25 December 2014

30 Words :: Ninjabread and Ugly Sweaters

The masked bandit 
Ninjabread men
karate chop,
high kick and
their way into
the ugly sweater contest
at the office party
to wish you a

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.

Get the InLinkz code for your blog!
You will need to sign up for a FREE account at InLinkz in order to grab the code to place on your blog. This is a new protection against spam usage of the InLinkz code. It will only take a minute the first time and then you can add it whenever we have the hop. 

24 December 2014

ImpressArt Tutorial :: Christmas Tree Ornament

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"
~ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

To celebrate Christmas each year I like to make some ornaments to give as special gifts. This year in the Hintz family we will be fully celebrating with Max, the son of our niece Megan and her new husband Larry. Max was born in 2013 right after Thanksgiving, so this isn't technically his 1st Christmas, but this year Max will be fully engaged the way only a toddler of 1 can be. 
It is bound to be a lot of fun!


It is no secret that I have been doing freelance work for ImpressArt for about a year now. I have received some products and tools from ImpressArt to play with, including a hammer and bench block, letter and number stamps, design stamps and blanks. Every other month, I make something. For December I thought an ornament would be a good project, and a fitting way to welcome Max to the family!

Among the blanks I received were a guitar pick in two sizes and a brass star. Stacked together they looked like a tree to me. Now to decorate them! Follow along as I show you how to make a Christmas Tree ornament that you can whip up before you pour that first glass of eggnog!

You will need:
Two guitar blanks, small and large
One star blank
ImpressArt Lollipop font upper case
ImpressArt Lollipop font numbers
ImpressArt Stamp Straight tape
ImpressArt brass stamping hammer
ImpressArt steel stamping block
ImpressArt 2-hole punches, small
Paint (acrylic or metal patina) or permanent markers
 1 10mm jump ring
Optional: Rivets, Rivet tool

To make a personalized Christmas Tree Ornament, follow these 12 steps:

 1 :: Lay it out: Plan out the look you want, in this case, a tree shape with three stamping blanks.

2 :: Choose your font: I am particularly smitten with this new font from ImpressArt called Lollipop. It is a cool handwritten font that is very tall and lean. I am hoping that someday they will have a lower case version of this. I am very impressed with the new cases that ImpressArt has to hold the stamps. I will be honest...the last ones were... awful. I hated the way the letter stamps bumped around in the box against each other, which made it hard to get the stamps back in the same place when you took one out. Not so with this one. Each stamp has it's own little parking space. And the other thing I love? Each stamp has the image of the letter or design on one side. This ensures that you will use the O and not the Q (unless you really aren't paying attention...ask me how I know!). Bonus! There are extra design stamps included in each letter set to round them out. What a nice surprise!

3 :: Tape it down: ImpressArt sells a white 'Stamp Straight' tape to help you keep the blank from moving when stamping. If you don't have this, painter's tape works well in a pinch. But this tape is a little elastic so you can stretch it taut over the blank, which I like.

4 :: Line it up: Drag your letter stamp to the edge of the tape. When the letter hits the edge, that is where you stamp. You can mark on the tape where you want to line them up to get them to be evenly spaced if you like. I am more of an 'organic stamper' (read: I embrace imperfEction!)
Tip: once you have the stamp where you want it, tilt the stamp back and you can use the reflection of the metal to see where your letter will be placed. Note: with ImpressArt stamps you will always know which way to stamp by putting your thumb on the engraved words on the side of the stamp.  Another reason why I love them so!

5 :: Deckle the edge: Take the ball pein side of your hammer and gently hammer the edges for that chiseled look. It just looks more finished this way. Optional: Use letter stamps, like a V to convey branches on the tree (see the finished option).

6 :: Plan the Message: Plan out the words you would like to stamp on paper first! Make sure you are spelling things correctly. For longer words, like 'Christmas,' you want to make sure that the word will fit and be centered. Start with the middle letter and stamp out from the center.

7 :: O Hole-y Night: Decide where the pieces will overlap for rivets. Draw hole placement with a permanent marker.

8 :: Punch it: Using your screw punch or a hole-punch pliers, make the holes. Match the size of the hole to the size of the rivet you will use.

9 :: Darken it: Use a metal patina paint in your choice of colors or a permanent marker. Don't worry about the excess.

10 :: Buff it: To scrub off the excess patina or marker, I like these inexpensive sanding blocks from the beauty supply store found in the nail section. You can get them in various grits, but I find I like a medium-coarse one the best.

11 :: Brush it: To get the brushed look, first run the sanding block up and down, then side to side. Switch directions and go diagonal one way and then the other. This will give the metal a distinctive brushed effect.

12 :: Rivet it: I use a tool from Crafted Findings for putting in teeny-tiny rivets, but if you have a better way to rivet, do what works! You can also attach the pieces with jump rings, but then the tree will have a lot more movement. Attached a jump ring at the top and a pretty ribbon for hanging.

The Hintz Family Christmas party will be celebrated this afternoon complete with the gift exchange, the White Elephant and this year's theme - Crazy Hats! (We have a moose, a milk carton, Horton along with his Who-speck, a shark and a roast turkey. I think we are going to win the contest for sure!). Tomorrow will be the Prais side of the family and we will celebrate with good food and wine and cookies and chocolates and gifts and lots of family blessings to go around.
No matter what you celebrate or how, I wish a you many blessings of the season and a....
 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

20 December 2014

4th Annual Holiday Ornament Swap + Hop

Each year I look forward to making ornaments for friends and family. And for the 4th year, I have enjoyed doing this little ornament swap + hop organized by the lovely Miss Sally Russick.

You can see the ornaments I swapped in the past here:

This year I was delighted to be paired with Miss Lesley Watt. She hails from the UK and makes a delicious assorted of ceramic and PMC beads, components and charms. I love them all! I figured that she would send me something created from one of her regular lines. Imagine my surprise when I got this package...

Cuteness! That sweet little card and the package were wrapped up in brown paper on the outside with the cutest washi tap that I have ever seen with these little birdies on it. The birdies say things like...this cardinal wants french fries on his lunch break... the world needs more skateboarding sandpipers...

...and will you look at the little package decoration! One of Miss Lesley's awesome bronze PMC charms. Swoon!

Now I don't know if Miss Lesley knew this or not, but I sort of have a thing for snowflakes. And snowmen. And cardinals. So I was over the moon excited when I pulled this out of the package

Do you see that little cardinal on this little guy's shoulder?
I love it! So freakin' adorable!

Not the best picture of my living room, but here is the tree. See the mantel with the stockings? I made each one of those with a different felt snowman on them. And the snowflakes all over the mantel art? I made that, too!

Hard to capture in still pictures, but the painting that is lit actually twinkles on and off, like snow falling. It is painted pearl cream on white canvas and reads 'Let it snow' in my own handwriting. On the mantel are assorted mercury glass votives, a forest of tiny bottle brush trees that I bleached (check out my ornament swap post from 2012 for the details), little white glitter putz houses, and even an indoor snowball fight waiting to happen! 

 Here is a closeup of the lighted mantel art. Fuzzy because the lights were twinkling!
I got smart this year and added a remote control box on the top of the mantel (there is an outlet there, I think that is what sold me on the house!) so that all I need to do is flick a button. 

Thank you for sharing in the holiday fun with me. Thank you Miss Lesley for the wonderful gift. I will place it on my tree each year and think of you! Thank you Miss Sally for organizing this each year. Please go and see what the other participants received including what I created and sent to Miss Lesley!

18 December 2014

30 Words :: Cozy & Warm...plus a Giveaway!

Looking for my Michaels Beading Challenge post? Click HERE. It's a two-fer day!

Giveaway Closed 12/20!
Beverley Baird
Cindy Martin-Shaw
Michelle Ison

Thanks for your support!

Wrapped in layers
of knubby wooly warmth
I brave 
the weather outside
bundled against the bitter cold
. . . . . .
I am still 
not wearing 

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
Get the InLinkz code for your blog!
You will need to sign up for a FREE account at InLinkz in order to grab the code to place on your blog. This is a new protection against spam usage of the InLinkz code. It will only take a minute the first time and then you can add it whenever we have the hop.

get the InLinkz code

How about a giveaway!?

I just received 50 copies of the 30 Words :: 2014 book.

They make a great Christmas gift, a super fine New Year's bundle of joy, and a way to help a good cause to boot! 

It might be too late to order them to be received for your impending gifting needs (but don't let that stop you from ordering... wouldn't this be a sweet Valentine's gift?!), so I would like to GIVEAWAY 2 COPIES of the book to spread some holiday cheer. This is a quick giveaway, and the winners will be chosen from all comments on this post on Saturday, December 20th at 10:00am CST, just in time to pop them in the mail.

To enter, leave a comment answering the following:

Tell me a random act of kindness you are doing (or did) this December.
I'll start....
I made beaded Ho-Ho-Holiday memory wire bracelets with the ladies at the memory care assisted living facility my mom lives in. That was fun!
Now it is your turn!

Michaels Challenge with Heather and Lorelei

Looking for my FLASH GIVEAWAY? Click HERE!
 QUICK! You only have until 10 am Saturday, December 20th!
The color of springtime is in the flowers;
the color of winter is in the imagination.
~Terri Guillemets

You know I love a good challenge. And like Heather said, this helps me get things done! I need hard and fast deadlines to do anything and I usually work backward from that, prioritizing what has to be done first. So it should not be a shocker that I waited until the very last minute to do this. Literally. The clock struck 12:00 midnight - yes, today -  before I even picked up my first bead. One and a half hours later I ended up with four pairs of earrings and one bracelet. I might not make it to 8pm tonight (not true... I have to make earrings for my We're All Ears challenge due tomorrow! Not too late to join me!), but I am not too pooped to party!

Let me recap. Lorelei and Heather threw down another Michaels Challenge. They selected beads based on a picture that Heather took of her view from her new digs. This perfectly frosty scene is quiet and serene with just the barest hint of color. I love it. Hardly seems real, but I have been there, and it is a magnificent view.

Armed with a print-out of the palette and the beads they selected, I hit my local Michaels around Thanksgiving. Less than 2 miles away, you know I go there all the time. However, when I got there and was faced with all the pretty beads, I deviated from the shopping list. I got the same color palette, and one of the same beads, but I found others that I liked better, so I went with that. And according to the 'rules', substitutions are acceptable! This time, they have put a twist in... to add in some local beads, or other handmade items. I would have done that anyway, so no problem there. But just as overwhelming as it is in the Bead Gallery aisle at Michaels, it is equally a challenge to narrow it down in my studio. I have a bead problem, y'all. ;-)

I went with some different shapes and materials. The only one that I kept the same was the brown ceramic rounds (ironically, these are the only ones I didn't manage to use!). I substituted icy acrylic rondelles, milky green amazonite rounds, quartz crackle AB rounds, and matte faceted coins.

In the interest of time, and because I was told that the Gallery Q needs more, I focused on making earrings. Of course, that means that I have A LOT of beads left. But I feel that there are more things to come with this pretty palette!

Let There Be Peace :: I actually started with this piece. Those big crackle beads were screaming bracelet. And I guess I am cheating a little in that the beads I added are my own creation. But hey! I am a local-not-quite-starving-artist! I made these little Fabulous Facets Word Drops with the intention that I would sell them in my website for Christmas. Words like J-O-Y and L-O-V-E and S-H-I-N-E. But I never got around to listing them. They coordinate perfectly with the Fabulous Facet beads that I made in my video and the Facet Effects beads I sell in sets on my site. Should I add them to my site after the holidays? I think so! Watch for them. Great drops to add to anything in virtually any color you can imagine.

Bundled Up :: Working with Humblebeads is a no brainer for me. They are everywhere in my studio! I have drawers of them, they litter the surface of my workspace and I even have a special teal glass footed dish that serves them up right out in the open like a Humblebeads smorgasbord! I paired some purple-y disk beads with the cool amazonite rounds and some mother-of-pearl buttons that I picked up at the local Joann's (also just 2 miles away!).

Frosty Bling-Bling :: I don't go out on New Year's Eve, but that doesn't mean I don't have fun! We usually stay home and make some special foods, like steak with mushrooms and onions, chocolate covered anything and even some champagne. In years past it has become a tradition to invite over one of my oldest and bestest friends, Lynn and her husband Phil and their boys. Not sure what the plans are this year, but I know what I will be wearing! I started with the crackle rounds and a scarf made from some vintage rhinestone rondelle spacers topped with a frosty white patina-ed rounds from Miss Fickle Media and the added sparkle comes from some vintage rhinestone cup chain I wired tot he bottom. The wire wrapping at the top looks like a top hat to me! It was unintentional, but they look like blingy snowmen!

Winter Skies ::  I actually used something I bought at the Bead & Button Show! Woohoo! These double sided ceramic rounds (the back is a different pattern and just as pretty coming as going!) are from my girl Marsha Neal. They are this beautiful shade of steel blue-grey-teal. Hard to describe. I also used some silver leaves from BBS from The Bead Goes On. Judging from the amount of little charms and dangles I bought from them in June, I obviously had some plans for something bigger. Not sure what, but I will start concocting now! I added some of those acrylic snowy rondelles (they really pick up the light with a shimmer you can't see here) and at the top I wire wrapped the amazonite rounds. Long and dangly, just the way I like them!

Frost This :: I hate to say it... but Valentine's day is just 58 days away! Gah! I don't normally make themed items and these really aren't hearts-y, but for some reason I am thinking romantic night out with these earrings. I used sterling silver filigree pieces along with the matte faceted coin beads, the acrylic snow rondelles, and some Swarovski crystals and a copper plated rhinestone rondelle. My twist beads are two of my own Facet Effect beads (they are just lying around from all the things I have had to do with them lately), and two beautiful lampwork glass beads from Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens from Glass Bead Art. Okay, she is really not local to me - she is from Luxembourg! - but I am supporting handmade nonetheless.

Thank you for the inspiration and the kick-in-the-pants deadline, Miss Lorelei and Miss Heather! Now I will go and grab another cup of coffee and go see what everyone else did.

And if you haven't already go to this other post today for my 30 Words and a FLASH giveaway just in time for Christmas. Tomorrow you can find me on Earrings Everyday for my monthly challenge, and on Saturday come on back to see the annual Ornament Blog Hop. Woop!

Merriest of Christmas to all!

04 December 2014

30 Words :: On Camera

What is worse...
my rumpled hair or looking like a blueberry?
What felt good...
being at ease on camera,
taking risks, and liking it.
What is best...
filming another episode! 

Why doesn't anyone tell you that your hair looked like you slept on it in a wind tunnel?
Or that this color makes you look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka?
More importantly...Why didn't they let me know that the episode 2109 that I was on (this is only half of it) was aired on October 9th?!
Back in July I was flown out to Cleveland, Ohio to the television studio that produces the Beads, Baubles & Jewels show. I had no idea what to expect. I could bring whatever project that I wanted. I remember meeting so many wonderful people, rock stars in the industry, all there to film and promote their products and books and tools. I remember feeling way out of my league. But I also remember the unending kindness of the host, Miss Katie Hacker, and the feeling of inclusion that all these wonderful guests extended to unseasoned little me. 

And I must have done okay... because they have asked me to fly back this coming Monday for another taping. This time it will be beading with friends, and I know that it will be fun!


The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
 (InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing what others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.



Get the InLinkz code for your blog!

You will need to sign up for a FREE account at InLinkz in order to grab the code to place on your blog. This is a new protection against spam usage of the InLinkz code. It will only take a minute the first time and then you can add it whenever we have the hop. 


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