Thursday, January 30, 2014

Graphic 45 'Steampunk Spells' Matchbox

I still find it astounding and totally thrilling to see my work posted. It makes me wonder how in the world I've managed to get so lucky... and it makes me smile just a bit.

This little altered matchbox using the Steampunk Spells collection is featured on the Graphic 45 blog today. (There's also and amazing baseball keepsake box by fellow design team member Denise Hahn that you should check out!)

It's not elaborate or terribly complicated but I think it's fun and bright and just the sort of thing to make on a dreary day, or a quick something for a nice friend.

Steampunk Spells Nevermore
Steampunk Spells Totally Wicked
Regular sized matchbox

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Teeny Weeny Sneaky Peeky 221B Update

Two blog posts in one day? Insanity!

I've already put in a fair few hours crafting for the new few little 221B tins that I'm working on. Despite my worries I'm having a very good time making them and I'm sooooo pleased. There were a few things about the original tin that bothered me so I'm chuffed to get a second chance to make a few improvements.

One of the things that irked me in the original was the skull on the mantle. It was really only skully enough to give the impression of a skull. The new ones are so much better. Here's one on the head of a match for size reference...

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of that little thing. I haven't finished the complete set because making them causes me to go slightly cross-eyed but I'm really happy with the few that are completed.

The set of Dr. Watson chairs on the other hand are ready to go.

And again I'm happy to be revisiting the project so that I can add teeny Union Jack pillows!

I'll be giving the Sherlock crafting (and my eyes) a rest for a day or two but will give another update as progress is made.

Later gators!

Sweet Sentiments Card from Graphic 45

On the Graphic 45 blog today, beautiful handmade cards.

Besides not being a scrapbooker, I'm also not a card-maker. I was a bit worried about my Graphic 45 assignment to create a card with the Sweet Sentiments collection for CHA. When the collection arrived however, I plonked myself down with a cup-o-tea and fussy cut to my hearts content while watching Downton Abby. I discovered that is a practically perfect way to spend a Sunday evening.

Supplies List:
 • Adhesive •  50lb sketching paper *Inside*

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's rather a mystery

I know, I know... ANOTHER block? Last one for a while, I pinky swear! This one has been sitting half finished for a week but I managed to finish it off this morning. I like the placement of the sentiment (it's from an old book) because the 'a' makes him look a little cyclopsy :)

The rusty wire is actually new, as are the little crown at the top and the photo corners. The rusty hand forged square head nails on the sides are old things.

And HERE is the etsy listing for this piece.

Lastly, I have started on the little batch of 221B tins. I thought that some progress photos might be fun so here you go...

I'm now off to sand, carve and paint that jumbled mess of tattered pieces.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Across the Sky

I'm participating in the Artist Trading Block swap over on craftster. Basically we all start out with a piece of wood that measures 2.5 x 3.5 x 1.5 and make it purdy for our assigned partner. They are loads of fun to make and just a little bit addictive.

My partner, Killam Creative, should be receiving hers any day now.

Killiam if you're reading this, avert your eyes and stop peeking!

If you are not Killam you should feel no guilt in proceeding with the peeks.

So, I kinda-sorta-but-not-really cheated because the entirety of my piece is quite a bit bigger than the assigned bit of wood. I turned my block horizontally added wheels and built upwards.

I noticed Killam mentioned hot air balloons a few times when I was stalking her, so I knew that was something I wanted to include. What better basket for a tiny flying vessel than a snails shell!? And that hot air balloon? Made from a paper mache egg (here's a slightly larger version)

Here are some of the other supplies used in this piece: Mini Red Pip Berry Garland, black dresden trims, Large Diorama TreesMiniature Pine Cones,   Sheet MossPetaloo Bontanica Floral Ephemera in Cranberry, Graphic 45 Staples Ornate Metal Label Holder, Old Curiosity Shoppe - Butterfly Specifics, Giant Snowflake


Here's hoping Killam hasn't peeked and that she likes her new thing-a-ma-bob when it arrives on her doorstep :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

221B and the inner conflict

Please note that this is a bit long winded. I apologize. I'm usually not as blabby but I wanted to let you in on the status of any additional 221B / Sherlock tins and the whys and whatfors.


There's a good chance you are here because of this. 

G. D. Falksen posted it, Steampunk picked it up and it's been a sort of whirlwind ever since because of this little tin. It's brought me more attention, well wishes and nice words than I've had in a very long time. I appreciate all of it. Truly, I feel like a very dorky princess... which is absolutely bloody lovely.

There continue to be loads of requests to buy this little tin, will there be some for sale? where can I get one? when will they be posted? To be honest I've struggled with that because (cross my heart) I made it just for me. I love it. It's one little thing I created out of sheer fan-girl geekiness, to celebrate something that has brought me joy. I never imagined it would be so coveted.

That's great right? It's what every artist dreams of! So, what's the dilemma? Really, I've been torn about making more.

There's a lot of time, love and skill in that little space and each of those things is valuable to me. Handmade items are unlike those from a factory. They are not manufactured, they are created with hands and skills and heart. I'm sure the price will put some people off and (heaven forbid) dishearten those who would like one but don't have enough pennies. (Being quite penniless myself I understand that particular frustration.)

Then there is the enjoyment of it to consider. I am a fortunate artist. I make what I love. I never want to make things that I dislike. There are LOADS of artists making things they hate. I don't blame them one bit mind you... arty folks have bills just like everyone else. The thing is, I don't want to groan every time someone orders something I once loved.

If I'm honest, the control freak in me is biting her nails right now too. I don't take custom orders or commissions. I like to have full control over what I make and I know that if I started churning these out that people would start asking for changes. Can you add a cat? Can you make the walls blue?

And what about churning them out? Doesn't that diminish the value of the object just a little? Perhaps it would make the original just a little less special.


I'm not naive. I know that others will jump on this bandwagon and sling copies online within a week. They won't feel a smidge of guilt about taking credit for it, claiming the idea as their own. It won't matter that my heart will sink into my feet when I see my idea being sold by others, or that they'll gain greater benefits from it than I. Should I make more just to beat others to the punch and attempt to retain a small portion of the pie? Perhaps, but I have neither the head nor heart for business and much prefer cake.

Now, I DO appreciate that people are interested in a quirky bit of handmade goodness. It's amazing to me that so many people have taken notice of this little piece of whimsy. I'd hate to feel like I'm letting an opportunity pass. It would seem ungrateful in a way.

AND making more would give me the opportunity to make minor changes. There's one or two improvements rolling around in my mind. It could be fun to make a 221B.2 and right all the things that are nagging at me about the original.

Taking all of these things into consideration, here are my plans...

I'm going to create a small run of similar tins. Very small. Probably 5, maybe 8. When they are all complete they will be listed in the etsy shop. I will post a time frame when I have a better idea, and will give 24 hrs notice before they are actually available.

I will NOT be taking pre-orders or reserving listings.

When they are gone, that will be it.

I'll move on and make the other dorky things floating around in my head.

Hopefully you'll like them too.

Strange Fluttering Afoot!

I'm certain something sneaky and mischievious was accidenltly shipped with my latest Alpha Stamps design team package. There was more rustling than usual and my supplies kept disappearing (entirely true!).


I kept seeing movement from the corner of my eye and hearing high-pitched titters when I danced around the living room on Thursday morning.

Finally, after many shenanigans, I spied her!

I even managed to coax her to pose for a photo with a few crumbs of banana bread.

Then, quick as you please, she was off like a shot! I haven't been able to find her since. I suspect she's in the pantry eating the chocolate chips.

Want to create your own fluttery friend? Here's the supply list:
January 2014 Kit - Romantic WomenJust Wings Collage Sheet  • WireAutumn Flower MixFoliage Bees Epoxy StickersCream Adhesive Pearls - 3mm

Friday, January 24, 2014

Purple People Eater (not really)

I'm not a big fan of purple. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate the hue of a plum, the beautiful lilacs that grow on the old tree of the bottom of our hill and the violets that blossom in spring. It's not that I DIS-like purple. I'm just not crazy about it like some people are. My auntie is one of those people. Purple is HER colour. She owns it. She wears it daily.

Despite not being a fan of purple I made this...

 It's frilly and girly and quite purply... but I like it. It's romantic.

And although it may not be exactly the sort of thing I usually make, it was exactly the thing I needed to make last night while drumming up some crafty mojo.

There's an idea in my head. It's tumbling around, trying to form but it's not there just yet. But I can't sit on my hands... that would stop the tumbling altogether! Instead, I grab at whatever little bits of inspiration I can and get messy.

Sometimes, while waiting for the big ideas to cook, it's good to explore the unfamiliar and do things you're unsure of. That is my favourite thing about being on a design team: the thrill of playing and creating with unexpected materials and styles and seeing a rather pretty result. Even if it is purple :P

This project is listed in the etsy shop HERE

plain wooden box shelf
vintage tea cup
vintage button
tiny frame
acrylic paint
adhesive pearls
Graphic 45 > Sweet Sentiments > Violet Bouquet
Graphic 45 > Sweet Sentiments > Sweet Sentiments 
Graphic 45 > Sweet Sentiments > Be My Valentine
Graphic 45 Staples > Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Keys

Spellbinders Oval Hat Pin
Petaloo Textured Mini Blossoms
Petaloo Botanica Blooms
Purple Iris Paper Flowers

P.S. Although I'm not a huge fan of purple I freely proclaim my absolute adoration for the Violet Bouquet paper used in this project

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sherlocked Matchbox

Loads of people said very nice things about my Sherlock Altoid tin yesterday. There were a few inquiries as to if the tin was for sale, or if others would be available. Unfortunately I am quite greedy and will be keeping the tin for myself  and it may be a while before I make another BUT....

I do love you for encouraging the fan-girl in me (although I am far too old for it) so, I spent the day making something especially for you. I believe that every last person should have a little 221B to fit in their pocket so I came up with a matchbook version you can create for yourself. It's not as detailed as the tin, but it's cute as a button and you'll be able to make one in no time at all

Are you ready? Here we go...

Download THIS template. Be sure when you print that it is at 100% scale. Fair warning: you will very likely have to do some fiddling around to get things to fit perfectly... I would suggest a trial run.

Let's start with the outside of the matchbox. Here I've cut out the pieces to the door...

... then glued them to the reverse side of piece of black paper.

Using a very sharp blade I cut out the pieces carefully using the template as a guide. When I turn the pieces over, I have perfectly cut black paper pieces.

I gather all of my pieces together, along with a small piece of transparency with a black pattern on it. This is for the window above the door but you could leave it blank. I also grab the outside sleeve of my matchbox. Notice that small patch of white paper on the sleeve? That just hides the packaging where the window above the door is.

I assemble to door, gluing the layers in place. Large piece, transparency, door with cutouts (small blocks on the top) and finally the smallest plain rectangle. This then gets glued behind the large white cutout doorway, like this...

Center the door on the front of the matchbox sleeve and wrap the paper around the box. You will need to trim the ends as I've left loads of excess... just in case. Finally, I've added a sliver of gold trim for the mail slot, and a tiny piece of bent wire for the knocker. I've added trim along the top and inked the bottom edge to give a more finished look.

You might notice that my door looks wet. To hide any white paper edges that might be visible, I've given the door a wash of black paint.

Let your exterior dry and move on to the inside!

Begin by lining the inside drawer with black paper, trimming away the excess.

Next cut out the interior fireplace wall and fold it along the lines like this...

It really helps if you have a score board or bone folder. If not, GENTLY score with a sharp blade along the fold lines and fold... if you don't go too deep with the blade you should have nice crisp folded edges.

Insert the two bookshelf strips into the valleys then...

... affix your folded piece into your matchbook drawer like this. If you have trouble with your paper cracking, you can give a wash of very thin paint to give an aged look and camouflage the cracking.

Add the lower bookshelf inserts. While they are drying, you can paint/stain a matchstick a woody sort of colour and chop it into bits for your fireplace mantle.

As those little pieces dry, paint/stain a coffee stir stick and cut it into small pieces to use as shelves. **These sticks are great for crafting. They are much easier to cut than Popsicle sticks and not nearly as thick. If you can't find them in a craft shop, definitely swipe a few next time you see them in a cafe!

Put a tiny dab or two of white glue along three edges of your little 'shelves' and push them into place. While waiting for them to dry, lets make our teeny weeny books. Start with a long, very narrow slip of paper (about 1/8th of an inch).

Cover both sides with a thin layer of glue and accordion fold then press.

Don't worry about being perfect. You want a little variation so that the edge looks like a pile of books.

Using different weights, lengths and colours will give a nice varied look to your library. Rub a little brown or black paint along 'spine' edge to add depth. Put a little dab of glue on the bottom of your book stacks and push them onto the tiny shelves. Add tiny stacks of paper too.

Finally, for the mirror above the mantle I've simply cut a tiny square of tin foil and glued it in place.

All that's left is to wait for that bad boy to dry and you've got your own little 221B Baker Street to fit inside your pocket and carry with you all day long.

Smmoooches to you, and thanks for being so nice :) xoxo

Monday, January 20, 2014

221B Baker Street

It's not often that I create something for myself.

I've gone a little bit mental over Sherlock ever since watching the entire series while in my sick bed. Benedict Cumberbatch is now my newest imaginary boyfriend and I am smitten with all things Sherlockian. Since dear old Sherly (that's what I call him... we're besties) pulled me through my life threatening illness (not really but let's go with it) I thought I should commemorate and celebrate our relationship in some way. A keepsake just for me. And so, here is my altered Altoid tin of 221B Baker Street.

The numbers aren't perfect but that's ok. I didn't want to use printouts, just things I had on hand, so I bent some wire to create the tiny address. The two tiny round bits used for the locks are the heads off of jewelry posts.

The 'glass'  above the door is from a transparency that arrived in my last Alpha Stamps design team kit. The mail slot is a tiny snippet of gold dresden. The wallpaper? That's from Graphic 45's 12 Days of Christmas 6x6 Patterns & Solids Pad.

And the inside...

There's a lot going on in that little space. Some of the things that I've included are... a violin (very hard to see but you can just make out the bow to the right of the fireplace next to the stack of books), a stack of correspondence jabbed onto the mantle, a skull, famed specimen, a blue slipper for hiding ciggies (to the left of the fireplace), books galore, file folders, strewn papers, a framed portrait (in this case the face from a stamp).

The chairs (which are made from paperclay) have to be removed to close the tin. I'm sure with enough fiddling that I could make something that shut tight with everything in place, but since I made this just for me, well, I think this fine.

For a better idea of the scale, here's a penny for reference.

P.S. I would just like to add here that I am not entirely mental... just slightly. 


ETA: THANK YOU for all your kind words :) I'm overwhelmed by the reaction to my little tin. For more information about the possible availability/unavailablitiy of other 221B tins please see THIS POST

ONE MORE EDIT: A post of the 'new and improved' 221B tins can be found HERE