Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DIY Christmas Card + Printable

Every Christmas, I try to send out some Christmas cards to family and close friends.
I don't tend to like buying cards at the store because it feels less thoughtful to me, however making twenty-something individual cards is just too time consuming.  
Last Christmas, I decided to put my creativity to the computer about 6 handmade cards into the season.  I still made all of our cards, but this time I could mass produce the results much more efficiently.

After I designed the card, I printed it on craft colored card stock in black ink.  Printing the inside message is as simple as flipping the paper over and printing on the other side - unless you have a fancy printer that does the flipping for you.

Using the open source program Scribus, I took the design from one of my hand drawn cards and put it into effect on the computer.  It was very simple text placement, but allowed me to make some small handmade changes to each card to still give it a handmade approach.
Handmade Inspiration

 Card in Scribus with Hand-Drawn Details

Interior card message.

  Using a straight edge, markers, and prismacolor pencils, you can use this generalized card to put some handmade touches to all of your cards.

Adding those embellishments are as easy as this - just make a mixture of horizontal, vertical, thick, and thin lines.


I tried to stick with Christmas or winter colors like reds, greens, blues, silver, and gold in the colors I used.  Let Christmassy patterns inspire you like candy canes, Christmas sweaters and snowflakes.

This year, maybe you're like me and like to add some handmade touches to your cards, but don't want to design them yourself?  You're in luck, because you can print this card for free at your home!

Below are two links, one for the front, the other for the inside of the card.  
Link to Merry and Bright Card FRONT
Link to Merry and Bright Card INTERIOR
I hope the printable will serve you well, and get your creative juices flowing this holiday season!  Or maybe even hand it off to the kids to make and send out!
Merry Christmas!
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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tulsa Woodward Park and Conservatory

Back in August, Tyler and I visited Tulsa while he had a work conference.  So it was more like I visited Tulsa by myself and then ate dinner with Tyler after he worked.  I made a draft for this blog post in August and forgot about it (we've been really busy these past few months), so it is going to be posted in November.  Lucky for you me hubby is working this Saturday, so I have some time to do some things for myself and with the blog!

Although I've lived in Oklahoma all my life, Tulsa was usually a bit far for my family to travel since we've always been in the central part, so I haven't been there many times.  I went to the renowned venue Cain's Ballroom for my first concert when I was 15, another concert at the BOK Center in college (do you get my drift that Tulsa has all the good venues, OKC is trying to catch up but not quite there yet).  I went to the art museums while in high school, but otherwise I have not been there besides trips that were for very specific purposes or that were under close supervision.  

This trip I discovered that Tulsa has some very amazing recreational areas and parks - Woodward Park reminded me much of some of the large parks I saw when I visited the U.K.  This particular post I'm going to focus on this beautiful conservatory.

Near the historical society there is the Lord & Burnham Conservatory with some very beautiful cacti, ferns, orchids, and other exotic plants.  It has separate rooms, all with their own climate to accommodate certain species of plants.

From the Cactus Room:

I really can't get over the webbing on these.  I think they are so beautiful. 

The gardener there said he had just watched this flower open up about 45 minutes before I came there.  The flower emits a smell to draw the flies, which in turn pollinate it.  

The Tropical Room - has palms, ferns, etc.  

I just love the white infrastructure - it was built in 1924.

I enjoyed at least a good hour walking through the conservatory observing the different plants.  The gardener was also happy to walk me around and show me some plants that were particularly special or difficult to care for.  There's just something about this old structure that is also pleasant.

Hopefully I'll have some time now to share a little more often on the blog what we've been up to and maybe some projects here and there.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

OKC National Memorial at Night

A few weeks ago, Tyler and I visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial at night.  Since I've been an adult, I've been to the memorial in the day time, but have not visited after dark.  

For my readers who are unaware about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, here is a little back story.  On April 19, 1995, two men planned a bombing using a truck and explosives parked near the building, and set it off in the morning by the Murrah federal building.  The explosion and collapsed building resulted in the loss of 168 lives, including 19 children who were in a daycare on the second floor.

The memorial is in the place of the former Murrah building.  It consists of two walls representing the moments before and after the explosion, and a reflecting pool between the walls that represents the moment the explosion happened.  Off to the side of the reflecting pool are 168 chairs representing each life lost.

The 19 children are represented by smaller chairs, and each chair's location is determined by which floor each person was in the building.

Although Tyler and I were only five years old when this occurred, it is something that all Oklahoma children our age can recall.  Not only can we remember the images of the building and rescue crews from the news, but for many subsequent years at school each student was asked to bring 168 pennies to help fund building the OKC National Memorial.  Each anniversary I remember bringing my 168 pennies to school and we would take a moment of silence to remember their lives prior to turning the pennies in to our teachers.  

When I was older, probably middle school or high school, I went with classmates to the museum inside the national memorial.  The museum has pieces of the original building, as well as video interviews with survivors, family members, and rescue crews.  One entire exhibit is dedicated to each child who lost their life, which is particularly moving.  Their families donated a few toys or belongings of each child - I remember it felt strange that I often had some of the same toys as these children.

I believe this was the first time I saw and understood what we now know as the Oklahoma Standard - when the community comes together in moments of crisis with great generosity.  I continued to see this throughout my life as Oklahoman's responded to various towns and neighborhoods destroyed by tornadoes, and Oklahoma's response to other catastrophic events in the state and nation.  

Do you recall any major events that shaped the culture you grew up in, or an event in your childhood that changed you?  

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

DIY Herringbone Linoleum Stamp + Making a Card

Back in high school art class, I once made a linoleum print, which was my first and only time to work on that type of project.  Although that project was quite time consuming and large, here I am seven years later taking it on once again, however this time much smaller and with a greater variety of uses.  I've used the herringbone print to create backgrounds for a couple different cards so far, and believe it will be even more useful with a larger variety of inkpad colors.

To do this project, you'll need a piece of linoleum that you can find your local arts and crafts store, as well as a linoleum cutter starter set.  I bought a 4" x 3" piece.

 Here you can see the different types of blades you'll get in the starter set.  Some are for cutting large pieces of linoleum away, others for detail work.

On the long edge, make marks every inch on both sides of the piece of linoleum.

 Use a straightedge to draw a straight line from one side to the other.

Along the short ends, make marks every centimeter, and do the same connecting each tic mark across to make straight lines.

Now you have an easy grid to help keep your herringbone diagonal lines going at the same angle.

Continue using a straightedge to draw diagonal lines.  I chose to not have every line meet up for a mismatched appearance.

This is the blade I chose to use to cut out the lines for the herringbone pattern.

Use a metal straight edge along the side of the blade to ensure you cut the line straight.

 Always make sure the cut is deep enough that it won't show up when stamped on paper.

 Just cut out every line you drew with the tool until you're done.

My final result.

Now you can test your creation out with ink.

 My linoleum pad is larger than the ink pad, so I just had to blot it all over until the ink appeared even.

Press the linoleum on paper and press down all around it.

The ink didn't transfer completely due to the textured paper, but I preferred it this way so that I could write on top of the pattern.

Later, I brought out the calligraphy pens to make a card for a wedding we had earlier this year.

Since the herringbone transfer was only about 50%, it allowed the 100% transfer of the calligraphy ink to stand out over the pattern.

Linoleum prints are a great way to create handmade crafts that you can continue to use over and over!  Just remember that whatever you do on the linoleum block will transfer backward!

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