Friday, January 2, 2015

Put Your Dreams in Motion

Greetings, friends. Happy New Year 2015!

I can hardly believe it! Another year has entered the history books, and the "new" century seems to be racing along at breakneck speed.

A number of life happenings took me away from my blog for almost all of 2014, but I'm hoping for more opportunities to post in 2015. I've continued my love of crochet and Copic markers since my last post, and I've also developed a new love: mixed media! I hope many of you will join me on my journey of creativity as I discover more about this and other handmade crafts. You'll see a return to some old favorites - and maybe some new ones, too.


The canvas above expresses one of my primary goals for 2015 to put my dreams in motion! This seems especially important as I look forward to the next several years and planning for retirement. I'll continue to work at something, but what that might be remains a mystery for now. Still, I know that I will have a better idea as I explore some of my options. I hope you'll stop by again soon to check on my progress.

Thanks for visiting today. I wish you great joy, good health, and happiness in the coming year. May God bless!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Music is Life - Scrapbook Layout

Hello.

I switched up the order of my posts just a little bit today, as I promised a new card, but haven't yet finished editing videos. If you visited hoping to see that, please be flexible and join me again in a few days for that post.

Meanwhile, just recently I started trying out some new techniques for scrapbooking - at least new to me! I've used these before for card making, but not for my scrapbooks. I've been a more traditional scrapbooker for years, but now I'm attempting to enter the 21st Century!  :-)

I've used a sketch for this page from my newly-purchased book, A Year of Sketches: 52 Scrapbook Sketches - 2013, by Lisa Echerd of Lisa E Design. I can highly recommend this sketchbook to give you some fabulous layout ideas for any number of photos. On top of that, there are links to Lisa's highly popular YouTube process videos. Check it out!

Sample page from Lisa Echerd's newly-published Sketchbook

Here's the page I made from Lisa's wonderful sketch. As you can see, I switched it up just a little bit here and there.  I started with a plain white 12" x 12" piece of cardstock. I used a painting stencil, 30599 Debbie's Floral, from Plaid Folk Art, and applied Ranger Distress Ink in Broken China and Peeled Paint colors to make the flower "frames" for my photos. Then I used some teal Heidi Swapp Color Shine mist to add extra color and interest to the page.


I affixed the two photos of my husband and sister-in-law on a navy blue piece of cardstock, and cut out two "tickets" and two deckle-edge circles for embellishment.

And did I mention I'm so very proud of them both for pursuing their love of music? They're both very talented musicians, and I love it when I get to hear them play. As a side note for any of you who may have played an instrument years ago, but gave it up as an adult, I hope you'll check out the New Horizons International Music Association. This group has spread across the world, offering new opportunities to older musicians, or even those who have never played before. I'm happy to say I helped start the Catawba Valley New Horizons Band in Hickory, NC, and it's still going strong.

But back to my page. I located some complementary designer paper for the horizontal strips and printed out some journaling on vellum. I decided to go for a transparent paper for journaling so that I didn't cover up my great stencil pattern on the bottom right corner. Finally, I added the title, Music is LIFE, along the bottom of the photos.


I must say, starting from a sketch made this page go very quickly. I'm absolutely delighted with the results! I enjoyed using some of my card techniques on this scrapbook page as well. I could get used to this!

Well, that's it for another day. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll come again soon. Happy crafting!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Caught Your Heart - FTHS January Stamp of the Month

Hello.

Today I'm featuring the January stamp of the month by From the Heart Stamps. It seems particularly appropriate as we are busily making our annual Valentine creations.

This cute little kitty is doing what many kitties do: holding a heart. So, 'fess up now.  Is there a kitty holding your heart? 

I will forever remember the time when I was small, and my grandmother always had a cat about. I can remember two that captured me especially. One was a big old tomcat named...you guessed it, Tom! Tom weighed 18 pounds and loved to curl up in my lap, purr, and fall asleep while he got a good rub. 

Then there was "Kitty Baby." Ha! Guess we weren't very original, huh? Kitty Baby was a Persian-Angora mix. She was a deep dusty shade of bluish-gray and had really long fur. I loved her dearly and she was a great addition to our extended family. Then, disaster struck. I was tested for allergies, and being found positive for cats, my grandmother decided it wouldn't do to have Kitty Baby in the house when I visited on weekends.  I was devastated when she gave our little blue angel to my cousin in the next state! Oh my, it was a terrible time. After many years of owning dogs as an adult, I can only imagine how hard that must have been for her. Still, I knew it was only her great love for me that made her do it.

Well, back to my card. This little cutie is colored with Copic Sketch markers. It also features a Fiskar's heart border punch in red, along with a couple of pink papers and plaid pink and white ribbon.


Here's a close-up shot of some of the coloring. I had a lot of fun with stripes in this image.


I repeated the heart border in one of the same papers on the inside of the card to add interest. This card will go to someone in the family who's a cat lover.  Hmmm...now who will it be? So many choices!


Some of you may realize this card used sketch challenge #50 at From the Heart Stamps. As usual, I missed the challenge deadline, which typically comes around much faster than I have time or energy to meet. Oh well, it's still a nice sketch. In fact, I'll be flipping it to feature another cute Valentine card in my next post. After that, I have a new scrapbook page lined up to share.

Thanks for joining me. There are lots of exciting new projects coming up, including a new crocheted lap afghan with an interesting stitch. For those digging out from Winter Storm Leon, or experiencing these extreme, low temperatures in the single digits, I pray you're safe and warm. Peace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wrist Warmers Using Front Post and Back Post Double Crochet

Hello.  Welcome to Karen's Creative.

Today, I want to share a fun crochet project making Lacy Wrist Warmers. You can find the pattern for these particular ones here at FaveCrafts. (This web address was active as of today's post, but if the link ever breaks, contact me through this blog, and I'll try to get it for you. You may be asked to submit your e-mail for free access to patterns at FaveCrafts. Not certain.)



This pattern calls for two yarn colors, but they can easily be made from a single color. I've done both, and it's really not difficult either way.

You may also wish to make some additional adjustments to this pattern. For example, I left out the next-to-last row, as the wrist warmers were already long enough, and I don't like them too close to my fingers. Second, be sure to check your gauge, and change your crochet hook size up or down, depending on your recipient's hand size.

I've made several pairs of these for myself, family, and friends, and everyone just loves them!  I use them at home when my office gets cold and I'm working on the computer. I can also use them in my office at work. Warmth never goes out of style. :-)  But who needs a reason to wear them?  If your
hands are cold, grab a pair and make yourself comfy!

This pattern features front post double crochet and back post double crochet. This is much simpler than it sounds, but for those who may not have tried it, here's a short video to take you through it step-by-step.


I hope this has given you the confidence you need to tackle this quick, fun project. No need for cold hands any more! Advanced level crocheters can finish these in a few hours.  I can easily do 1 to 1 1/2 pieces per night after work.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll join me again soon for a couple of new card projects. May God bless!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My All-Time Favorite Crochet Afghan Pattern

Hi, everybody.

As we wrap up another year, I wanted to share with you a favorite crochet pattern over the years. There's such a variety of patterns in the world that it seems almost inconceivable to me that I've used this one over and over. Nevertheless, I've made four afghans with Granny's Garden in a variety of colors. It just comes out so pretty that I can't quite help myself. I highly recommend it.  (NOTE: If you want to print the pattern, I also recommend that you print directly from the web page. If not, you may be asked to load several applications onto your computer. I make no statement as to the wisdom of that.)

So, what do I love about the Granny's Garden pattern?

First, I love the pattern, which you'll find in the link above, in case you haven't already clicked it. I had an original printed copy of the pattern, but now that I have a physical piece to go by, I don't really need the printed pattern any more. (I may find it again one day, but if I don't, that's okay.) 

Second, if you're the type of person who gets bored making granny square after granny square, this pattern offers a lot of variety in that you get to make two different (solid) color squares, and then you work in rounds for a time with a third color.  And just when you're finishing up a set of those long rounds around your squares, you get to make squares again!  Perfect!  :-)

Third, I love the way the squares and rows are joined.  I posted a video earlier about how I crochet squares together, with no sewing! Although I can't remember precisely, this is probably the pattern that taught me to do that.

Fourth, I love the potential for variation in this pattern. The fourth afghan I made used a multitude of colors instead of just three. I consider it my best afghan ever!  Here are a few pictures of the last and best of the four.  

 



To hear more about how I altered this pattern to make it my own, here's a short video.



I hope you've enjoyed this bit of crochet fun. I'll post another video soon on how to work front post double crochet (fpdc) and back post double crochet (bpdc), which makes a really interesting piece.  For paper crafting fans, I'll also be putting up some new card and scrapbook creations soon.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy New Year 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas - Season of Wonder

Merry Christmas!


I hope that your Christmas Day was filled with love and laughter this year.  As we spent time with family in the last few days, we experienced a sense of wonder as we watched the little children rip open their gifts and see what treasures they held.  Happiness comes so easily to them, it seems. Perhaps we should take a lesson from them as adults!

Today, of course, is Boxing Day. Apparently it originated as a day when employers would give "boxes" of gifts to tradesmen, servants, or people of "lesser status."  Isn't that interesting?

Hopefully, many of us participate in similar practices.  One well-known practice is participation in Operation Christmas Child, which Franklin Graham leads.  Our church is a collection center for those boxes, and it was a very fruitful year.

Others participate in taking tags from local trees placed for the purpose of providing gifts to children in low-income families.  And for those of us Charles Dickens fans, you may recognize another practice that was included in "A Christmas Carol," when two gentlemen approached Ebenezer Scrooge about providing for the poor and needy. That, unfortunately, didn't go so well...at least not at first!

How heartwarming it is to hear of people's benevolence at this time of year. God has provided each of us with something we can do to lift the spirits of others. Sometimes it may simply be to offer a kind word of encouragement - a "free" gift.  And I have always found that no matter what we do to be a blessing to others, we are often more blessed by the giving than are those who receive. Isn't it amazing how that works?

But back to Boxing Day.  Many families begin "boxing" away their Christmas decorations on December 26. But what is being boxed?  Is it just the physical decorations, or is it more?  Let us hope that our packing doesn't rob us of our feelings of benevolence, our wonder at the arrival of the baby Jesus, or of the hope that we find in the start of another year.

As we begin 2014, may we each do our part to make our world a better place. Thank you for stopping by to spend these few minutes with me. I cherish your presence here and wish for you a joyous new beginning at this most wondrous time of the year.  May God bless!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter has arrived?

Hello everyone.

It's hard to believe that wintertime officially arrived today. Normally it's in the 20s to 40s this time of year, but today?  It was mid 70s!  Really.  I went out in just a light sweatshirt and thought I'd roast before I could get home and change it!

It may seem funny to comment on an unusually warm winter, but...that much warmth this time of year generally spells storms.  Tomorrow is expected to be no different. We're supposed to have thunderstorms and wind. Hold onto your lawn ornaments!

Well, now for a bit cheerier subject - my card for the day. This cutie is Candy Cane Anneke, the December stamp of the month by From the Heart stamps. Check out other gallery entries here.  (No one can say I'm not loyal, as I feature of lot of their digital images.) I have lots of other brands, but find these images incredibly fun to color with my Copic Sketch markers.



My Copic color choices include:
Hat and candy cane: R22, 24, 29, 39, 59, 89
Skin: E00, E11, BV00
Cheeks: R20
Eyes: B00
Hair: E50, E31, E44
Dress: B63, B66, B69
Boots: E42, E55, E35
Outline and white shading: W1

Here's a closer look:



This card features navy blue cardstock, white X-Press It blending card for the image, Spellbinders Nestabilities Lacey Ovales die cut, a royal blue oval taped behind the die cut for depth, and Liquid Pearls accents on Echo Park 6x6 "Winter Wishes" paper pad.

And on the inside, I have more Echo Park paper, along with my greeting from Hero Arts Stamp and Cut Season's Greetings set.

 
 
I had a wonderful time creating this little darling. In fact, I really couldn't help myself as I made several cards from this image with various color combinations and designs.
 
 





 
 
The first and third images directly above also feature embossed snowflakes in white opaque, as well as some gold and diamond colored Stickles in the center of the designer paper snowflakes. Hope you enjoy my fun cards.
 
Now, to all you and yours, may you have a safe, happy, healthy Christmas. May God bless us each and every one, as we celebrate once again the newborn King!