bough which is nature.  I love the soft background of snow but it is beautiful out of focus.  




I finally got myself a new pair of jeans at the thrift store this week.  I was swimming in my old ones because I have lost 22 pounds in 2020.

I could not try them on because of COVID restrictions so they are not as great as I would have liked but much better than what I have been wearing.  I even had a belt in my cupboard that matched.

I did have to hem them.  One pair of pants I can wear out in public that fit well, not that I am going out except for groceries and prescriptions. This was my 2nd thrift store visit since August. 

This book Ruby by Cynthia Bond was very multi layered. Ruby is a young girl of color raised in the 1950s in the state of New York.  It is a story of survival with love, sisterhood among women, and brutality.

I found it hard at times to keep the characters straight because of the interrelationships.  Ruby is the main character and the man who loves her, Ephram.  There is a lot of sadness, pain, growth, and extraction of demons from her past. 

I am glad I read the book despite it being difficult at times.  It was good to know what growing up black is like.

I made some improvements to the photo studio.  Consistent lighting was really necessary.  Now with all daylight LED bulbs it is low energy consumption and good light.

The power bar allows me to shut off all the lights at once.  When I take the camera to review the shots then come back and adjust my composition, etc. Having light from above is also great when trying to eliminate shadows.

Also I am not running cords across my walking space which was a tripping hazard.

When I picked up this book I thought it was about Maud Lewis the artist but it is about Lucy Maud Montgomery the author.  Maud by Harry Bruce.  

A young girl growing up on Prince Edward Island in Canada in the late 1800s when women were not given many opportunities to have independent lives.  She becomes a teacher while constantly writing. She does not let rejection letter dissuade her.   She slowly gets more and more writing published, then getting paid for the stories being published.  She is the author of the well known Anne of Green Gables.

I picked up the 5 DVD set of the TV series Anne of Green Gables at the thrift store the other day. I had just finished the Maud book so the story was fresh on my mind. There are times where there is not much wholesome on TV so this will give me something to watch.

I have decided to install photo shelves in my place so that I can change out the art and photography at will instead of making new holes in the walls. 

I bought 2 last fall sometime but my life took a bit of turn health wise so they were never put up.  This week I had a plan as to where I would put them but it turns out there is cement behind the drywall so I could not sink the anchors far enough in.

Change of plan.  I have put one up in the kitchen which holds the art from my niece and her trip to Italy and the vase of sunflowers.

The Flickr Macro Monday challenge this week is "beverage".  A bit challenging with a 3" limit.  To the right is a small cup which is filled with eggnog and cinnamon. You can check out my Flickr photo stream (SMDPics) to see the image I submitted. 

I am sharing with Angie who hosts Mosaic Monday #113 and Mersad who hosts Through My Lens #274.