Saturday, April 24, 2010

I was in Ocean Grove, NJ last weekend for an art retreat.  I just love going there!  It restores my soul!  I came back really charged up to do more creative activities.  I started thinking about making some cards to send to the women who were at the retreat with me.  I came across these images that I had saved.  I guess they were for this exact occasion and I just didn't know it at the time.

These cards came together really easily and quickly.  I browsed through a great book by Mary Jo McGraw called Vintage Greeting Cards and found a card design that I liked.  I used my images and decorated papers and these cards are the end result.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It Worked!

Here is the final stage.  I glazed the tag with gloss medium and added some trimming.  This is the best transfer I've achieved!  The gloss medium worked better than the soft gel medium.  I don't know why.  So now I am curious about using other types of acrylic medium, especially the self-leveling type.  That one is supposed to have fewer brush strokes when it dries.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Another Approach to Tags

I had planned to do a batch of tags last night but I got distracted by pictures that called out to me to make a collage!  I didn't finish the collage and I was disappointed because it seemed as if the entire night had flown by and I had gotten nothing accomplished.  Then I got the idea to try to transfer an image onto a tag. I've been struggling to get transferring "right" and have often had images that were only partially successful.  The advantage of doing a tag is the small size of the surface.

So I rummaged through my file of pictures and found an ad that contained some floral trim along the edge.  I cut out the flowers to use them on the transfer.  I used Gloss Medium as the base for the transfer.  I smeared a bit of the medium all over the tag, then I placed the floral image faace down on the tag.  I used an old credit card to smooth the surface and set it aside to dry.  The first picture shows the transfer at this stage, Stage 1.

This morning, (instead of getting ready for work!) I moistened the tag with plain water.  Once the paper backing was wet, I was able to use my fingers to rub it off.  What remained was the image you see in Stage 2.  It's almost finished.  You can tell when all the paper backing has been removed because there is a smoother feel to the tag.  When it dries, there is more color to the image.  There is a very light cloudy film in a few places.  The final step will be to coat the tag with clear medium to make it shiny and eliminate the cloudy patches.  I could also color the glossy medium with a pale tint of red if I wanted to make the entire tag have more color.  But I think I will quit while I am ahead!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Sale!

I sold my first batch of 5 cards today!  Last weekend I made a style sheet showing samples of the various cards that I've made, a total of 15 different cards in full color and full size.  My husband was giving a class tonight and I met up with several of his students.  I decided that, then and there, I was going to give them the samples of my cards.  So one of them picked the 5 cards that she liked best.  She told me that she likes to have cards around the house for special occasions, so she is ready when someone has a birthday coming up.  She really liked the card above because she is a spiritual person and she likes fairies and angels and meditation.

I'm proud of myself for not being a Shrinking Violet and stepping up to promote my cards when the opportunity presented itself.  I need to do more of this!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Wno Buys Greeting Cards??

I found 2 market research reports online about the demographics of greeting card buyers.  It looks like the people who spend the most on stationery and paper goods are the 25-34 year olds.  That surprises me because I really expected it to be Baby Boomers and older.  Younger people are so connected to the Internet and instant communication that I would not expect them to spend much money on buying cards.  But, when you think about that age's people who are starting out in life and are experiencing many life changes that require gifts - graduations, engagements and weddings, having a baby.  All of these occasions are moments to celebrate and give a gift.  So you could expect them to buy cards for their friends for all of those reasons.

Envelopes to Catch the Eye

I'm preparing mailers to send out to let my friends know about my cards.  making an envelope is pretty easy, just a matter of folding paper and then trimming the sides and top to make flaps that fold in.  I made a couple that were decorated with rubber stamps.  Then I made one that's just a piece of scrapbook paper, folded.  Scrapbook paper is too expensive to use for an envelope unless it's a special occasion, though.  But it looks really good as an envelope! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Sunday

I took a break from cleaning the house for Easter Sunday.  We're having a small gathering, just hubby and me, my brother-in-law, and a single friend.  Hubby is doing the bulk of the cooking but I am doing what I love to do - bake a cake for dessert.  I'm making a pound cake that I made for Christmas.  It's delicious!  I found the recipe in a little book called The Pound Cake Cookbook by Bibb Jordan.  It may be out of print now.

Candied Ginger & Brandy Pound Cake
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup brandy
1 cup small diced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 tsp. almond or orange extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9 1/2" bundt pan.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time to the batter, beating well after each addition.  In a bowl, whisk together the powdered ginger, cake flour, and salt.   Add 1/2 the flour to the batter.  Then add the cream.  Gently but thoroughly blend in the remaining flour.  Fold in the chopped ginger, brandy, and extract.  Fold thoroughly but do not overbeat.  Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Serves 16.