Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm BAAAAAAaaaack and a Tag

I'm back.  If you have been around you know that I haven't felt great for, well a long time.  Let's all cross our finger and hope things are improving....at least a little bit.   Please...
So, I took a break... at first I left because I needed a blog break, I didn't feel good and it was stressful worrying about what to post.   But then my studio became the problem....I am talking EPIC problem...or mess...epic mess.....Epic Epic-mess...I mean so epically messy that I couldn't craft.  I couldn't even get in to the room to be honest.  You may remember when I won the "Messiest Room Contest" sponsored by My Life and Kids.
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Yes, this is my dining room right before Christmas. I am not proud of it, but I have accepted that I am a slob at times when I am busy trying to be creative and I won a free vacuum for it.  I guess my studio was jealous or something but it looked like this....
I would have won hands down with this mess.  I was motivated to clean it because my mother-in-law as coming to visit and needed to be able to get to the bedroom and bathroom that share the bedroom with my studio.  Sadly, I tend to let things get really bad until impending visitors motivate-or scare- me into cleaning.  In all seriousness I would have cleaned it up much earlier simply because I wanted to work in the studio but I never felt well enough to tackle such an overwhelming project.  I am grateful I forced myself to get it organized and it now is much more functional than it had been.  I realized that  part of the problem was that I had too many things I was storing on the floor simply because I didn't have enough storage space so I bought a bunch more Recollections pieces from Michael's and got things organized.  

So my studio is clean and organized and finally I can do some crafting.  Oh, right...Maizey.  Big problem.  She is cute but she 27 pounds of TROUBLE and cuteness...but mostly trouble.  She eats 
8 Weeks; first day home
9 Months 
everything from sticks to plastic and she LOVES getting to be in my studio.  Since the door usually closed and she is rarely let down there,  any opportunity she sees to get down those stairs she takes.  IT is funny to watch how fast her little butt goes to get down the stairs and around the corner in to the studio space.  You can tell she is so proud of herself when she manages to get down there. But instead of lying by my feet and enjoying the alone time with me she spends her time searching for things to eat.  Paper macho is a favorite but Washi tape is also good...as is tape, stickers, pencils are a particular favorite either upstairs or down.  I spent all my time chasing after her...until I get annoyed enough and through her back upstairs.  The morale of the story is I can't craft when I am in charge of watching her. She cannot be let alone anywhere in the house because she will find something to eat or ruin.  I won't even go into what all she has ruined.

My point...yes I do have one! My point is that finding time to craft is hard and finding hte energy is even harder.  But I am determined and I will create this holiday season.  I will....No really...I WILL.


To celebrate my Re-blogging I give you my version of Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014: October Edition.
Tim recently released his new Distress Sprays and I am in love.  They are incredible.  The finish they leave on ribbon is super yummy.  It looks like hand-dyed silk ribbon.  I have no idea why the finish is different from the Distress Stain as I assume the formula must be similar but it is different.  The sprays leave an almost iridescent finish on seam binding. 

My October tag was first given some texture with Golden Texture Medium.  Tim used Ranger's Texture Medium- of course- but I don't any.  First I tried to use Wendy Vecchi's Embossing Paste, which looked incredible before I added the sprays, but they don't take color like the Golden product-instead they maintain their original color more.  I did get decent color after I worked at it-and gave it 4 coats- but since the Distress Spray color was a major component of the tag, I decided to use the Golden product. 

I don't have the stamps that Tim used so I used one of my favorite Halloween stamp sets from the defunct House of 3 and Pink Paislee. 
The skull was colored with another new FAVORITE, the Wink of Stella clear marker. I mean, come on,  the name itself is just so much fun to say.  Wink of Stella, Wink of Stella, Wink of Stella...what does that even mean?  It means SHIMMER.  Not really, but that is what it does.  It adds so much shimmer.  I also tried the gold, silver and a few pastel shades but the clear is by far the most versatile and the prettiest.  It is so easy to brush it over anything paper to add beautiful shimmer and the brush allows precision placement.   I used it over not only the skull but also on the little "31" and the letters themselves on the Alpha Tiles.
BEWARE...l am about to get real...or at least technical.  If you are reading this blog only because you are my husband or my sister and don't give two sheets about stamping or Tim Holtz (gasp) or the only kinds of stamps you know anything about are the ones issued by the US Post Office, then you might want to skip ahead. 

You can see Tim's tag below for reference.  Tim stamped the spider directly to the naked tag and then used his Mask Sheet material to protect the stamped spider from the Texture Paste.  I followed this technique on the first set of tags that I made-really I did- but those were sadly abandoned when I couldn't save them.  

The problem started because I don't have the stamp set Tim used.  Not a big deal really...except I had a hard time finding stamps that filled the space in the same way...you know, made the design of the two tags similar enough to call it "inspired by" and also to fill the space correctly.  I needed a large element to replace the pumpkin and something that had a string, like Tim's crawling spider, that would serve  to connect the top of the tag to whatever element I used.  Here is where it became difficult because I don't have a spider that is large enough to work.  What element to use to replace the spider?  As soon as I saw the elements on the House of 3/Pink Paislee Phantom collection I knew I was on to something.  House of 3 was a short-lived partnership between Heidi Swapp, Rhonna Farrer,and Janet Hopkins and while  it may have been short lived, it was filled with so much creativity and incredible design.  The design aesthetic they created together looked nothing like what they each do individually...it was PURE magic.  I loved House of 3....I miss House of 3... I mourn House of 3....I digress.  Ok, whatever...move on Danee.  

Phantom includes several images with cords- a chandelier, a bird cage, and even what appear to be  cameos-on-a-string... cuz, you know everyone has a cameo hanging....from a string....in their house.  (FYI this set is still available and I found it is...here).
Phantom by House of 3 and Pink Paislee
I chose the skull element to replace the pumpkin and the chandelier and the bird cage to replace the spider. The bird cage seemed to be a good fit in size and scale but the problem then became the size of the chandelier. It is pretty small so I stamped it several times, playing around with different combinations.  I needed the design to look similiar to Tim's but also to use good design principals.  I couldn't just stamp something with a string in the general area if the proportion was way off.  
 
Tag by Tim Holtz TimHoltz.com
I thought things were going pretty darn well until I had all of the elements in place on the 2 tags that made it this far (I always start with about 4 tags so that I can choose the best one or if something doesn't work out right I don't have to start from the beginning I can just grab one of the other 4 tags).  You see, both the bird cage and the chandelier were too small.  The chandelier was in fact chandelierS as I had stamped it 3 time across the tag knowing that it was just not big enough alone.  First I tried to just ignore it all together and continue on with my project...but eventually I couldn't stand it.  My second attempt to fix the situation was to abort the use of the previously stamped images all together by covering them up with one of the chandeliers from the Sizzix set, Chairs (see below).  I grabbed some black cardstock, my dies and I set about cutting several of each chandelier and stamping them up.  I played around trying to cover over the original stamped images, but my die-cut chandeliers just didn't cover them completely not matter what way I turned them ;D.  It drove me BATTY ;D ;D.  

So I cried "UNCLEEEEEE"...I started over.  I had ruined all 4 tags so I started from the beginning.    Good plan, except I completely forgot that the ACTUAL technique was to use the Mask Sheet so that the texture SURROUNDED-but didn't cover- the stamped image. The texture paste wasn't supposed to cover the entire tag with the stamped image cut out and adhered OVERTOP of the texture.  Oops.  Yes, I realize it isn't a great big deal but the thing is that I challenge myself to make a tag that uses all the same techniques and has the same basic design elements as Tim's tag.  I don't see the point of designing a tag that in no way resembles Tim's or one that is made using completely different techniques.  I find it very rewarding when I have to use different supplies and yet I can pull off a tag that is indeed inspired by Tim's monthly tag. 
Chairs by Sizzix:  The set comes with stamps and matching dies
What I learned this month? That I LLOOOOOVVVVEEEE Tim's new sprays.  I cannot wait to have fun playing with the Distress Stains,, Paints, Sprays and Inks all together on one tag...Whoa. Mind. Blown.  I also love adding texture using stencils and texture paste...I mean come on,  everyone is doing it.  It really adds so much texture and interest and the sky is the limit as texture can be added to the entire tag or just a small portion.  So many creative options open up.

I hope I am back for good.  I have several projects completed already and I still have projects that from Ginger's wedding that haven't been on the blog.  My next post will probably be a fun gift box of "sussies" I sent to my friends who were having a rough go.  My late father would occasionally give us unexpected little gifts that life our spirits and he called them "sussies".  I sent my friend's inexpensive little gifts but I packaged them in charming little bags with lots of embellishments.  Here's a sneak peak....
Be well...
Danee
Glitter is My Favorite Color. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Paper Flowers and Other Wedding Table Decor

Ginger's wedding was virtually flowerless.  The bride had purchased really fun feather boutonnieres from an Etsy shop and had a brooch bridal bouquet made locally.  That leaves only the bridesmaids' bouquets in the "real" flowers category.  Since I had a small budget to work, and no flowers to repurpose, I decided to make paper flowers-and a few special projects- to decorate the tables.

If you read this blog you know that I adore everything "Tim Holtz" and this wedding could easily be dubbed "A Tim Holtz Wedding".  I mean this isn't Tim Holtz's wedding or anything but I did use a lot of his projects to pull off a charming reception space.  I started with Tim's newish Bigz XL Jumbo Tattered Florals and Bigz Garden Greens.  Using these two dies and a variety of papers I was able to make several different varieties of flowers.  The paper flowers filled the mason jars beautifully and added the shabby chic flavor that Ginger wanted.
Here you can see the pretty large flower I made using peach tissue paper left over from making the poms.
Each vase was decorated with a seam binding bow and several tags as well as some of Tim's baubles, and a golden letter "R" to honor the bride's new last name.  I used the shabby chic tag layered under a chalkboard-look tag because the invitations were chalkboard inspired.

The second item to make up the tablescape was this sweet embellished book.  Super charming, super cheap and super easy.  I ripped the covers off of cheap (think Goodwill) books. It doesn't matter if the book is actually old-or what the topic is- once the cover is ripped off it looks terrific.  I take that back- Ginger brought me a German Sudoku book that I just couldn't make work!

To begin, I ripped off the cover and enough pages until I was left with a page that I wanted to show on top.  Then I simply wrapped the book like a package with seam binding and tied a bow.  The leaves were cut using the Garden Greens die from paper by We R Memory Keepers.  I LOVE the two-tone paper that let me mix and match colors simply by which side of the paper is facing up.  The leaves are only slipped under the seam binding.  In other words, I didn't use any sort of adhesive.  The perfect ending is the addition of a vintage (or vintage-looking) bauble.  I used anything I had on hand for this- earrings, buttons, broaches, etc.
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I used seam binding in several colors-dark grey, peach, pale green/blue and off white- to match the wedding colors.
The pretty little lanterns were made using Tim's Bigz XL Luminary die.  I cut the lanterns using a beautiful heavy cream-colored cardstock. The windows are lined with simple vellum before the luminary was glued together.  Each sweet lantern was adorned with a spray of leaves made using Tim's Sizzlet Spring Greenery.  The leaf is similar to the one from Garden Greens but it is significantly smaller.  The final touch is a sweet little flower made using the smallest petal on the Jumbo Tattered Florals die.
Each lantern was embellished with either white or brown/black pearls along the roof. 
Clearly using a real candle in a paper lantern is a super duper bad idea. Thankfully, electric tea lights work perfectly for this.

 I cut the word "Adore" using my Cricut, SCAL2, and a digital file I purchased from Kerri Brandford.  The words were simply laid on the table for an unexpected ode to Love and Marriage.
 Adding a different "love" or "wedding" themed word to each table would be a really fun detail.
Or cut the word(s) from glitter paper for sparkly elegance.
Next I will show each of the paper flowers that make up this gorgeous bouquet. 
  

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to Turn a Standard Church Meeting Room Into a Charming Wedding Reception Space on a Small Budget

I have been putting off writing this post for days and days and weeks and months...ok maybe only days...but I have been procrastinating.  Why you ask? Because the pictures show all of the flaws in the room that I couldn't hide, disguise, camouflage or just plain cover.  Those who know me know that I am a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to party details.  But in this situation it comes down to the fact that I can only work so much magic.  In other words, given the time and budget constraints, I could only do so much.  There are several things that aren't up to my standards and I considered not showing you those areas.  But then I realized that this was a real wedding, on a real budget, in real time frame and other people have the same type of issues and are looking for solutions.  So here some of my solutions....some are brilliant and some are quick and dirty and just "good enough".

So on with it....

The Vision
The bride- whom we will call "Ginger" (mainly because that is her name) envisioned a shabby-chic vintage-barn space with a gorgeous eye-popping dessert buffet filled with tiny desserts.  Yes, I know... she picked an ugly church basement rather than a barn, but go with it people-it wasn't my choice.  Ginger had her heart set on giving her guests a big "WOW" moment as they entered into the reception space.  Because of the room layout, the obvious choice was to put the dessert buffet against the back wall directly opposite the doors into the room.  You can see this in the pic above and you can see more pics of the space before we started set up here.  The next obvious design choice was to put the bridal party on the left side of the room because the right side was banked with a row of windows making it much more difficult to decorate- I didn't have time to sew curtains!

Ok, so the major layout is done...lets get decorating.

The Problems
Slow down there, Sherlock...we have some problem children to deal with first.  We were able to quickly determine where to put the dessert buffet and where the bridal party would sit.  That left the children's activity table along the right side of the room using 2 rectangle tables and for the rest of the guests we would use circle tables filling in the center of the room.

Sounds so easy doesn't it.  Problem is there were several issues I needed to address in order to elevate this space into something worthy of a charming, shabby chic wedding reception.  I won't lie, this is a big undertaking for only having 2 days. I mean if this was my full-time job and I had lots of experience and a crew it would have probably been a piece of cake, but I am not and I have not.

The first-and biggest problem is... its an UGLY ROOM.  Ugh!  The room is a functional church basement.  It is large and beige grey and square and lifeless.  While it certainly serves its purpose as a meeting room, it needs some serious help in order to become a space worthy of a wedding Design by Danee wedding reception.  As I mentioned in the last post, the brown chairs had to stay. It was out of their budget to rent white chairs and while this broke my creative heart, I understand and respect her for sticking to her budget.

This room is ugly from top to bottom.  From the drop ceiling and florescent lights to the broken grate (see picture below) to the brown chairs to the ugly carpet and the multiple metal doors...not that the brown doors are much better.  I can't change the ceiling, the lights, the doors or the carpet, but I can make beautiful things that distract from those less eyesores and create an enchanted setting.

First, I had to address the eye sores that were completely unacceptable.  The worst one being this hot mess that is along that back wall where I staged th entire dessert buffet.
I rented several vintage doors from a very charming local store called Bella Patina.  For around $20 per door I was able to get something that not only covered a large eyesore, but also helped added a lot of authenticity and charm to the "shabby chic" look that Ginger wanted.  I covered the bent-up hot mess of a grate with this door.  The patina is amazing on this piece and the burlap came already on the door.  I added the gold tissue pom flower to the door handle. This became one of my favorite decor pieces in the entire room. 
You can see from this photo that the bent grate was located right in the middle of the space we were highlighting but with the door covering it, nobody even knew it was there. 
Next we had this exit door... U.G.L.Y.  I decided against covering the "EXIT" sign itself- frankly it just seemed like it screamed "bad luck" and I didn't want to be responsible for anyone getting hurt.  It was a compromise for sure but I did cover the ugly brown brown.   Being that this is an emergency exit, I thought it best to NOT block it, so I used only a fabric curtain to cover it. This kept the exit functional while hiding the stark brown color. 
By stringing some muslin I had on hand and adding a layer of tulle I had left over from Brandin's wedding, I had a quick, cheap and easy curtain to disguise the door.
To further distract from the ugly "EXIT", I placed a fun chalkboard and easel to the side of it.  I made a simple, but really adorable, garland by sewing book paper and coffee filter leaves cut using Tim Holtz's Jumbo Tattered Florals by Sizzix Alterations.

I didn't get a good shot of the double metal doors behind this rented tri-fold screen, but you can see them peaking out and they are UGLY.  The screen and a few poms did a great job of distracting the eye from the ugly doors. 

I hid another ugly metal door behind several lengths of burlap and some paper flowers.  Really anything that draws the eye away from the utilitarian-but ugly- parts of the space will elevate your party space.  It is the attention to these small details that seem to be pointless but in reality make a huge difference.  If I had more time-or a staff- I would have found big solid old doors to cover these spaces but given the time/budget contrasts I think the fabric worked well.

The space below is where the bridal table ended up. We did take down the pictures and slipped them into one of the classrooms behind the doors you see. 
 Can you believe this room has so many freakin' doors.  We used all the rented doors and still had some gaps.  Ideally, I would have covered all the room doors with vintage doors but I rented all the store had. I used the remaining muslin to cover the small areas the vintage doors didn't cover. I used hot glue to give it a sort of "gather" before hanging it.  I simply put hot glue along the "seam line" and pinched the fabric together giving it a look of a gathered curtain.  While this is purely an aesthetic choice, it gave the curtain a more finished look...you know, like I PLANNED it that way...I mean I did plan it that way...I did ;D.
 I used extra paper rosettes to give the doors a charming and whimsical vibe and tied them into to the larger wall decor pieces made up of rosettes that I hung on the wall behind the dessert buffet.  The WALL of WOW as it were.

More UGLY green metal doors....good lord...Randall, Mike and Sully would have a field day in this room.
Here is a shot of the bridal table and the doors behind it. 
Here is from farther out in the room.

The next post will cover the centerpieces- all made of paper.