Friday, September 22, 2017

Free Fiction Friday: The Creatures from the Lock

Happy Free Fiction Friday! As we were driving by the canal near my home, the smell of rotting dead fish was hanging heavy on the morning mists and I gagged more than a few times. Normally, I would be crazy for a walk along the canal on the first day of fall, but that was more than off-putting. Perhaps there's more than dead fish down there?

"The Creatures from the Lock" is a haiku from my book, Haiku Horror Stories. Bear in mind that these are not traditional haikus. These are more micro flash fiction in a haiku format. Hope you enjoy!

The Creatures from the Lock
Copyright 2012 Carey Burns 

I walked the canal
Racing against the sunset
That's when they come out

Stories of huge beasts
With rat-like teeth and sharp claws
Hairless, foul, and pale

They hunt in small packs
And block your path east and west
So that you are trapped

Canal to the north
With dense forest to the south
I pick up my pace

As I near the bridge
I can see the parking lot
My calves are on fire

I hear soft growling
And see movement up ahead
I skid to a stop

Three sets of green eyes
Flash at me in the forest
I pray they are dogs

And closer they creep
As tall as German Shepherds
With ratty faces

Their jaws snap at me
And I close my eyes real tight
Before they attack

Monday, September 18, 2017

Maker's Monday: Top Ten Tools

I've been putting in some extra hours at work and by the time I get home, I'm pretty much done for the evening. That means I haven't been crafting, much to my disappointment. For today's post I decided to share some of the fun tools I use to make things.

10. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is one of my favorite image editors! It is free (nice!) and pretty similar to PhotoShop. I've made book covers, doctored up vintage photos for Halloween decorations, and created images for marketing materials for my day job. It was tough learning GIMP but I watched a lot of free step-by-step tutorials online so that helped.

9. My Recollections heat tool is my friend! I used to scoff at buying a heat tool when I have a perfectly good hairdryer...until I used a heat tool. It dries alcohol ink and Distress Stain super fast and gives you amazing control. Now that I have one, I don't think I want to craft without one. I haven't used it for embossing yet, but if I ever get the urge to, I'll be set.

8. I have quite a collection of EK Tools paper punches and use them a lot. From leaves to trees to octopi, their designs are simple and they work like a charm every time. They're totally worth the investment, especially if you make your own cards.

7. My Spellbinder's Artisan X-plorer machine is a little gem! I bought it to cut sheets of copper for the Susan Lenart Kazmer Media Mixage dies and it has been tried and true. It is simple to use and I've even (don't tell!) used the Tim Holtz Bird Crazy Framelits in it! It is hand-cranked so it can be tedious, but it cuts like a dream!

6. I like my Lisa Pavelka UV Light and it has been very useful for jewelry and other projects I've used Magic-Glos for. The cure time is relatively quick (10 minutes or less) and it is easy to load/unload my pieces. My only complaint is that it isn't very big. There are some projects I'd love to make but the bezels are far too large to fit in the light area. I could possibly cure in sections, but I'm clumsy and things might end badly.

5. The 7gypsies Binderie Punch has been a staple for quite a few years. The machine punches through chip board and small stacks of paper. I've even used it on felt and it cut very well. It runs on batteries or can be plugged into an outlet. This machine has saved me and my hands on many a crafting adventure!

4. The best Christmas present I ever got was my Sizzix Vagabond machine! It is a powerful little machine that die cuts and embosses and since it isn't hand-cranked, it cuts down on crafting time. Sadly, mine has broken but I'm in the process of returning it.

3. I love the Tim Holtz Ranger Alcohol Ink Applicator Tool! I use this little gadget for alcohol ink paintings and (don't tell!) for regular Ranger inks! It picks up as little or as much ink as I want and it blends like a dream.

2. Canva is something I use at least once a day for my day job and for crafting. I create eye-catching images for social media, flyers, presentations, and even ads. It is pretty simple to use, there are quite a few free images and the fee-based images are affordable. Plus they look great. I'm a font fan and their selection is wonderful. I upped my subscription and can use my own templates to create different items based off one original design. Love that!

1. Ranger Inkssentials Glossy Accents Glue is my favorite crafting tool. Yes, I know it is an adhesive and not a "tool" but I use it for so many things, it surpasses being a glue. It glues, it seals, it adds a bit of fixes my mistakes...

There you have it, my favorite tools for crafting! Are our lists similar? What have I left off that you can't craft without?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Maker's Monday: Poison Bottle

I made one Poison Bottle and loved how it turned out so I wanted to make another. After putting out a distress call on Facebook, a friend sent me an empty essential oil bottle. Gotta love co-conspirators!

1 small brown bottle (I used an essential oil bottle)
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and Black Soot
Tim Holtz Adirondack Ink in Teakwood
1 Tim Holtz Spooky ephemera 'Poison'
Ranger Perfect Pearls (Bronze tone with Perfect Medium and brush)
A piece of jute or string of some sort
Glossy Accents

Tim Holtz Blending Tool and pad

Additional Items:
Cotton swabs

1.  I removed the label, cap, tamper-safe ring, and dropper cap from the essential oil bottle and washed and dried the bottle and cap. I threw out the tamper-safe ring and dropper cap.

2.  Next, I put the cap on my painter palette and added drips of the alcohol ink. As it dripped down the sides, I used one cotton swab to hold the cap steady and the other to "paint" the cap with the ink. 
3.  While the ink dried, I added ink to the ephemera with the blending tool. I used Vintage Photo and edged the paper first then smudged over the whole piece of paper. I swapped out blending pads and added just a smudge of Black Soot. 

4.  Initially, I was going to use double-stick tape to hold the label onto the jar, but wanted this to be a longer-lasting piece so I opted for squiggles of Glossy Accents instead. Before I did that, I made bends in the label so it would curve nicely against the bottle. After a few seconds of holding the label in place, the adhesive was dry. Another reason I love Glossy Accents!

5.  The cap was finally dry so I twisted it onto the bottle and used my finger to dab on Perfect Medium. I used the brush in my Perfect Pearls kit and dipped it into the lid of the bronze-toned pearls. With very light strokes, I "painted" over the cap and the Pearls stuck to the spots where the Medium was. Nice!

Just a bit of bronzer...
 6.  I had saved the twine from the galvanized sheet I used in my Halloween Wreath and it wrapped around the bottle perfectly! I made a simple knot and glued the ends in place.

 I love how this little bottle turned out! It looks great with the other spooky goodies on my shelf - the room is really looking creeptastic!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Lust

Now that my wreath is complete and my Halloween cards are done, I can get back to those pesky Seven Deadly Sins!

I rooted through my bin of odds and ends and found a rusty old drawer. It will be perfect for a little backdrop for the sin of Lust.
The bisque doll to represent Lust has a sassy bow in her hair and I'm going to add a wash of red paint to it and maybe paint her mouth. I'm thinking either a pale blue was of paint on her body or just painting a black stripe over her eyes. She'll have a very shabby fabric toga of some sort eventually as well.

I pondered a background and remembered an old, musty art book that I found at a book sale years ago. I flipped through the pages and found a page with "Bacchus and Ariadne" by Titian. I loved the weathered look of the paper and darkness of the image so I eyeballed the page and tore it.
I dry-fitted it into the drawer with the bisque doll and it is fantastic! Next up is aging the torn edges and deciding if the metal will be painted or left as-is. Lots to do!

In other crafting news, here are the completed Halloween cards I'm sending overseas. I hope they like them!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In-Between Post: Halloween Wreath

I took the holiday off yesterday but I have an update on my finished Halloween Wreath from last week's Maker's Monday!

First, I added two varieties of moss around the base of the metal sheet. I didn't glue them because I wanted to be able to reuse the large metal planter for a Christmas wreath as well. I've got some neat plans in my head... The moss was a mess and of course, I had just vacuumed before deciding to mess with it! Next time, I'll put paper or something down.

As I hung it up on the wall and looked at it, the top seemed bare. I really didn't want to glue anything to the planter so I decided to grab some creeping drape material that I use for the bookshelves and windows. The black was too dark but the ivory was spot-on! After cutting, arranging, and fringing...I think it looks perfect! It'll be painful to swap out everything for Christmas, but you can bet as soon as January rolls around, I'll be ready to swap it back!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Halloween Cards

I belong to a group of like-minded crafters and it was brought to our attention that other countries don't go nuts over Halloween like we do in the States. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, a few of us decided to create unique Halloween cards and send them to our overseas friends. These are some of the cards I came up with, using Tim Holtz products (Ranger Ink Distress Inks, Idea-ology, and Sizzix as well). Hopefully they will inspire you to make your own cards or just get you a bit more excited for the big holiday! I'm putting on the finishing touches and awaiting some fun trims to arrive. I'll post finished cards before I send them on their merry way.

 First thing I did was make my own cards. I had some envelopes on hand that would fit a 5.5 inch card so I folded black cardstock and cut it to size. Next I pulled some Tim Holtz Idea-ology Paper Dolls that I liked from the Halloween collection and set them aside. I matched dolls to Tim Holtz Halloween papers and cut out wide strips for a ready-made background.  I had a few cob web die cuts left so I chose one for the woman in black.

The woman in black became my Black Widow and I added smudges of Ranger Distress Ink in Black Soot around the edges of her and glued the web to the paper with Ranger's Glossy Accents then glued the paper doll over it. I looked through the Tim Holtz Clippings Halloween collection and found some appropriate passages. I added smudges of Black Soot around the edges of the scrapbook paper and the clippings and then added the clippings to the paper. A little Ranger Distress Marker in Candied Apple on her bow turned her into a Black Widow.

I wasn't 100% pleased with the words after really looking at the card so I looked through the clippings until I found something better.

A wicked thing.
there seemed no possible escape.
her dreadful web

The next card has a wicked woman. I again smudged the edges of the scrapbook paper with the Black Soot ink and glued her in place. I added Distress Ink in Antique Linen to the Wicked ephemera and then edged and dabbed Black Soot over it. I wanted some dimension so I used foam dots on the back to make the ephemera raised up. I had one key left over and thought it might make a nice gift so I punched two small holes through the front of the card and attached some thin black twine to the key and tied it in place on the other side. I really love how this one turned out!

The next card features more paper dolls - I love this one of the kiddos with jack 'o lanterns! First I edged the scrapbook paper and paper dolls in Black Soot and glued the dolls to the paper. The paper seemed too clean so I smudged on some Antique Linen and then added Vintage Photo over that. You can see the clean ring around the paper dolls. Then I used Carved Pumpkin on the Brave ephemera and edged and dabbed with Black Soot. I used the foam dots to give this one dimension as well. I ended up coloring the jack 'o lanterns with Distress Marker in Ripe Persimmon.

The last card is still a work-in-progress and I'll stare at it a little tonight before settling on what to finish it with.

I really hope the recipients enjoy their cards! In other news...

For those that have been following me on social media and on the blog, our cat, Zoey, passed away Tuesday morning as I was getting ready for work. We were able to take her to our vet and they'll take care of cremation arrangements for her. I cried pretty much all day and took a personal day from work. I worked on these cards a little bit and made sure our other cat, Elfie, was snuggled and kissed. She left a big hole in our hearts but I'm glad we were able to give her a good life. She and Elfie were our fosters because their owner moved out-of-state and couldn't have pets. They became 'ours' a few years back.

If you're thinking about getting a pet, please consider adopting or fostering. I know specific breeds can get you right in the feels, but there might be a sweet soul in a shelter that may need you. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Maker's Monday: Assemblage Halloween Wreath

I had Sunday to myself and in between tending to Zoey (our cat that isn't well) and watching scary movies, I decided to make a spooky wreath. Last year on a trip up to Michigan, we happened upon an estate sale. The lady 's home overlooked Lake Michigan and she had the most amazing collection of antiques! There were several pieces I really wanted but she wanted top dollar, except for an old galvanized planter...she asked $10. I snatched it up because I knew it would become some sort of wreath, eventually. Well, eventually finally happened! I realize the uniqueness of this project so if you want to create something similar, you might have to use something like an old baking pan or chicken waterer or something.

1 large galvanized planter
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Black Soot and Frayed Burlap
1 Tim Holtz Halloween scrapbook paper
Black card stock (large enough to cover the openings of the doorknob plate)
1 Tim Holtz Spooky ephemera tag
Ranger Archival Ink in Black
Ranger Perfect Pearls
Black Craft Paint
Glossy Accents
Adirondack Alcohol Ink Gold Mixative
Plastic skeleton arms
Vintage photo
Vintage frame (or new and distress it to look old)
3 wooden spools
Antique doorknob plate
Black cord
Hemp twine
Metal wall plaque

Just some of the supplies - it ended up being a "make-as-you-go" kinda project!

Tim Holtz Blending Tool and pads


1. I decided to add paper to the spools first. Since I was going for a rustic look, I didn't care to measure the paper, I just eyeballed it. When they were cut to size, I edged the paper with Black Soot to make it look old and grungy.
Left side is edged in Black Soot, right side is not

All the strips are trimmed and edged
2.  I added a bit of Glossy Accents to the spool and glued down an edge of the paper. After it dried, I rolled the paper around and trimmed it, gluing the loose edge.

Holding the paper in place while it glues - Glossy Accents dries very quickly!

Nice, but looks a little too clean...

3.  The spools looked too new so I dabbed them with Black Soot and then filled in with Frayed Burlap. I think they turned out pretty grungy!
These are spools that have seen a thing or two!
 4. Next, I cut a length of black cording and threaded it through two of the holes in the bottom of the planter. I tied a knot in the back and this became my hanger.
Just a simple knot

The planter is clean, I even said "Out, damned spot!" but it wouldn't come out. I'm thinking it is oil.
5.  I was originally just going to nestle the old photo in the wreath, but it turned out to be too shallow. I decided to add it to a frame and attach it to something. I traced out the frame shape and cut it to fit then ran a bead of Glossy Accents on the inside of the frame to keep the photo in place.
Traced out the oval of the frame

All trimmed and glued into place
6.  While I was gluing, I racked my brain for something to attach the frame to when it hit me: a metal piece that I displayed magnets on! I removed the twine and set it aside while I thought about it more.
A simple galvanized sign on its way to greatness!
7.  I added a few drops of the Gold Mixative to my blending tool and dabbed it onto one of the skeleton arms but it didn't really do much. I ended up just squeezing the Mixative straight onto the arms and loved how it looked! As it dried, it did seem too new and harsh so I rubbed Black Soot over the high points to tone it down.
Mr. Golden Bones, I presume?
8.  I glued the arms onto the frame using E6000 to hold them in place.
Bringing the spooky factor up just a notch with skeleton arms!
9.  While the glue dried, I added more Mixative to my blending tool and pounced it all over the metal piece to make it look old and dingy. I glued a piece of black card stock to the back of doorknob plate with Glossy Accents and then added E6000 on the lip of the plate and a bead around the outside like caulk. I fitted it into place and held it to dry. Once dry, it looked too shiny so I brushed it with the copper-toned Perfect Pearls and then dabbed black craft paint over it with a Q-tip. I like how it looks grimy!
I added a bead of E600 and then smoothed it out with a piece of card stock to look a bit neater.

10.  After it dried, I added smudges of Archival to tone down the metal even more. I'm really pleased with how it turned out!
The gold and black really make this piece a bit darker

You can see the marks from the blending tool, but the randomness makes it work
11.  I added E6000 to the lip of the frame and added it to the metal piece, holding it for a while to dry a bit.
Gluing down the framed photo
12.  I glued the spools in place with E600 and found an old key I got at an auction and used E6000 to glue it in place as well. I love the finished product, but this was just the first part!

One big part finished!

13. With everything dry, it was time to attach it to the metal planter. I got some thin hemp twine and grunged it up with the Black Soot and Frayed Burlap. I doubled-up the twine and threaded it through the holes of the metal piece and through the holes of the planter. I tied a knot in the back and tied another for strength.
Awaiting a few last-minute touches

Close-up of the spools

Close-up of the key

I love the details of this doorknob plate and the old paint still stuck to it

The black ink really toned down the gold bones

Grungy twine

This photo is so creepy - her eyes have a weird haze over them
Next up for this piece is some creepy Spanish Moss and some Halloween gauze drape. I absolutely am thrilled with how this "wreath" turned out and might be leaving it up year-round!

I can't wait to share photos of the house when it is all finished! Has anyone else started decorating before Labor Day?