Okay, not technically a project but after over 28 years in Florida I felt like I should at least see Lake Okeechobee. It is after all the largest lake in a single state in the US, the second largest lake bordered completely by the US (largest is Lake Michigan) and 7th largest lake in the US (thank you Wikipedia).
My husband and I had talked about taking the Okeechobee Waterway across the state in our boat years ago but never did. The approximately 15 hour trip would have taken us from Florida’s east coast, through Lake Okeechobee (via several canals, locks and rivers on each end) and over to the Florida’s west coast.
So this month we took a picnic lunch to the lake by car (about a 45 minute drive to the Port Mayaca – the closest viewpoint from our home). After looking at Google Earth I had very low expectations of what we would find but I at least wanted a look at the lake and the lock at Port Mayaca. Both the Atlantic and the Gulf are lower than the lake so there are two locks on the east side and three on the west side to raise and then lower boats to and from the lake.
There is a dike around the lake (for a 100 mile circumference) and a trail around the top of the dike (LOST: Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail) so you can’t see the lake from the road. You have to get to the top of the dike. What I hadn’t expected was a nice slope from the top of the dike down to the bank of the lake with a couple of benches to sit and look out. This is a picture from the bank of the lake looking back up at our car parked on the top of the dike.
I did expect the vastness of the lake, but being an ocean girl all my life I was surprised at how ocean-like it felt and how peaceful and relaxing it was.
The pictures below show: the view from the south side of the lock; the view from the north side of the lock; a tug boat moving through the lock; the view of the west side of the lock (the Lake Okeechobee side); a view looking back to the canal from the east coast of Florida.
And this is a view from the east looking west past the lock to Lake Okeechobee.
All in all it was a fun day and I’m glad we finally made it. It was definitely worth the trip!
This month I purchased two Stampin’ Up die sets from the Occasions Catalog (2017). One is called Dragonfly Dreams. It coordinated perfectly with an old Stampin’ Up set that I had called Wonderful Wings. I heat embossed two dragonflies with gold embossing powder and cut out the third with the Dragonfly Dreams dies (in solid brown and detailed foreground in white). On the second card I cut out the line of butterflies with the dies and then inlaid it back into the white cardstock with a blue background showing through. I embellished both cards with rhinestones and sequins and stamped envelopes to match.
Stampin’ Up Dragonfly Dreams
Wonderful Wings (inside of card)
I also purchased the Timeless Tags die set. I used two of the dies to make Easter eggs (background and foreground). I debossed the background with a hexagon pattern to give the illusion of chicken wire. Since I purchased $50 in products I qualified for a free stamp set from the Sale-A-Bration catalog. I have been in love with the chickens in the Hey, Chick stamp set from the moment I saw them. They just bring a smile to my face. I used them for the inside of my Easter cards. For the coordinating envelopes I stamped the egg from the Hey, Chick set and made myself the sentiment using my Sihouette Mint.
Silhouette Mint Stamp
Finally I CASEd a card from Jeanie Stark to make the flower card. (BTW, her instructions are fantastic!) Hers is far better but I am still happy with my results. I embossed the background of this card with polka dots.
I have been experimenting with lots of different stamps, embossing folders, dies, and specialty papers as well as Silhouette Cameo shapes to create several different Valentine’s Day cards. Some I liked better than others but here is the lineup for this year.
It has been several months of family drama for me but all family members seem to be slowly on the mend (thank God). But that is why I a so late to post for December.
My niece got herself a planner in December which inspired me to do the same. I then created some customized stickers to meet my planner needs. I used my Silhouette Cameo to print and cut the stickers. It took several tries to get the check list boxes to fit my small planner but now I am set for the year.
This month I decided to change up the thank you notes that I send out with my Etsy orders (bydeezyne.etsy.com). I love making hand made cards and always send a thank you note but usually they are computer generated. This month I decided to make them with my stamp sets to satisfy my card making obsession.
thank you leaves
thank you pine cones
etsy thank you cards
Much more fun! The cards below are a new set from Avery Elle called Berry Good. I stamped the first card with black ink but then decided to emboss the rest with black embossing powder. I colored the peaches with Stampin’ Up colored pencils and their watercolor blender. I added some rhinestones just because.
Here are some more 3 x 3 thank you notes. These were quick and easy. I put strips of washi tape on card stock and die cut the stars. I embossed and scored the card base and added the sunshine washi tape and attached the stars with dimensionals. Love the results!
Here are my 2016 Christmas cards. I used a variety of products and techniques this year.
Starting in the upper left corner I used the double layering technique with a stamp set called Peaceful Pinecones. It was super easy and one of my favorites. Below that I played with my Misti to position pine trees from the Joyful Christmas stamp set in a variety of colors. Both stamp sets are from PaperTrey Ink (https://www.papertreyink.com/stamps/peaceful-pinecones-stamp-set/).
In the top right is a patchwork Christmas tree I made using a variety of patterned glitter papers that I punched out using the top of the Stampin Up Christmas tree punch. I adhered them to white card stock and then embossed the front. Of all my cards this was the easiest and most effective. The red star and the Joy were die cut from red foil paper (all from Stampin’ Up).
On the bottom are two cards I printed with my computer onto with cardstock. Once in red and again in green. I cut the card stock in half horizontally and repositioned on my card front. I then embossed the card front with snowflakes and added sequins.
The cards above were all done with a combination of my Silhouette Cameo and Stampin’ Up Die Cuts (for the ornaments, Joy and the bow). With embossing on the white card stock and sentiments from Stampin’ Up Word Play (tidings of comfort & Joy) and Wondrous Wreath (Happy Wonderful Christmas).
Above are three cards I made using the Stampin’ Up bird punch and some die cuts from my Silhouette cameo for the trees and the window. I’m still in love with this punch.
For these last three cards I used some techniques from Jennifer McQuire. I’m sorry to say that my results were nowhere near as beautiful as hers but I wanted to try her techniques for heat embossing. For the Merry cards I embossed Stampin’ Up Seasonally Scattered with white embossing powder on red card stock and with red embossing powder on white card stock. I cut the card stock horizontally and the repositioned on the front of my cards. For the Noel Wreathe I tried layered gold embossing powder and was very disappointed in my results. But hey. At least I tried.
So here is the whole gallery of cards for this year. It was fun to try new techniques and some I will definitely be using again for cards throughout the new year.
This month I have been trying to learn brush lettering and thought I would share what I have learned so far.
Tools of the Trade: There are tons of brush options out there from actual water color brushes, to Crayola markers, to Tombow brush pens and the like. I think the Crayola markers are a great way to start. They are cheap and easy to use. After struggling for a month with a Prismacolor brush pen I finally bought a cheap set of Crayola markers and the brush lettering started to click (below). I then “graduated” to a set of Tombow dual brush pens that worked relatively well (above).
I just received an order of Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens that everyone on Instagram seems to swear by and I’m looking forward to experimenting with them (the big drawback with them is that they aren’t available locally so I had to order them online). It looks like the Fudenosuke Brush Pen may be between the Crayola markers and the dual brush pens in terms of hardness and difficulty of use. I tried a watercolor brush with watercolors briefly but that seemed to add an unnecessary degree of difficulty. I think you really need to master the techniques first before trying that and I’m not there yet.
Scale: I had a tough time with scale and I think scale is definitely linked to size and type of pen. Initially I think I was trying to write too small. With the Tombow brush pens and the Crayola markers 3/4 inch seems to be the right size between base line and x line (bottom and top of most lower case letters). The new Fudenosuke Brush Pen have a smaller tip which allows a smaller scale (1/4 – 1/2″).
Slant: I don’t typically slant my writing at all in my day to day life, but for some reason slanting the letters seemed to work better for me. It was also helpful to slant my paper about 45 degrees (or maybe more) to the front of my desk to write. Initially I was doing my writing on a pad on my lap which is not a great way to learn.
Embellish your lettering: These embellishments can add enough zing to your lettering to compensate for a less than perfect script.
Shadows: I use either a gray Tombow brush marker or a Faber Design Art Marker (and even the gray Crayola) to shade below and to the right of all the letters. The Tombow is more subtle but it can also “bleed” if it gets too close to the lettering.
Multi tone letters: Lots of ways to do this but my favorite is relettering the bottom part of each letter in a second color. You do this by putting a piece of cardstock over the part you do not want to color and relettering.
Highlights: I put some highlights on my letters with a white gel pen (Mitsubishi Pencil company Signo White Pigment Ink) that I had laying around.
I’m a long way from perfect but it is fun to practice and try new techniques and pens.
I printed the inside sentiment on my computer and the fish stamp on the envelope.
I also made a few Halloween cards on my Silhouette Cameo with die cuts from Silhouette Studio.
Here are a couple more Halloween Cards. The first was made with Stampin’ Up Jar of Love, patterned paper and Washi tape. I also used the double pierced rectangular die from Avery Elle. I used the Silhouette Cameo to print and cut the candy corn for the shaker portion. The second card was made entirely on the Silhouette Cameo – well, okay I used a circle die for the moon – but everything else was Silhouette.
Celebrating the 4th with a few cards using my Silhouette Cameo to cut the stripes (used both negative and positive space), Darice fireworks embossing folder, Stampin’ Up nested star die cut and Lifestyle Crafts polka dot embossing folder.
I purchased and made Stampin’ Up Enjoy the Little Things Project Kit as a gift. I was thrilled with the way each of the panels turned out and kept two for myself. In fact I was so inspired I have started making my own to hang as clipboard wall art. It is a nice alternative to card making or scrapbooking and adds a little inspiration to my office. And I can swap them out or make more as my mood changes.