Monday, August 29, 2011

Business of Design

What do you want to be when you grow up?  My sister always wanted to be a nurse; she never waivered.  Some people are born with a life plan all mapped out in their head and some of us still don't know what we want to be when we grow up.  Maybe we just don't want to grow up......

One thing was for sure, I was born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.  When I wasn't drawing or painting, I was making something with whatever happened to be around.  No craft shops back then.  No craft TV shows either.  When I started "crafting" we didn't even have a TV.  I remember my mum and dad making crêpe paper flowers and buying supplies from a tiny room at the top of a flight of narrow rickety stairs, but that's pretty much it.  Oil painting by number kits were coveted presents for Christmas and I remember making Christmas cards with stencils and red, green and yellow paint.  As a teenager, I used to visit the art store at the university with my dad.  I loved the vibrant colours of bottles of ink and infinite colours of pencils and would save my pocket money to buy one or two pencils and perhaps one additional colour of ink each time I visited.  By this time I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer and filled pages and pages of dress designs, but then I decided it would be much more fun to see the world.

I was living in Germany when I discovered hobby shops and quickly started making all kinds of "things".  Mobiles were pretty popular at the time and I remember small fairies with feathers for wings flying from the ceiling of my room.  After I was married in the early 70's, Air Force wives introduced me to Dip'n Drape dolls, Paper Tole plaques and making my own decals from cards and gift wrapping paper.  I'm grown up now, sort of, but I still don't know what I want to be.  I guess I just am who I am - a crafter - there's no escape.  I'm lucky that I get to do what I undoubtedly love for my job, but it does present a challenge sometimes.  I am so busy drawing and creating projects to feature certain products and find new techniques, that I forget to do things that I like to do, and sometimes I even wonder what it is that I like to do..... 

I posed a question to Scrapbook Soup viewers via Facebook about a week ago - "what is your favourite scrapbooking/crafting technique?"  When I ask myself the same question, I have no answer.  I like to do so many things - sewing, hand smocking, crocheting, knitting, decorative painting (not oils), all kinds of paper crafts, embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery, beading/jewelry making, shell crafts - I wrote a book on shell crafts that was published in the early 90's - Seaside Treasures - it was one of my favourite books and it was still on the shelves in Michaels until about 2 years ago.  Design Originals updated it by adding some children's projects and changing the cover, but they kept all my original projects.  I thought that was kinda cool.  Shell crafting apparently isn't subject to fads and trends.  This probably means I'm a "jack of all trades, but master of none"....  I look at it as a way of keeping my creative options open.  I'm pretty much pigeonholed as a "scrapbooker" since I host a scrapbook show, but "google" me and you'll find a lot of references to decorative painting.   No worries - I love it all!  Actually I love the CREATIVITY of it all.....   Here's a few projects I made last year to feature sheer ribbon:

You may have seen them (and a lot more) featured on signage, but probably didn't associate these projects with something I would make.  It's all about being a designer and a business that I love.

Well, time to get back to the drawing board.  Yes, I still draw - with a pencil first, but then it has to end up in Photoshop and Illustrator - the world has definitely changed over the past 50+ years...... y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)   

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parchment Craft 2

I found samples of the bow and rose stencils before I cut them apart to put at the center of the mat.  This is what they look like after you have completed embossing and coloring steps 1 and 2 and piercing in step 3.

The pink pearl mat was dry embossed on each corner using the Mini Scrapboss Stencil.  All the tools, stencils and parchment paper are included in the kit available at Craft Lane Designs.  I used the shape cutter and nested ovals template to cut the double mat, but you can use Spellbinders oval Nestability™ dies too.

Designer Crafts Connection will be posting First Monday projects for September in just over a week and, of course there'll be a GIVEAWAY.........  so Y'all come back now...

Yours truly,
Julie :) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pergamano® and Parchment Craft

Have you heard of Pergamano®?  This the trade name for a company that sells parchment craft supplies.  Parchment Craft is an old craft which is basically a combination of dry embossing and paper piercing (or pin pricking) on parchment paper.  Parchment paper is a very heavy vellum and these techniques yield the most amazingly beautiful and exquisite designs.  You only have to do a "Google" search to see the results.  The challenge that faces us for this type of craft however, is time.  It's definitely not something that can be done quickly.  A number of years ago Fiskars® developed a system whereby dry embossing could be accomplished quickly and easily using a two-part stencil.  The paper you wanted to emboss was sandwiched between two stencils.  The top stencil was used as a guide for the embossing tool and because the identical stencil was underneath all kinds of paper could be embossed.

Based on this technique, Marie Browning, a CHA Designer from Canada, developed a three-part stencil system whereby parchment paper could not only be embossed, but designs could also be pierced.  Parchamoré was successfully sold for a number of years by Fiskars® using their Mini Shape Boss platform. 

As you read earlier, I've been re-organizing my craft room and I found enough supplies to put together 3 Parchment Craft kits for Craft Lane Designs.  Each of the kits has everything you need to hopefully inspire you to dive into some parchment crafting.  Here's a sample of what I made with the Rose and the Bow, three-part stencils.  For this project I cut the designs apart and layered the pieces to create dimension like we did in the 70's with Paper Tole projects:

The parchment rose is at the center and the corners were embossed on pink pearl cardstock with the two part stencil.  It's neither as exquisite nor as beautiful as the samples you'll find on the internet, but it only took an hour!  Y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creative Opportunities

        Have you decided to do something then wondered why you were doing it and ultimately wished you hadn't?   Well it's been that kind of weekend, actually an extended weekend since I probably won't finish until tomorrow and I started last Thursday.  I blame the heat........  I haven't been out much because it's so hot and hanging around my craft room for so long really got to me.  It's always a mess, but usually an organized one......

        It all started when I decided to organize some financial papers.  That part didn't take long, but after cleaning up this one area, it occurred to me that the space I had suddenly created would be the perfect spot for stacks of 12" x 12" paper.  It also meant I'd have to move some old VHS tapes, which I packed up in a box.  Well, you've guessed it, one thing led to another and now I have an even bigger mess on my hands that is no longer organized.  It will be at some point.  For better or for worse I believe that there's a place for everything and everything needs to be in its place.  I hate nothing more than having to search high and low for something when I need it.  If it isn't where it should be, it loses out.  I can't believe how much stuff there is, so I'm also setting supplies aside to photograph and sell at "Craft Lane Designs".  I use the term "sell" loosely.  I give away as much as possible here locally, but I fit as much as I can in USPS "if it fits it ships" boxes and the sale price is basically reimbursement for shipping.  I also put kits together to use for giveaways here on my blog, so I must admit that I add a few dollars here and there which offsets some of the shipping costs for the giveaways.  Hope no one minds, but if you've ever received a package from me, it always includes extra stuff.   I also uncovered a box of brand new punches in the garage and a treasure trove of rubber stamps, so if you're looking for supplies check out my little store - it'll take me a few days to get everything photographed and posted though.

        Tomorrow I'm going shopping.  Have you seen all the great sales now that children are getting ready to go back to school!  There are great deals on Flash Drives (love those for extra storage), storage containers (got a box of 18 shoe box size clear ones for $19 at COSTCO) and there are some great deals on larger containers at Target and Walmart.   Composition books are .50 cents at Office Depot - the covers are great for decorating and you could use them for an Art Journal, depending on what kind of medium you like to work with.  How about I work on a couple and YOU work on a couple.....  I'll show you mine, if you show me yours......  y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :) 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

The August giveaway winner is:


Congratulations!  Please e-mail your address to me by August 22nd and your punches will be on their way!

There'll be another giveaway in September, so y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Books!

You may remember that a couple of months ago I mentioned that I was working on some decorative painting booklets for Deco Art.  It was during that time while I had all my paints and brushes out that I agreed to paint the Bavarian Wedding box for the lady from Kentucky.  Well, guess what - the booklets are back from the printers and here they are:

You'll probably find the booklets in the same aisle where DecoArt paints are sold, or maybe with the glass pieces or stencils.  I purchased all the pieces I used from my local Michaels store.  BTW, the little girl's T-Shirt dress shown at the end of the stencil booklet was made from an adult, size Small T-Shirt.  The child's chair on the front of the stencil book is also from Michaels.  It's easy to paint because it comes unassembled.  You get paint all the pieces first, then put it together.  EZPZ :)

The glass book is my favorite.  I've always loved painting on glass, since there's not much surface prep involved.   Don't you just love this giant Martini glass!  And, not just for punch, these wine glasses are a great table decoration with an LCD candle inside, especially if you paint over the dragonfly wings with DecoArt Craft Twinkle™ paint.
And here's an easy project that anyone can paint.   I used the handle of a paintbrush to make the flowers on the vase!  Even the plate was easy.  I painted on both the front and back of the plate for added dimension.  The booklets include step by step photos along with the instruction and, if you have more questions, you know where to find me  :)

Not sure when they'll be available, but keep checking your local hobby and craft stores!  Y'all come back now.........

Yours truly,
Julie :) 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Babyville Boutique


      My friend Jean and I have been in the Arts & Crafts industry for over 20 years.  Before we became involved with the Craft & Hobby association, we were professional crafters.  Popular in the mid to late 80's we would design handmade items to sell at craft shows, craft malls and boutiques in the areas where we lived and in the 90's we were asked to write instructions for the projects we created to be featured in "how to" craft books.  This was long before Etsy, e-Books and online stores.  Between us we probably created over 300 instructional craft books for a local publisher, which is where we met.  Many of the books we wrote featured projects which were popular during that time, but we soon became involved in creating and designing projects to feature specific manufacturer's products for manufacturers.  Being a designer in any industry is all about creativity and we were constantly coming up with new ideas for manufacturers and wanting to do much more than create projects for a book.  So in 1996 Jean and I combined our talents and formed our own consulting company, Kievlan-McGuffee Design Svcs a full service company for the Arts & Crafts industry.  Our business has grown and evolved over the past 15 years.  We each have different skill sets so we work independently with some clients and as a team with others.  The reason I'm blogging about our company today is because I would like you to join me in congratulating Jean on a wonderful program she developed which is being introduced to consumers this month.

      Many great ideas are born out of a need, and this is how Babyville Boutique™ came to be.   Almost 3 years ago when Jean found out she was going to become a grandmother, her daughter-in-law asked for help in making cloth diapers, diaper covers and more.  With a strong background in sewing and quilting this was no problem for Jean and she quickly developed a pattern to fulfill this need.  Jean wasn't able to find the supplies she needed in local stores, so she decided to search the internet.   After a few months of ordering supplies from various sites and sewing for her daughter-in-law Jean eventually  discovered that her daughter-in-law wasn't the only one looking for ideas.  It became very apparent that there was a whole community of environmentally conscious moms and grandmothers also searching for all kinds of supplies.  There had to be an easier way to make all these supplies more accessible to everyone.  After a while she decided to enlist the help of another designer,  who was knowledgeable in the sewing side of the industry to see what they could come up with.  Ellie Joos had worked for Simplicity Pattern Company and Offray Ribbon so she was the ideal person to help develop Babyville Boutique™,  a coordinating line of embellishments and specialty fabric, which is being introduced this month by Prym Consumer USA.  Whether you're a new mom, or grandmother you have to check this out.  For all the links, photos and information check out Babyville Boutique™, you'll be really glad you did.

Y'all come back now!

Yours truly,
Julie :)