Monday, May 19, 2014

Remembering with Tim ... Holtz May Tag of 2014

Thanks for dropping by for a very special post.  Next week, we celebrate Memorial Day.  It is a day of remembrance of all those who died while in military service to our country.  While thinking about this day, I decided to make a tag honoring my Dad's service in the Navy.  My father was a rural mountain boy who went to do peacetime service for his country and got caught up in the middle of a major war (or conflict ... depending on your point of view).  He did not die during his service stint, but some of his shipmates did.  This post is dedicated to them ... those fellow sailors who died on the USS Valley Forge and USS Essex during the Korean War, as well as the friends and family they left behind.

My tag honoring Dad's service was inspired by Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014 tag for the month of May.  Tim asked us to use some of our treasured embellishments and trinkets in a creative composition.  I've been collecting some wonderful pieces for my Dad's Navy scrapbook.  I've held onto them for years and this tag was just the kick in the pants to make me use them.

The tag's background was made with Faded Jeans and Pumice Stone Distress Stain that I mixed with watered down Brushed Pewter Distress Paint.  I dried it with a heat tool and then grabbed the sand paper.  I sanded the edges and then ran the the sand paper across the face of the tag to create some scratches in the paint.  I took Pumice Stone and Walnut Stain Distress Ink to lightly go over the surface (to get in those scratches) and around the distressed edges.

Let's talk about some of my treasured pieces on this tag.   I love this picture of my dad.  He was so proud of the planes that he worked on.  It's hard to see in this small picture, but one of the planes is behind him.  This favorite photo went in one of my all-time favorite Idea-ology pieces, a Collage Key.  I added a little crystal star charm and a small ribbon on the end.  It is mounted on some of Tim's paper that I put glued onto recycled packaging.  I found some great Navy themed ribbon that I immediately grunged with Walnut Stain Ink and added behind the key.  I was so excited to find the phrase "see the world" on Tim's Remnant Rubs.  One of the Navy's slogans is "Join the Navy.  See the World."  Perfect, right?

The tag tie is Tim's Linen Ribbon dyed with Faded Jeans Distress Stain.  My Dad went to basic training in San Diego CA, but he came back down south to Memphis to get his aeronautical electrician training (he worked on Navy planes on aircraft carriers).  While in school, his "uniform" was a white t-shirt and denim "dungarees".  The linen ribbon really gave me the faded denim look I was going for here.  I added the Courageous Muse Token because my Dad turned out to be pretty fierce when his peace-time service world turned upside down.  In May 1950, my Dad left out on the USS Valley Forge for their first major aircraft carrier training.  On June 25th, while the Valley Forge was in port in the Philippines, North Korea crossed the 38th parallel.  This aircraft carrier was the only ship in the area able to respond.  My Dad's squadron , the Fighting Fifty-One, were the first planes to fire shots in the Korean War.  

Okay ... check this out.  I stumbled on one of my favorite possessions of all time a couple of months ago.  Some of you may remember  that my dad and his family were caretakers of a mountain in NC.  They had very little money and they used and treasured everything.  My mom found my grandmother's "button box".  Granny saved buttons that were special to her and put them in my Dad's elementary school "lunch pail".  One of the buttons that I found in there was off of one of Dad's Navy uniforms.  I mounted that button on one of the squares on this tag.  It is backed with on of Tim's calendar papers.  I cut out the month of May and circled the 26th (that's the date of Memorial Day this year).

On the second square I have a propeller to represent the planes that Dad helped keep in the air.  Speaking of planes, after the fleet joined in the war and things settled in for the long haul, the Valley Forge went back to San Diego to be refitted and Dad's unit stayed on the base for a few months.  His squadron was shipped back out for a second tour on the USS Essex.     My dad's job entailed prepping planes for missions.  He was often the last person a pilot talked to before launching off the aircraft carrier.  Dad told me this was difficult sometimes when a pilot didn't come back.  Let me tell you about one who did come back.   A new pilot joined my Dad and the Fighting Fifty One on the Essex.  He came straight from flight school in Pensacola.  My dad knew him quite well.  This new pilot's name was Neil Armstrong.  And now you know the rest of the story.

I am going to leave with a few more pictures of the completed tag.  Thanks for letting me share a little about my Dad with you.  Since this tag is all about him, I am going to enter in A Vintage Journey's "All about him " Challenge.  I hope this post helps us all to remember that those who gave their lives in military service were just ordinary people who got caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I am indebted to all who served. -- Mary Elizabeth

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Packed and Ready to Depart

No crafting today.  Just a note to let your know I'll be out of service for a couple of weeks. If you aren't interested in hearing a little more about my Chiari Malformation  health journey come back tomorrow for my latest an last craft post for awhile.  

 My mom and I are getting ready to board our plane to NewYork.  Note the bags and Starbucks.  Taking a little bit of this crafting world with me.  I will be having surgery on Tuesday at 8 am. The surgery will be approximately 7 hrs long.   I'm literally having my head screwed on right:). I have secondary condition that makes my skull unstable on my neck. It isn't being supported well so my brain, brain stem, and spinal cord  are being compressed. It's affected my vision, ability to swallow, and muscles on left side of my body. Fun times. When I get finished with this surgery,my neck X-ray will look like my neurosurgeon's best steampunk project.

As I said before, I'll post my latest project tomorrow. Wishing you all well and will try to give you an update some time soon. By the way, I have packed my distress markers.  I have to be in ny for at least 10 days. I think crafting is the best therapy!  Don't you agree?  --  Mary Elizabeth

Friday, May 16, 2014

April (snow) Showers bring May Flowers

I am so honored to have been asked to be a Guest Designer over at Country View Challenges today.  To be chosen as Top 3 in Country View Challenges BLOGAVERSARY Challenge was incredible.  Since it was my mom's birthday present that garnered the merit, it made my mom's birthday all the more special.  She was thrilled:)

This month's challenge theme at Country View Challenges is "Nature's glories".  When I saw this theme, I had to smile.  We had a very long winter and it was still snowing in April.  I so very much wanted spring to arrive and this challenge inspired me to create my own spring!!  One of the very first flowers that bloom in spring here in the mountains of North Carolina are the sunny yellow Daffodils.  I created these paper blooms while waiting for the real thing to make its appearance :)

One afternoon while the snow was flying outside, I sat down with some newly acquired Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap (for some translucency) and started playing around with the idea of creating daffodils.  First, I thought about how to create the flower itself.   I mixed various colors of Distress Ink and Distress Stains with Matte Multi Medium and painted the tissue wrap.  I let that dry.  It added some color to the Tissue Wrap as well as gave it a little more rigidness.  It needed to be a bit more sturdy to run through my Vagabond.  The petals were made with Tim’s Tattered Flower Garland.  I used some half circles to create the center of the flower (the outside edge of the circle was cut with pinking scissors).  I edged the petals and semicircles with some Distress Ink and got ready to put the flower together.

The semicircles were folded to create the cone-shaped center of the daffodil.  I use "bendy"plastic drinking straws for the stem.  I cut the top of the straw at an angle to create a "cradle" the center of the bloom.  I glued it to the straw and then added the petals one at a time around the base of the cone. I then wrapped the entire straw with more Tissue Wrap that had been treated with Distress Ink and Multi Medium.  Tim's Tissue Tape (colored with alcohol ink markers) was used to make the transition from stem to petals.  Some small pearls were glued in the center of each of the daffodils.

I wanted to make a special vase for my daffodils.  I bought a simple glass corked bottle for about a dollar at Michaels.  Then I used a very special treatment on the glass to create the faux cracked glass effect.  This technique (using Glue-N-Seal and Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint) was created by Wendy Vecchi and was featured in Tim Holtz's Creative Chemistry 102.  (Seriously, if you have not taken either Creative Chemistry 101 or 102, you really should!  You still can.  All of the content is still online!)  I actually used a Distress Marker to color the crackle finish.  Other inks tended to melt it.  Ugh!!

I used some of Tim's Ideology Paper Stash to create the butterflies.  They were die cut using one of his Sizzix dies and then sanded around the edges.  I used a gem clip (gem painted with alcohol ink) as the body of the butterflies.  Then I used Tim's Tattered Banner Sizzlit die for my Spring Beauty banners.  The butterflies were clipped to some dried Wisteria vine from my back yard to add to some "airiness" to my bouquet.

A ribbon of wired burlap was added to the vase with one of Tim's Ideology customizable brads.  So much fun!!

I hope you enjoyed checking out my little taste of spring.  I certainly enjoyed making it while the snow fell.  Thanks for dropping by.  Here's wishing all of us some beautiful spring days here in the Northern hemisphere :)  -- Mary Elizabeth

Monday, May 12, 2014

Homage to the Number Five

Ok, final grades were due today and I had to finish grading my final exams and average grades together.  Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the project I had started for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge that was all about "FIVE".

 Grades got turned in today, the sun was shining and I finished my project.  Here it is :)

I hate to say it, but I'm too tired to blog about it.  Just wanted you to know that it is a very happy tired.  I got to create today.  I hope you did too!  -- Mary Elizabeth

Friday, May 9, 2014

CC3 Challenge 1: This Is a Happy Life!

I managed to squeek in some time to play with paints this week in between giving final exams, grading and getting ready for a major surgery in NY (in less than two weeks).  I loved every minute.  I found myself humming a lovely melody and smiling as I painted and spritzed.  Thank you Linda Ledbetter for this amazing Compendium of Curiosities challenge over at Studio L3.  So much fun!!  (And if you haven't gone over and looked at the Curiosity Crew's incredible projects, you need to go now.  Gorgeous!!  Love how each person took the Paint Marbling technique and made it their own.  So much personality :) ) I too had a great time exploring and playing with Tim Holtz's Distress Paints.  I wanted to see how the Paint Marbling technique worked on different paper.   I created this wall hanging by applying the technique to Tim's Kraft Resist paper and also on some watercolor paper.  

The Kraft Resist experiment was interesting.  As you might expect, the Distress Paint didn't really seem to be resisted by the "resist" designs on this gorgeous Ideology paper.  I used a kitchen sink assortment of Distress Paint Colors: Spiced Marmalade, Salty Ocean, Barn Door, Mustard Seed, Wild Honey, Peeled Paint and Seedless Preserves.  They really were absorbed by the kraft paper.  I am sorry I don't have a picture of this part of the process.

I actually like watching paint dry; it gives me time to think "I wonder what will happen if I ..."  This time, I wondered if I could actually use something to bring out the resist pattern through the marbled paint.  I immediately thought about Distress Stain.  I quickly grabbed my heat tool in one hand (to help the paint to dry faster) and my Vintage Photo Distress Stain in the other hand.  As soon as the paint was dry, I began applying the Vintage Photo Distress Stain directly from the bottle onto the painted kraft resist paper.  I grabbed the heat tool again and started to dry the stain.  Oh my ... it worked!!!!  And I love the effect.  In some places, the resist ended up picking up the color of the paint.  Wow!!  This two-stage technique on kraft resist creates an amazing muted backbackground.   Here are some close-ups:

Then I decided to play with Picked Raspberry and Spiced Marmalade on Watercolor Paper. Oh my ... so much fun to see the paint marble on this paper.  Love it!!  The colors are so intense.   After I dried the paint, it was almost perfection without anything else on it.  I added just a little Walnut Stain Distress Ink around the edges and then one of Tim's Remnant Rubs (because these colors really did make me happy :) ) .  Finally I added a butterfly embellishment.

 Really ... check out this color ... soooooooo amazing!

To add some dimension to the wall hanging, I used some Black Soot Distress paint on Grunge Board elements and then covered them with Glossy Accent.  I also used Antique Copper, Brushed Pewter, Broken China and Black Soot Distress Paint in layers on this Grunge Board keyhole.  It too was covered with Glossy Accent.  Aren't the wings behind it fun?

 I used Tim's tissue tape around the edges of the wall hanging and took my Distress Marker in Gathered Twig and Rusty Hinge to add some dimension around the edge of the Kraft Resist Paper. 

Well I hope you enjoyed the results of my experimentation with Paint Marbling.  Hope you get a change to try out all of Tim's techniques in his new book Compendium of Curiosities 3.  So much to learn and inspire you!!!

Thanks for visiting.  Have a fabulous weekend. -- Mary Elizabeth