Friday, January 15, 2021

Dragonflies Are Cool

I've always loved watching dragonflies buzz around, flitting about and darting here and there. The first time I saw one I was in middle school and outside looking for bugs for a science project with my buddy, Rodney (who is still my good buddy). We were outside his neighborhood where presumably there was some water and bang! there it was right in front of me. I still enjoy seeing them and right after my mom passed away, a pair of them visited my front yard and window every day for a week. That seemed like a good sign, if you're the kind of person that looks for signs.

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite dragonfly dies, from Hero Arts. 

On this card, I used Hero Arts liquid watercolors on a panel of textured watercolor paper for the background. For the dragonfly wings, I used alcohol inks dripped onto glossy paper. The word dies are from Pinkfresh.


Here's a close-up of the alcohol ink wings.



For this background, I used the same textured watercolor paper, Distress Inks in blues and greens and the black. I added drips in acrylic paint and some Nuvo Drops too. I feel like a sentiment might be too busy, but if I used a large black die cut sentiment, it might be ok. I just don't know when to stop sometimes. I err on stopping too early usually.


The dragonfly is cut from double-sided adhesive with green and gold glitter applied and the attached wings are vellum.


I love that depending on the paper you use, the dragonfly die can give you a ton of different looks. If you search my blog for dragonfly, I'm sure different varieties will show up.

It's definitely not dragonfly weather here in southern Ohio right now, as it is currently snowing, but I love spring, so I'll just look forward to that.

Happy Friday!
Chark





Friday, January 8, 2021

Paint the Town Red...or Pink

I got the chance to try out the brand-new Artistro Acrylic Paint 24 set and I thought I'd let you know how it went. I have to start by saying I use acrylics only occasionally, in my art journal. And I took some Life Book classes and learned to use them a little more there. I am in no way an expert but I love all the art media, so I gave these a try.


The colors in this set are vibrant and rich, with a range of colors including gold and silver and large tubes of both black and white. The set also comes with three brushes and a palette. The paint has a nice smooth body, not too thin. I used water to thin some out and the color stayed bright, though it became more transparent. 

I drew some simple flowers with a sharpie on 80 lb. paper and used just a pink, yellow, blue-green and white to paint both doodles.





You can see that the paint does cover the black lines some and if I'd wanted to, I could've gone back in with the sharpie to darken them back up, but I was okay with how it turned out.



In this doodle, I watered down the orange I made, the pink and the green. The lines show up better when the paint is thinned out like this. But the paint still has enough body to show the paint strokes. I think if I had been working on gesso, the brush strokes wouldn't have been as pronounced.




The price point for these 24 paints, the three brushes and the palette run $32.99 on Amazon. It's a good price for the amount of paint, the vibrancy of color and the quality of the brushes (no stray bristles in my work). I'd purchase these for myself or a crafter. I love that you get larger tubes of white and black as well. I know I'll be using these paints more in the future. 

Hope you have time to play around with a new medium this weekend!

Happy Friday,
Chark





Friday, December 25, 2020

God Bless Us, Every One

I think this quote from Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol is perhaps fitting more than ever as we near the end of 2020, a most disturbing and frankly, frightening time. Natural disasters, Covid19, racial strife, a president who is doing his best to ruin this country and a couple of personal trying times have all meant we have been stressed and stretched to our limits. It has Been A Year.

But at Christmas, it's important to try to catch a little magic and share it. So, if you need a reminder that good things have actually happened this year and to see things that make me smile, you can click on these links.

Good News from Mashable

Good News from USA Today (you'll need to disable your ad blocker for this one)

My Favorite Seth Meyers segment of all time



Gilda Radner as Judy Miller


This adorable child explaining himself to Linda, honey.


This Huff Post article is a collection of parent tweets...and they are awesome.

Here are some parent texts from Bored Panda and at least some of these should have you lol-ing irl.

Remember the good things and celebrate the little things around you right now and know that I wish you a very Happy Holiday and Happy New Year. And may God bless us, every one, across the world.

Happy Friday!
Chark





Friday, December 18, 2020

Please, Sir, May I Have Some More Chocolate?

I had just purchased four large Hershey bars to give at Christmas to my nieces and nephews and on the same day, my Scrapbook.com package arrived with the Simple Stories 6x8 paper pad from the Simple Vintage North Pole collection. Since I wanted to play with the paper, I wrapped up the candy bars and in a few minutes, had some festive small gifts to go with gift cards.


These are the large bars that cost about $2.50 each. They are the ones you really shouldn't eat at one sitting or you'll be sick the rest of the night. All you have to do is pick a 12" background paper, cut to fit, wrap and glue. Then add your focal point and any bits you want, like flower stickers or washi like I did. Super fast and easy, especially if your supplies are handy. I keep all my Christmas papers, stickers, ephemera and other things together.


I think my favorite is this one, with the classic-looking Santa. 


And speaking of chocolate, I won a chocolate bar on Instagram from Johnny's Treasure Quest. Now, I didn't know at the time, but these aren't ordinary chocolate bars. The man who owns the candy bar company has made a Treasure Hunt in his home state of Michigan. Hidden inside some of the bars are silver tickets for a chance to go treasure hunting in parts of the state. This is from his website.

I have buried not only my entire jewelry store but thousands upon thousands of dollars of gold, silver, diamonds & antiques in various locations in Michigan from the bottom to the upper peninsula. Everything I have buried has a history and many memories attached to them that I have let go and placed in the ground for you to discover❤️

I received my free candy bar today and opened it immediately to see if I'd won. If you've ever seen Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (either version) or read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you can understand I was excited to take part in this treasure quest and crack open my chocolate bar. Alas, there was no silver ticket in my bar. However, as I'm an old fuddy-duddy, it was okay with me that my chocolate bar was just a delicious piece of candy. 😃


At any rate, if you want to take part in this fun quest, you can head here to their website to see what all the fuss is about. I'll just sit here and eat my chocolate.

Happy Friday!
Chark




 








Friday, December 4, 2020

Happy National Cookie Day

Possibly one of the best things in the world is the scent of baking cookies in my humble opinion...especially when you know you'll get to eat a warm cookie very soon! So, I'm happy to celebrate National Cookie Day today.


There are a ton of stamps and digital stamps that feature cookies, including some super adorable gingerbread cookies from Lawn Fawn. I have their set of Gingerbread Friends dies and can't wait to make some for tags this year. Megan Quinn made this card with the dies for Lawn Fawn here.


They have this mini set too and I loooovvee anything small so these make me smile.


This die set from Mama Elephant is for Sugar Cookies with the icing but they also have a gingerbread cookie and milk set of stamps and dies.


If you're a digital stamp-and-color person, you can buy this set for $4 over at Little Fox Digital on Etsy here.


And if you cookie alphabet letters, you can get those here from Sandy Ford on Etsy!


Here's a couple little Pizza Cookies I made to add to mini pizza boxes from Stampin' Up that I decorated for Christmas for my nieces and nephews, just to make their gift cards a little more exciting a couple of years ago.



These are just sugar cookies with red icing, green mini M&Ms, brown regular M&Ms and shaved white chocolate for cheese. I added green Mike 'n Ike's sliced to resemble green peppers. 

I'd be remiss on Cookie Day if I didn't leave you with a tasty cookie recipe...so here you go...Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Food Network.



I'll be curling up with a cup of tea and a cookie tonight to celebrate. How about you?

Happy Friday!
Chark


Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday Sales

So, I was never big on shopping irl on Black Friday, because the bargains didn't outweigh the hassle of parking and crowds...however, online Black Friday is awesome! Especially since the crafty world has jumped onboard. A few years ago, you could only find one or two places that you liked that had sales on Black Friday and now, it's pretty much everywhere!




And if you don't know the origin of the day, here you go—from this post on National Today. 

But, the story that’s most well-known about Black Friday is that retailers marked the day when  filled coffers from holiday shoppers helped businesses go from being “in the red” to “in the black.” Although popular, this story is also not quite accurate. So, what is the actual story of Black Friday? We have to go to Philadelphia for that.
Philadelphia cops complained about “Black Friday” when they were stuck working off days and overtime the day after Thanksgiving. Packed downtown streets with hordes of shoppers, tourists, and fans in town for the next day’s Army-Navy game, meant that  Black Friday was a haven for shoplifters as well as a crowd-controlling nightmare for the police.
Unfortunately, the idea that Black Friday was also a retailers’ headache did not entice Philly’s shoppers. By 1961, Philadelphia retailers decided “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” turning a negative into a positive by way of reinvention. In the 1980s, “Black Friday” became synonymous as a day for big deals in national retail. Today, Black Friday invites you to shop ‘til you drop for the best bargains of the year.

I admit I started shopping on Thanksgiving Day and did a little more today. I headed to Jennifer McGuire's post on crafty sales, but then just headed to Whimsy Stamps and Scrapbook.com and SugarPea Designs. That's where I've been eyeing some stamps and goodies. Most of what I bought will end up being wrapped by the hubby for my Christmas gifts. I'd rather get the things I want than be surprised...because sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don't! We ordered a drill that he wanted, so it's all good.

If you're looking for a fast snack to take along on your Black Friday shopping, or to fuel you when your fingers get tired at the computer, here's a fab Peanut Butter Cookie Cups cookie recipe from Taste of Home that uses up some of your leftover Halloween candy...if you still have any!



And here's a little $40 freebie info—if you do any shopping online with Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's or TONS of other places, Rakuten can save you money with special coupons. Also, you earn cash back (in a check) every few months. My last one was $14 and I didn't do anything special for it, just signed up and go to Rakuten's site to go shopping. 

If you want $40 free right now, you can sign up using my link and then go shopping for $40 or more through their website. It means free Christmas presents! Or just cash in your (and my) pocket. It's the least annoying way to get rewards imo. I do Honey and Fetch but this one gives you money vs gift cards and doesn't bug you with emails or pop-ups. 

Happy Friday!
Chark