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!