Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Whew! Just made the "tomorrow" deadline. Topiary by ME!

Before I get into the step by step on the topiary, I wanted to give credit where credit is due.  This idea came originaly from this pin.  From this . . . well, more realistic option, I came up with the following funky take on it.

Please note that the cost of this project is VERY low.  The topiary I found at a Christian Thrift Store in town for $1, the pot was in my shed, the pins were in my sewing box, and the paper was minimal.  The big wow is the substantial work and love that goes into it.  (I have a few tips for you - and myself next time.)

Starting with my Cricut Design Studio (but moving to the Craft Room because I was having issues), I layed out the flowers I needed.  The pin used three sizes but my topiary was going to be smaller so I scaled them down to 2", 1.5", and 1".  The larger and smallest were made of ivory CTMH card stock and the middle size was lagoon (teal) card stock.  The ink used on the edges of the flowers and to cover the core of the card stock was also the lagoon.  I cut extra center flower for the top "shelf" area of the middle foam.

I (for NOW) have the personal cutter Cricut and so used 4 sheets of 12X12 cardstock for the large and small flowers and two 12X12 sheets for the middle size.  Cutting them was quick using the Craft Room.  The time came with the next few steps.

NOTE:  If you have rubber gloves, now would be a good time to put them on!

Using a makeup sponge (Dollar Tree), I dabbed the Lagoon CTMH ink around the edges of each flower . . . all million of them! LOL  I ended up with 72 full flowers plus the extra centers so that was 216 edges to ink . . . whew.  Once they were inked, I used a small spritz bottle and water to wet them (about 4 to 5 sprays each) until they curled.  Then, the fun part.  Each flower was pushed in in the center and then crumpled tightly.  (The first few I tried I didn't crumple enough.)

The drying time will vary but I found that overnight was too long but you also don't want it damp, either, because it rips.  Once they are sufficiently dry, carefully unfold them, layer them and pierce them with a pin.  For my smaller version, stick pins worked well when combined with some sequins to hold the center.  If/When I do a larger topiary, I will use the recommended pearl topped "boutonniere" type pins.

Working closely, start to fill in the topiary in a zigzag motion to achieve the best coverage.  Again, I might tint the foam in any subsequent topiaries to minimize the foam green showing through.  I will be adding floral moss to the bottom (where the white tissue is now) but I haven't been to the store lately.

Here is the final project and I think it came out great.  A little funky with the "unnatural" colors but totally my style.  I'm looking forward to tackling some larger versions for church . . . if they let me try!

 So, that's blog #2 in the books . . . well, online anyways.  It was fun showing you my trial, error and finished product.  I may take a few days to spend with the fam as we are leaving early Friday for our local Scrapbook Expo!  I'm so excited! Hoping to get some deals, tips, tricks, and more.  Pictures to come.

Remember, the following are the specials for the month.  I've linked a short video showing of the "Dotty for You" special below.  My shopping cart will take you to my site should you want to place an order!  Have a great Wednesday, friends!

Close To My Heart  - April 2012 Special

Monday, April 16, 2012

My first blog entry . . .

Well, my first blog entry as a Close To My Heart representative anyways.  I've dabbled in blogs before but nothing (hopefully LOL) worth the time to read.   As this is a new forum for my ramblings, creative mind overload, and general musings, I thought I'd start with a short bio.

My name is Penny (NOT named for the song Penny Lane - I was actually named after a character on a soap opera . . . and not nickel, dime, or any other coin, if you please).  I have a beautiful, vivacious 11 year old daughter who I affectionately call "Beast" but is really named Izabel.  You will see her picture here and there, I'm sure.  I work in the office of a manufacturing company (that's my day job), am very active in my church, The Salvation Army, and my friends there will likely be my guinea pigs for many new project workshops.  I enjoy pretty much ANYTHING crafty (as long as it's not expensive).  I've tried my hands at knitting, crochet, drawing, painting (although not much lately), and of course scrapbooking and card making.  I've done a little glass etching, some jewelry making (but I'm all thumbs with those itty bitty beads) and more.  I'd much rather make items to give away than to have to look at my less than perfect items day in and out . . . and critique the crud out of it until I want to start it over.

And . . . then I start a blog where my projects will be visible to anyone who wants to look.  For a long time.  But I'm going to look at it as therapy! :)

I thought I'd get a few projects on her before going live so the next few days will be back-to-back examples of CTMH-like projects.  Bear with me as I get my . . . ahem . . . blog-legs, will you?


After every project name, I will attempt to "rate" the project with penny logos for
 expense, skill level, and time limit.  Hope it helps! :)

This project was inspired by a Close To My Heart project that I saw.  It was a discount with purchase item called the "My Creation Collage Cubes" (Page 131 in the Idea Book) which are 2" X 2" X 2" card stock cubes with a tray.  They were being offered with a $25 order but at that time, I didn't need any stamps.  When I saw the wood cubes on sale at Hobby Lobby (1.5 X 1.5 X 1.5), I thought I'd try out the process and see if I even liked it before I try the full project.  I could only find bags of 8 blocks which weren't enough to do the 3 by 3 block and 3 by 2 seemed uneven.  So I decided to use the 8 blocks to make (2) 2 block by 2 block sets. To date, I've only completed the following set of blocks.

Design came first with my VERY crude drawings and finding the cartridges that had the images I wanted.  I decided to mix cut items with stamps and a completely different color scheme for each "side". I also numbered and lettered the blocks to make sure that the right image was on the right side.

I started the process by making the "tray" to sit them in.  I did pretty well too, only messing up once.  I used the "Bonus 6: Fabric, Wood & Clay" section of one of my new Cricut cartridges, the Ultimate Creative Series Sampler.  It has 6 different overlays for the one cartridge and has an AMAZING mix of whimsical images, words, envelopes, cards, and even a shallow box that worked perfect.  Using the Cricut Craft Room, I inserted the image and made the bottom of the box 3" X 3" (approximately).  Then I went back in and made it a bit bigger.  (After the blocks were decorated, I decided another slight increase in size would be helpful - more on that when I finally get to the other blocks.)  I also stamped a message in the bottom of the "tray."

 I tried a few different ways of breaking the 3" X 3" design into the four squares as needed.  Putting the blocks in the tray and gluing the full section to all four was too hard to separate cleanly.  Cutting just the background and trying to line everything up was also difficult.  What I found that worked the best was to make the "square" about a 1/2" bigger on all sides, decorate and then cut them into four sections.  Then I glued the sections with the inside corners a little bit offset.  The outside edge was filled using my handy finger nail buffer.  (Holding the buffer at a 45 degree angle and drawing it against the paper and the block in ONE direction will make a soft edge.  See above.).  I used the block on all four sides of each section to match the "soft" edge.

Here are the six finished sides of the blocks.  The friend I gifted this set too is a new Christian and loves bunnies.  Here goes:

Side A - "It takes a long time to grow young. ~ Pablo Picasso"

Side B - "Call unto me, and I will answer thee.  Jeremiah 33:3"

Side C - "Hope"
Side D - "Peace" (My talented daughter did this one, two tone music notes and all!)
Side E - "Friend" and Japanese Kanji (Pagoda Cricut Cartridge)
Side F - "There's NOBUNNY like you"
 I wrapped the present with some bright tissue paper and a ribbon (usually I just use a gift bag, but I was inspired). And made a matching card.

Well, that's it.  First blog entry in the books.  I hope you enjoyed it!  I am itching to do some crafting just looking at the pics. 

Next blog, my newest obsession . . . a topiary that I saw on Pintrest! 


Wood Blocks - Hobby Lobby
Nail Buffer - Dollar Tree
Cricut Cartridges - Ultimate Creative Sieries Sampler & Pagoda