Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness Abounding!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! It's getting harder and harder to get bloggin'...time just goes by. I can't believe it will be 3 months next week since I started with A.C. Moore! I'm absolutely loving it. I'm also through the first step of getting closer to selling my house. I've got the 50+ years of my grandparent's and my stuff emptied out! If you ever need to have stuff moved out...I would highly recommend the company I used-Hitmen Cleanouts! Ginger and her son were unbelievable. It now looks like the aftermath of the Grinch after he cleaned out the houses! At least in the garage, basement, attic, patio, back bedroom and living room! It's quite amazing...now onto some repairs and listing the house.
I just wanted to wish everyone the best Holiday Season. It has been quite the year and "thankful" is truly my word of the year. I'm thankful for my friends, my family, everyone who has been supportive of me...it means so much! I'm most thankful for Brian who's put up with all of this craziness over the past six months! Inky and Beady have been awesome. I lurve you all!
Happy Turkey Day...and come on over to A.C. Moore tomorrow...I'll be helping out bright and early at the Shrewsbury store!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Knit and Crochet for a Cause! And Margot's "in the House" (okay, in NJ!)

Hello, Bloggers! No more excuses, the bottom line is that time is not my friend anymore. I'm just too busy. I am working from home today due to a flat tire at 7am (thank goodness I was not far from home and that I'm a member of AAA!). I'm busy typing away and getting the word out on some great appearances by artists and a wonderful contest.

NaturallyCaron.com is sponsoring a contest with A.C. Moore-just click on the icon next to me and you'll see what it's all about! Knit or Crochet a baby blanket with Naturally Caron Spa or Country Yarn and send a picture of it to Caron with the usual, obligatory information, and you get a chance to win an A.C. Moore Gift Card. Two Grand Prize Winners, one for Knit, the other Crochet, will win a card valued at $300, two First Runners up, $100 and 12 Runner's up, $25. The "cuddly" part of the contest is that for every entry submitted, Caron will donate $1 to Project Linus. Volunteer "blanketeers" make blankets that go all over the place to hospitals, shelters, etc. to give traumatized, ill children a "hug" by way of a blanket.

I honestly had never heard of this organization until it was discussed with Caron. It turns out my mom is a blanketeer! Now that my mom's retired, she's been crocheting and knitting up a storm when she goes to the beach and at home. She said they were being donated. I didn't know to whom until I mentioned Project Linus and she confirmed-"that's where they are going!"

I've actually purchased some of the yarn and when I was visiting the Holbrook, NY store, that I took a class from Theresa, who showed me the right way to do a fun shell stitch...and every night before I go to bed I get a few rows done. My goal is to get it done and donated with my mom's blankets to Project Linus!

So for anyone who was interested in knitting or crochet or don't think they can do it, believe me, if I can do it, so can you! Take a shot and get some yarn and who knows? You may win and be able to get MORE stuff!

I also wanted to let you know that my bestest of crafty friends,
Margot Potter, will be at the Middletown, NJ A.C. Moore store tomorrow, Noon to 2! Stop by, buy one (or all-what the heck!) of Margot's books and let her show you how to do some basic jewelry making. While I may say that I know how to make jewelry, I must confess that last year when I met up with Margot at another book signing, I learned some very good info on how to PROPERLY open and close a jump ring...I actually said out loud, "I didn't know that!", embarrassing myself as usual. So stop by and see what she's up to. Also check out her new blog...click on her name, or check it out on the top of my fave blog list...she is truly the Impatient Crafter, but I must say she just says out loud what all of us are thinking to ourselves, right!?

Okay, everybody...get knitting, crocheting and visiting (Margot!-hey, I'll be there, too!).
Crafty Hugs,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What a Roller Coaster!

Hello, all of you in Blogger Land! Can you believe it's been three weeks already that I've been at ACMoore? (Roller Coaster Credit) Little by little, I'm finding some normalcy in my schedule. A lot different than being 7 miles from my job...! Up at 6am, on the road by 7am, at the office by 8:30am, then in a snap, it's between 5pm and 7pm when I leave, getting home between 6:30pm and 9pm. The first weekend, I think I just slept...by this weekend, I'm finally getting some things accomplished, but still not enough.

It made me think of a roller coaster, with the ups and downs, but not in a bad way. Just when you feel that drop, you know there's going to be another "up" again!

On the Down Side: Driving 1-1/2 hours until I get my house sold and move.
On the Up Side: I'm so catching up with people on the cell phone! Thank goodness for Rollover minutes and Bluetooth!

On the Down Side: So much to learn!
On the Up Side: So much to learn! (See, it evens out!)

On the Down Side: I'm still catching up on my sleep!
On the Up Side: But, boy, do I sleep!

On the Down Side: I still have so much stuff to get rid of!
On the Up Side: That may mean one more last "Stamp and other Stuff" Sale!?

On the Down Side: Wait....there is NO Down Side! I'm so enjoying the challenge of "what can be". I'm lucky to have some wonderful people to work with that are as excited as I am to make ACMoore the best it can be with education. I'm getting to work with so many people in the Crafts Industry more closely that I've only been able to peripherally deal with in the past, which is such a rush! I'm also learning about more than just papercrafts and jewelry...kids' crafts, floral, needlecrafts-sometimes I think my head is going to explode!

If you get a chance, check out ACMoore's Forum-it's only in its infancy, but you may be surprised at what you can learn. I'm also working with the Forum Guru in getting more information on there by way of tips and trips from various manufacturers and I've even designed some projects on there...check 'em out! They're all in the usual format that you've seen when I create project instructions. And they're all not papercrafts!

For those that are near ACMoore next Saturday is a Crochet Demo for the October- Breast Cancer Awareness Month! I'm sure everyone has dealt with or been touched by someone they love that has had breast cancer. Take care of yourselves and get checked! Lion Brand(r) Yarns was kind enough to donate fun "Crochet for a Cause" scarf kits Two people per store will get the chance to win one and there will be someone there to help you get started. If you've ever wanted to try to crochet, this is a great way to learn. I actually made the scarf; if I can do it, so can anyone!

I can actually say I know two different stitches now, which is quite the feat!

Finally, I also wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all those that have posted the lovely comments, emailed and even "snail mailed" me! It makes me even more energized to push harder and make things happen!

As my new employer says: Dream it. Create it. Share it. That's what I want to do!

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Next Chapter...This is really becoming quite the treatise!

Hello, Everyone! Here's the scoop. As you know, it's been quite the summer. Many changes, new adventures. I've been so thrilled this spring and summer to have been given the opportunity to work with companies such as Clearsnap, Amate Studios, Hampton Art, Teresa Collins Designs as well as Streuter. It was fun to teach and demo CHA Summer in July. Next chapter...

I've been offered a wonderful position
with A.C. Moore as their new Director of Education. Day One is now under my belt with Day Two starting with my new schedule of waking up at 6:00 a.m., driving 1-1/2 hours to Berlin, NJ with the reverse trip at the end of the day. This'll be going on until I get my house emptied out and sold. If anyone wants to check out my stamp stash, let me know. I've already shared it with the local stamp club and I'd be willing to offer up my garage for picking at reasonable prices again!

You have to realize that this was my grandparents' house; they purchased and moved into this house in or around 1951, so, in addition to all of my "stuff", there's 50+ years of more "stuff" still in this house...yikes!

Next chapter...this blog will be evolving as my life is...I will be making this more "A.C. Moore-centric" as that's what my focus is going to be. I will not be teaching anymore---too much to do (!!!) but will be looking for teachers in all areas of crafts to consider teaching at one of the 130+ stores up and down the Eastern Seaboard. I truly believe that if new crafters are invited to try out new crafts with a good curriculum and great teachers, they will want to learn more, which will also lead them to the independents. Each will help support the other, all keeping us busy!
I can't thank everyone that has been by my side through the last few months. You know who you are and where you stand in my book! Big Hugs to you!

I welcome you to follow me on the next leg of my excursion!

Inky Hugs,

Friday, August 29, 2008

"When Creativity Knocks" and the Bandanna Technique!

Hello, Everyone! Sorry I've been remiss in posting. A lot is going on in my life that I will be able to talk about shortly. I've been busy, busy, busy!

At the Winter CHA Show, when I was still with Ranger, I taped a segment of "When Creativity Knocks", an online craft show hosted by my dear friend, Ana Araujo and her daughter, Megan. Check out the link! There's a bunch of techniques, including using the Ink Blending Tool and Adirondack(r) Pigment Inks and Inkssentials(tm) White Opaque Pen to create Bandanna Memory Glass(tm) Jewelry.

Make sure to sign up on the site and check out the other tapings. When you sign up, they'll update you when there's another, new video up. I really think that Ana and Megan have such a great idea for their show, so be sure to show your support!

I honestly cannot believe that it is the Labor Day Weekend? Where did the summer go? I'm really looking forward to my next "chapter" and I promise I'll update you soon!

Bandanna Hugs,


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stepping up with a "Faux Enamel" Step Out!

Hello, Everyone! I've been busy working on samples, reading and some organizing. Little by little! I cannot believe that it is August. Where does the time go? There have been some people that have asked me about working with the Streuter Gluefoil(tm). I figured it was time to do a step out...a how to! These are so darn addictive to create.

The Basic Supplies
Gluefoil™, Copper,
Streuter Technologies
Grungeboard™ Plain and Mixed Minis, Tim Holtz™ Ideaology
Craft Iron (B68SP), Clover
Precision File Set (MET-643), Basic Grey™
Cuttlebug™ and Dies, 2 x 2 Hearts (37-1213), Provo Craft
Dual Tip Stylus Detail Tip (56067097), Fiskars
Adirondack® Acrylic Paint Dabber, Ranger
Glue Stick
High Gloss Acrylic Varnish,
Niji Waterbrush, Yasutomo

First start out by creating a template for the Amate Studios Pendant Tray. I've been making them with Grungeboard(tm)-they are easier to save, sand and create the most accurate template for additional designs. Mark the top of the template. For the design, I used the smallest of the hearts dies and ran it through the Cuttlebug(tm). It's important to note that Grungeboard is not the "ideal" material to run through the Cuttlebug. It can be done, with smaller pieces, but if trying to run Grungeboard through an Embossing Folder that is the size of the Embossing Folder, you are taking a chance. Just warning you! I also love to use the Grungeboard Mixed Minis that are already the perfect size for these pendants. You'll see that I used the smallest crown and after snipping off an area of the heart, so that the crown will sit flush against the heart. Glue the pieces onto the base with a glue stick.

Cut a piece of Gluefoil just a smidge bigger than the base, the dull side (which is the glue side) facing against the design. The next step is also important-when working with Gluefoil, it's important to use a craft iron-whether it's the Clover Craft Iron or Mini Iron, not a Heat Tool. The iron plate will heat the glue and also help to adhere the foil down evenly. Initially press the iron down (don't move it back and forth) and allow it to heat. Remove the iron and press down onto the heated area with a towel (don't use your hand on the heated metal!). When cool enough to touch, move your finger around to press down the foil so you see the basic outline. Use the large side of a Detail Stylus to outline the design, followed by the smaller end of the stylus. It's better to do this as noted to avoid poking a hole (believe me, if you think you can start with the smaller end of the detail stylus, I warned you!).Go back to using the iron to adhere the "background" portion of the foil down; with the design having been outlined with the stylus, it's easier to get into the nooks and crannies of the design with the pointed end of iron. Follow by adding design to the background of the design as well as with the design itself. This is the fun of using the Grungeboard and foil together, because they both have "give" so that the designs can be further embellished. Dots, squiggles, cross-hatchings...use your imagination! You may think that these are a lot of instructions, but if you know me, I like to give you as much info as I can so that you really understand all the "fine tuning" that will result in your having success in your creations. Also remember that you are working with small pieces, so it goes quite fast! Now the persnickety part. Use a medium and fine grit file (I've been having fun with the Basic Grey file set) on the edges of the design, ironing around the edges again as needed. The key is to make sure the edges are completely adhered down. Filing helps that happen.

Now's the fun part. If you want to just create an "antiqued" look, coat the entire surface with Pitch Black Paint Dabber. Allow to dry for a few minutes, then wipe off with a damp towel, just leaving enough paint in the grooves, etc. that you've created. If using the copper Gluefoil, cover with Pool Paint Dabber; when rubbed off it will create a patina-like effect. What I did for this sample was paint in using a Waterbrush. Just paint it in and allow to dry.

I then very lightly sanded with a fine grit sandpaper, then painted the heart back in so that did not have the entire design looking "distressed."I found that the Liquitex Acrylic varnish works easily and well. I've only used the High Gloss at the moment, but will get around to trying the matte. I like to paint on two layers, making sure it is dry between layers. Glue it in with either a heavy duty glue or Gluefilm(tm), which works extremely well into the metal pendant tray.

When finished, have fun by placing it on a beaded necklace or a simple chain. I call these "faux enamel", and it's fun to make admirers of your jewelry wonder "how did you do that!?"

This technique is similar to what is done with the bangles and some Bind-it-all Covers that I created with Teresa Collins Designs. The key is patience and enjoy where the creativity takes you!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action! CHA Summer has come and gone!

Happy Thursday, Everyone! Wow, I'll say it now and I'll say it again, these trade shows are like weddings. You prepare, worry, plan and with the snap of a finger, it's over. It was a pivotal show for me. The first in 8-9 Winter Shows and about 4 Summer Shows that I was not with Ranger...I was me! Thank you to everyone who came by to see me at Streuter or Amate, and to those who hunted me down. It meant a lot to me.

Karma also played well into this show. Getting to work with the Streuter Gluefilm(tm) and Gluefoil(tm) with the Amate Pendant Trays, as well as the DIY Bangles resulted in my being able to show new and fun ways to create jewelry that will equate into many new classes for store owners and educators to teach, and to me, that's what it is all about! It was also funny-I had been hooked up with the Bind-it-all(tm) and Teresa Collins' new paper lines and if I was able to make any samples with them, it would be great. I was so short with time, but was determined to make something. I ended up making covers for a book with the Copper Gluefoil along the lines of the "embossed" bangles that I showed off in my previous post, beating it to death with Tim's Texture Hammer and aging it with Pitch Black Adirondack(r) Paint. It turned out great...of course I took a quick, horrendous pic of it. I'm going to try and get a better one. Well, everyone over at Teresa and Product Performers' booth loved the book and we ended up fielding tons of questions at Streuter of "how'd you do that?"

I am in the process of working on another cover and will also do one with a complete step-out. There were also a bunch of embossed Grunge "charms" that hung off the binding of the book. The inside of the book was my first "solo" attempt at using the Bind-it-all, and I can tell you I could have done a lot better. Subsequent tries were perfect.

As you can also see by the photos, I was chosen by my dear friend, Ana Araujo as one of "Ana's Picks" for When Creativity Knocks, co-hosted by her daughter, Megan, with camera work and editing by Scott Pfeiffer. I've known Ana for over a dozen years and she is clever, crafty and with Megan, they are a crafty powerhouse to watch! They did a quick taping at the Streuter Booth on Friday. I look like a goof in many of the pics because I was supposed to be acting "naturally" and just to "do my thing", which was to work on one of the projects I was demoing. You can see that I used a vintage, wooden dress hem marker to display the finished bangles, as well as Rebecca's vintage bird cage for bandannaed Maya Road chipboard glued with Streuter's Gluefilm and finally, some white bird-themed jewelry display stands from Urban Outfitters, which worked out wonderfully for the show!

I'm not sure when this video is going to air on their site, but in the meantime, check out Megan's insightful interview regarding the Orphan Works legislation with Brenda Pinnick and Joanne Fink.
I ended up busier than ever at this show, so took no pictures (shame on me!). I'm going to have to rely on my friends that did take some pics to share (pretty please?!).
This weekend I'm teaching Melt Art(r) with Amate Pendants at Scrapper's Cove in Milltown, NJ. There's still openings, so contact them to see if you can make it to the 3-hour class from 10am-1pm. You'll learn some great techniques on creating professional looking pendants, as well as some basic jewelry making tips, creating necklaces that will be ready to wear by the end of the class!
Enjoy your weekend!


Monday, July 14, 2008

A Gaggle of Bangles!

More techniques! I'm so glad you liked what I've shown so far. I've made bunches more, but also have been working with bangles from DIY Bangles. Thanks so much to Lovely Linda Crofton for initially hooking me up with some bangles. I've been having a blast.
Using the Streuter Glue Foil, I've made some wonderful takes on the metal embossing, using Tim's Grungeboard(tm). I've either glued on some of the Grungeboard mini letters or shapes or die cut plain Grungeboard through the Cuttlebug, then glue them on, using Glue Stick (if I use the Glue Film, it will reheat and come off of the bangle that I'm trying to get the foil onto!

I use a Craft Iron to heat the Glue Foil onto the bangle, then use my finger to make the basic shape visible to then outline with a burnisher. Then make lines or squiggles on the flattened areas and iron it down, which will heat the rest of the glue and attach it to the wooden bangle. I've found that the key to the edges of the foil not coming up is to sand the edges down. It seems to thin the metal and level out to the side of the bangles.
Then paint! You can either create a distressed effect by coating the entire metal area with paint, wait a little bit and wipe off the excess with a damp towel. Some of the paint will stay in the deeper grooves...I was so psyched how it looked when finished. Some I just painted and sanded a bit. The skinny bangle was made along the lines of the Cuttlebug embossed pendants that were shown in my previous blog post.

I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg of what else can be made with this Glue Foil...for those that will be at the show, I'll demoing at Streuter, Booth 933 Friday 10-12 and 3-4, Saturday 10-11 and 1-3 and Sunday 10-12; If you can't get to Streuter, check me out at Amate Studios, Booth 3051 on Friday 1-3 and Saturday 3-5. Otherwise, I hope to see you somewhere in between! I have had such a blast working with my buddy Inky (Miss Rebecca Peck); thank goodness for unlimited long distance!

Well, it's 3 days to go until Chicago...I'll report on how things go upon my return!

Inky Hugs, Robin

Saturday, July 5, 2008

CHA Technique Sneak Peek!

Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone! I know, I've really really bad with my bloggin' habits. I've actually been busy! No excuse, though. I've got a bunch of things that I'm going to be posting soon. I want to thank everyone again for the wonderfully upbeat and supportive emails. I know that something's out there...!

I'm getting ready with samples for
CHA. In addition to demonstrating for Streuter, I'm also scheduled to do some demos at Amate Studios with their pendants that I love soooo much! I've also been playing with DIY Bangles and making up some great looks using the Streuter Glue Foil and Glue Film. What's Glue Foil? Well, as Streuter describes, it's a "Glue Film Laminated Metal Foil"...what I think it is...COOL! Using dies, Grungeboard(tm), the Cuttlebug(tm) and Embossing Folders and Dies and the Glue Foil, I'm doing my take on Tim's Brayered Embossing and then some with the use of the Clover Craft Iron. Glue Film is just that, a sheet of glue that is malleable and easy to work with; you can glue an entire piece of paper down onto chipboard or another surface and not worry about corners peeling up, etc. I'm really having fun with this product.

I'm going to share a few tidbits of some of the pendants I'm working on. My goal is to do a small video or step by step down the line so you can make these awesome (at least I think so) jewelry, as well as other projects, such as custom journal or notebook covers with the Bind-it-all(tm), which is my other new, favorite toy! The first sample is in an Amate Pendant. The silver Glue Foil was heated to attach to the Grungeboard, which is a great thickness for the pendants; sometimes I use a second layer to make it flush with the pendant. I then ran it through the Cuttlebug with the Stylized Flowers folder, followed by painting it in with a Waterbrush and Tim's Adirondack(r) Alcohol Inks. Heat the pendant with a Heat Tool and place a piece of Glue Film into it; it will immediately liquefy, ready for the finished design to be glued in...and it's not going to come out!

This next sample is Rebecca's favorite, so I made this pendant for her (as an aside, Congrats to Inky for being one of the new lead Fiskateers...check it out!). So, I heated some silver Glue Foil onto Grungeboard and ran it through the Tiny Bubbles Cuttlebug Embossing Folder. I colored it with the Alcohol Inks, but then it was calling out to be made more "bubbly", so I added random dots of Glossy Accents(tm) to the embossed bubbles...one thing I found is not to add the Glossy Accents too close to one another...they seem to want to run to each other! You can't really tell until I show you a different view...like this one!
I then finished all of these pieces off with something new that I've not tried before...Liquitex High Gloss Varnish. I'm not sure how or why it works, all I know is that it has not taken any of the alcohol inks or paints off of any of the pieces I've made and it just gives it a "high end" look when done.

Here's one last sneak peek...how lucky was I that the large flower center of the Build-a-Flower Combo Die/Embossing set would fit perfectly in the circle pendant from Amate? Talk about karma! You can tell I added my own little lines and dots to the image to give it a little more depth.

Well, off to finish up some more pieces. I'm also finishing up my last few samples for the class I'm also teaching at CHA...see, I'm staying out of trouble! Clearsnap asked me to design and teach their class and I've been having fun doing that!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable rest of the weekend. In less than 2 weeks I hope to see many of you in Chi-town!

Embossed and Inky Hugs, Robin

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rivolis, not Raviolis

Hello, Everyone! I just want to thank you ALL for the wonderful comments and emails that you've posted or sent me. I truly appreciate it and it has really given me such support and solace in what has been a crazy few weeks.
I have been actually very busy! I've still got a lot to sort through with all of my "stuff" and believe me, it's a lot! I may be having one of my famous, or "infamous" stamp sales at my house down the line. You won't believe how many stamps I have. I didn't realize how many I'd brought to the office over the past 8 years. But it will be a good deal for anyone who wants to make a trip to see me in NJ! But that will be later this summer.

In the meantime I have been doing a lot more beading and I wanted to share some of what I've been doing. I had shown in an earlier posting some of the necklaces I had made with a Swarovski Rivoli. Many have been beading with these lately and I just love the look and sparkle of them. Using Laura McCabe's book as an initial reference, I've been having a blast and have been getting back to my bead crochet necklaces as well. I used some awesome Designer Bead Mixes from the Beadwrangler.

The color of the first photo's Rivoli is called Volcano, which has reds, purples...it's absolutely amazing when you see all of the color and sparkle that is one crystal! The small 3mm Bicone Swarovski Crystals are Fuchsia in color and have been incorporated into the spral necklace, using both matte black, silver and some other colors what work together. I just sit down with my beads, separated by color and just keep pulling and comparing to see what looks good. I definitely use my Ott-Lite to see what I'm doing! I don't know what I'd do without it.
The next necklace is with one of the Beadwrangler Mixes...a color that I don't usually go to, but loved....Coral Sea. I created a crochet necklace and then used the colors for the bezel and Padparadscha (I can't say the name, but I sure like the color!) Swarovski Crystals. The Rivoli is Crystal AB (Aurora Borealis), one of my favorites, because it goes with everything!
For this focal Rivoli I used another Beadwranger Mix, Sea Foam and Jet Black AB2X Crystals. It doesn't look Jet Black, but with the magic of the various coatings they put on the crystals, it's perfect with these colors. This particular bead mix has some really fun small beads with green stripes on them, which make the mix all the more fun. I've got the finished necklace now, but didn't get a chance to take a picture of it.
I've had so much fun making these and have a few more finished but have just not had the chance to take the pictures...I'm actually busy, busy, busy working on samples for CHA Summer.
I'll continue to keep everyone posted as to what I'm up to. I've got so many idead in my brain, and not enough time.
Wishing everyone a great week!