26 December, 2020

Old & new

Between the old and the new year, I'd like to tidy up a bit. My apartment, my thoughts, my things. Because every now and then, it's good to re-evaluate whether everything is really necessary (hint: it isn't). 
And as I'm currently working with paper mostly, I almost forgot what's in my beading stash, but this beautiful flower claps came into my hands whilst cleaning up and I absolutely wanted to add it to a wearable piece of jewelry. By coincidence, I also found a necklace made of polymer clay beads (haven't used polymer clay in years!) which simply didn't match my style anymore. I decided to recycle the beads because I like the marble-effect. Also, they bring back memories of polymer lessons by Klavdija Kurent who would not only show us a new technique every week, but also leave us speechless with her own artistic examples. 
Anyways, I had the clasp and the beads now, but things still didn't fall into place like I imaguined.
... Until I found another set of unused beads in my stash. I believe they're part of an anthracite necklace I once purchased in a box of old jewelry. I've torn it apart but never used its pieces, but now I figured they'd create the perfect addition to what I had in mind.
I like the handmade beads and I'm happy to have given them new life, but most of all, I wanted the necklace to be build around this amazing clasp. 
Therefore, I thought I'd place it prominently on the front part of my necklace instead of hiding it behind my back. From the clasp itself, A row of polymer beads would be the main focus of the necklace, while the anthracite beads would create the rear part - visible from the front and a perfect colour-match with the other elements, but yet subtle enough to remain in the background.
Not quite like I imagined from the beginning but quite interesting in the end, and to be worn the next couple of years until I turn it into something else again.
What is old and new in your crafting corner? Do you combine used and fresh elements, or do you prefer to replace what's out of style? As a hamster, I think combinations can turn out pretty well at times, not only when it comes to crafting.

19 December, 2020

S for snow scene

I'm joining in late, but here is my contribution to the new challenge over at the Alphabet challengeblog: S for snow scene. We'd like to see your snow-inspired creations this fortnight, and I decided to add some cute critters, too.
I thought about creating an actual outdoor scene, but I found this beautiful snowflake print in an old book and I just had to give it a try. I cut it to the size of a slimline card, and matched it with this trio of penguins which unmistakenly comes from the bugaboo collection. 
I coloured them with coloured pencils and placed them on brown cardboard cut outs which resemble windows. However, the card still seemed a bit empty.
I went through my stash again and applied pearls of different sizes onto the snowflakes. The penguin frames do stand out a little bit due to the adhesive tape, and in combination with the pearls the whole card has a bit of a 3D effect. Also, I added a couple of tiny pearls on the images itself to replace the snowflake-dots.

613 avenue create: ATG with optional twist "cute critters"
a bit more time to craft: ATG
gem of a challenge: ATG
always fun challenges: polar bears/penguins
as you like it: favourite person to create for (I create cards for both family and friends, but I guess it's a bit easier to create for friends who don't expect anything over the top. Family doesn't either, to be honest, but I'll always try to make something extra nice which means more planning & effort to make sure everything is just as I imagined. For friends on the other hand, I can be more playful with designs, digis, sentiments...)
C.R.A.F.T.: Christmas
Christmas card throwdown: any 2020 challenge (September challenge "polar bears/penguins")
Christmas with the cuties: feature a creature
crafters castle: ATG
crafty calendar: Christmas
crafty catz: ATG
crafty gals corner: tis the season
crafty sentiments: ATG
craftyhazelnutschristmaschallenge: ATG as long as it's Christmas
creative inspirations: Ho Ho Ho
creative moments: ATG
cute card thursday: ATG
do-all kreatives: winter wonderland
everybody art: Christmas animals
kreativtanten: ATG Christmas
love to craft: ATG 
love to scrap: winter wonderland
make my monday: Christmas
morgans artworld: ATG
pennys papertake: ATG
scrapping4fun: Christmas or winter
12 months of Christmas: optional theme "ATG"
sketchy challenges: Christmas
through the craftroom door: ATG
use your stuff: winter/snow/Christmas
vesela hiska: holiday season
winter wonderland: ATG Christmas
worldwide open design team challenge: ATG

15 December, 2020

Český kubismus

As the year comes to an end, I think we can all just skip the "looking back" thing and make sure that 2020 will soon be buried without a trace. Jokes aside, it has been a year of twists and challenges for everyone. The whole "staying home" thing didn't bother me all too much because I'm quite used to spending time behind books (or in my crafting corner). Being the introvert I am, I could tick off most recommendations of the spring lockdown without changing anything about my life at all. Why would I need to leave the house at all if it wasn't for work/school, grocery shopping or a walk all by myself?
On the other hand, I couldn't get around much even if I wanted. Being fresh out of hospital and not able to care for myself, it took quite a while to regain my independence. 
Closed borders were a blessing in some way as I planned to reward myself with a trip to Prague as soon as I'd be fit again, but since I could barely stand it was kind of soothing to know that I couldn't have travelled anyway (it's a cruel and unusual twist, but has probably kept me from going insane). However, the travel restrictions also meant that I'd end up in my apartment with no possibility to get home just to get my medication, and postponing my check-ups even when the healthcare system started working again, because I simply couldn't make it across the border... Until a couple of days before the official re-opening, when it suddenly became "absolutely clear" that students have "always" been among the exceptions for cross-border travel. I'm not a violent person usually, but I certainly felt like I could punch somebody in the face. 

Anyway, in a phase of missing Prague and the Czech Republic, I took a bunch of delica beads from my stash and created this pendant. It is obviously inspired by the Czech tricolor, with a touch of gold for the cord. And even though I'm quite familiar with many things Czech, I'll admit that I usually have to think for a moment before putting the necklace on to make sure the colours are displayed correctly
There isn't much to say about the design and the execution of the project, but I'll probably have to clarify that the true inspiration for the necklace didn't come from the Czech flag itself. Rather than that, it was inspired by my trips to the most beautiful city in the world, a town I know pretty well by now (well enough to navigate without maps and/or asking for help), a place that will always offer something new and give me joy just when I think of it. In an unusual twist of events, a quick visit of Prague was the last "normal" thing I did back in autumn while waiting for my histology results, as well as the first thing I did a while later when I was already within a new reality, rushing from one doctor to another to discuss further diagnostics and treatment.
What prompted the creative process eventually were Plečnik's majestic brown and golden flagpoles on the first courtyard of Prague castle, in combination with the celebrations of November 17th I could witness last year. Add Czech cubism and everything fell into place somehow. With this in mind, the first thing I was sure of upon planning the ornament was actually the combination of brown cord and golden clasp - the rest just happened, as it usually does in my crafting corner.
In yet another twist, I managed to return to my favourite city by the end of summer to spend a couple of wonderful days with my sister, wandering through the empty streets and squares - a sight so unusual and yet so wonderful. Of course, we'd visit the castle, too, and here they are: the culprits in full glory. 

moving along with the times: favourite winter/summer holiday activity (does "going to Prague" count? Winter or summer, sunshine or rain, I'm totally in love with the city and its people. I like going back over and over again to re-visit places I've been to, as well as discover new sights all over the place. And I'm totally not checking the travel restrictions every day to make sure I won't miss the first opportunity to go back.)
through the craftroom door: ATG
wortartwednesday: ATG
worldwide open design team challenge: ATG

04 December, 2020

R for rainbow

Who is already counting the days until Christmas? Who has prepared everything already - written all the cards, decorated the house, baked all the cookies? Who is still procrastinating, or decided to keep it simple this year?

I must admit that I haven't paid much attention to the festive season during the past years. We have always done our share of card-making and decorating when we were kids, but once in University, I was usually just glad to have a couple of days off that I could spend at home doing nothing. I still like to create Christmas projects, I will have have fun in the snow and walk through the illuminated city, but I'm absolutely fine with spending Christmas day on the couch back home, or even behind my desk in my apartment. I assume "the circumstances" will not make it different from any other year to me, but I can imagine that for those who are used to having people around it may be more difficult to adapt. 
However, as hard as it may be to keep the distance to your dear ones, I find it even harder to believe that "the Rona" cares about whether there's a holiday coming up or not (or what time of day it is, for that matter). I'm sure technology can be used to safely catch up with those who matter, and focus on the true message of Christmas away from all the bling and a hundred necessities that don't rerally matter. 
There will be enough time for hugs once the numbers go down, but with healthcare systems all over the world being dangerously close to a breakdown, it's definitely NOT the time now. Give the frontline workers a break, and give yourself a break, too: a break from all the errands you don't have to do this year and all the chores you can skip because nobody will come over anyway (because, aren't we all just looking for an excuse to skip chores?). 

To bring a bit more colour in this cold and grey season, we have a perfect Rainbow theme over at the Alphabet challengeblog
I thought about creating a non-card project for the longest time: a rainbow pendant came to mind, a 3D rainbow made of God knows what which I'd combine with cotton clouds and crystal beads. I also went through my stash of jewelry supplies and contemplated about creating a rainbow bracelet.
However, I soon returned to papers and prepared a card. 
I was looking for a rainbow themed digi at first, but in the end, I decided to create the rainbow myself. Different ideas came and went, but I couldn't even make up the occasion, let alone the technique I'd like to use. In the end, I opted for a festive card and the rest just happened somehow.
The idea didn't come overnight, though. Rather than that, it came in creative flashes that slowly melted together. The combination of kraft and colourful papers was a major theme from the beginning, but I didn't quite know how to realize it. 
In the end, I tried a Christmas tree that would be made of tiny punched pieces of different colours in order to create the rainbow-ish transition. I found just the perfect heart-shaped punch in my drawer, and in a funny coincidence, the brown that comes after green (and technically isn't part of the rainbow), fits perfectly to create the trunk of the unusual Christmas tree.
However, the card took me way longer than expected. I went through my paper stash to find all the tiny leftovers because I really didn't want to punch straight into a big new sheet of paper. It's a perfect way of using up paper pieces that you just can't throw away, but the effect on your remaining paper stash will be absolutely non-existent. Also, I had to balance between using all colours of the rainbow to create the perfect transition and not pick too many colours because I'd be limited by the width of the kraft card base.
Starting at the top, I glued each heart to the kraft base, continuing from top to bottom. I did try the shape before gluing, but I decided to work without marking the rows with a pencil, which is why the hearts aren't all even and at the same distance. Also, if you look very closely, you'll see that the tree tends to lean a bit more to the right side of the card base. To finish off the card, I placed a golden star sticker atop the tree, as well as a Christmas greeting underneath. 
Surprisingly, I'm quite pleased with how everything turned out. In an unexpected turn, I especially like how interesting the 3D "flakes" look because it somehow never occured to me that the glued paper pieces would actually stand out on the card base. 

613 avenue create: ATG
a bit more time to craft: ATG
allsorts challengeblog: Christmas flowers/wreaths/trees
crafty sentiments: ATG
craftyhazelnutschristmaschallenge: ATG as long as it's Christmas
creative inspirations: Ho Ho Ho!
creative moments: ATG
cute card thursday: ATG
kreativtanten: ATG Christmas
pennys papertake: ATG
scrapping4fun: Christmas
12 months of Christmas: optional theme "ATG"
sketchy challenges: Christmas
through the craftroom door: ATG
use your stuff: mood board (Christmas, kraft/brown)
vesela hiska: holiday season

24 November, 2020

Birthday fun

Just another quick card, this time for a male birthday. I had so much fun creating the male card for our "Old folk" Alphabet challenge lately that I decided to use the same wonderful background paper in another card.
However, I picked a more "respectful" digi this time - it's still bugaboo, but I opted for a classical birthday image to send greetings to my wasn't-meant-to-be father in law. 
For the colouring, I've used coloured pencils that match the background paper. For an extra splash of yellow I used a strip of cardboard that holds the birthday sentiment. 
Looking back, the balloons might be a bit too fun and childish for a grown up gentleman, but I guess that as long as celebrations are being put on hold due to the circumstances of this very strange year, the birthday cards are allowed to be more colourful than usual even for the gown ups, don't they?


20 November, 2020

Remember the stars

Just another quick card before the weekend, in order to announce the newest challenge over at the Alphabet challengeblog. We're featuring the letter "Q" this fortnight, which may seem incredible hard at first, but what we'd like to see from you are projects featuring a "quote". Easy peasy, right? Show us your creations that include a quote/sentiment, which I'm sure will be something you can master.
For a little inspiration, I created a simple sympathy card. The background was actually a try for my first contribution as part of the DT back for the "navy blue" challenge. However, I thought the blue is more of a black-ish shade, which is why I've used another navy blue paper in the end. 
From the beginning, I wanted to pair the starry background with a calming quote, and I finally opted for this one which roughly translates as "In the dark of sadness shine the stars of remembrance". I printed it on white paper which I placed on a silver cardboard in the background.
To enhance the starry theme, I decided to place tiny pearls and star-shaped gemstones on a number of stars. In combination with the quote, it helped me to turn the astrology themed paper into a sympathy card. 
For a bit more stars, I decided to add a few shots from last winter. 
However, don't be fooled by what looks like the milky way - it's just the result of taking pictures of heavy snowfall using flash ;)

06 November, 2020

P for party

Another new challenge over at the Alphabet challengeblog, and I've decided to give you a non-card inspiration this time. We're having a "party" theme because it's our 10-year anniversary, and since I'm bringing the cookies, I wanted to present them in a proper way. 
I took a cardboard box from my stash to wrap it with a scrapbook paper. I'm not sure what was in the box originally, I think it was some cereal or pancake mix. As it was now meant to hide a sweet treasure, I wanted to make the cover look somehow delcious, too. 
I went for a cookie & cake scrapbook paper, however, I soon realized that it would be just a little too short to cover the whole circumference of the container. To prevent an awkward gap of original packaging mixing with the new looks, I cut a strip of brown paper and placed it where the scrapbook ends wouldn't meet. 
It may not show well on the photos, but parts of some sweets are covered in shimmering glitter decorations, and once you open up the lid... 
... you'll find my favourite cookies from the zero waste shop! (There's a little tear in the cardboard where the aluminum foil used to be, but it's not visible when the box is full. However, as these are my favourites, it wasn't full anymore for the photo shooting, and I didn't manage to get to the store to stock up.)
With no more to say about my project, I'd just like to invite you once again to play along with us this fortnight. Show us your party projects and treat yourself with a cookie or two.

as you like it: his or her birthday (I somehow prefer "her" birthday as I find them easier to create - I won't hide from male projects either, but I need to think more about the recipient there and stop myself from adding too much colours/glitter/embellishments, while in girly bithday projects I can really set my fantasy free and do whatever comes to mind)
C.R.A.F.T.: gift bag/box
crafty catz: ATG with optional twist "party time"
crafty sentiments: ATG
cute card thursday: ATG
fabnfunky: ATG but Christmas
friendship challenge: ATG
kreativtanten: ATG but a card
love to craft: ATG 

23 October, 2020

O for old folk

Who thought two weeks would past so quickly? We have a new challenge over at the Alphabet challengeblog, and matching the passing time it's called "O for old folk". Share with us whatever comes to your mind when you think of old age and aging! 
For a little inspiration, I decided to come up with a fun male card, suitable for a birthday or any other celebration. I found this grumpy guy in my collection of bugaboo digis and decided to dress him in a combination of green and yellow. The reason behind it is rather simple: as I was working on a male card from the beginning, I had a couple of background papers on my mind, one of them having a green-ish/ellow-ish check pattern.
However, I found some more masculine patterns as I was digging through my paper stash, and so I finally ended up with this one. Needless to say, the blue background is traditionally suitable for a man, but I also wanted to add a bit of colour and fun, which comes along with the colourful dots. For a little extra, I added a ribbon in the upper corner, as well as colourful gemstones on some of the printed dots. 
The bling might not be traditionally male, but since the golden ribbon with a blue spiral on top looks like some kind of tinsel, the gems might as well resemble confetti. This again leads to a male birthday/celebration card, however, I haven't yet figured out how a cup of tea and a newspaper goes with the party theme. Maybe the old man just woke up from a wild night drinking and is now trying to get through the hangover?
To hide the ends of the golden ribbon on the inside of the card, I picked a sheet of golden paper from my stash. For a little extra, I decorated it with a light blue embossed cardboard.
On hindsight, I think I should have picked the papers first and then paint the guy's pants blue as this would fit better to the colour scheme. On the other hand though, do the clothes of old(er) guys ever match in colour? 

krafty chicks: all occasions
as you like it: favourite colour to pair with blue (I'll go with the contrasting yellow on this one, because I've learned that sometimes a touch of something different gives my card the little extra that makes it interesting, rather than using similar shades which might not give the same effect)
crafty catz: ATG
crafty sentiments: ATG
creative inspirations: spots & dots or inky splats
creative moments: ATG with optional twist "funny"
cute card thursday: stamping
love to craft: ATG 

15 October, 2020

Conditioning at its best

Inspired by the autumn season, I created a simple card using a beautiful Nina Štajner squirrel. 
The card might remind you of the little bird I made some time ago, and in fact I cut the image from the same cover of a paper collection because why not use covers as well if they feature such wonderful motifs? 
Since the image is rather large, I decided to display it prominently across my card, and for a touch of seasonal colours I decided to go with a kraft card base. For the background, I used a strip of a soft beige background paper, which was featured on the birdy card as well - I swear I didn't plan to use the same elements all over again, but it somehow aligned and it now looks as if I'm recycling my old ideas!
Anyways, there are differences, too: instead of a button, I added a couple of cream pearls on the lower part - enough for a little "extra" without diverting attention from the main motif.
The only thing that doesn't look like autumn in the card is actually the blooming branch, which would resemble spring and springtime squirrel mood. 

Because despite all the autumn colours and squirrel stuff, the real inspiration probably lies in the first warm days of the year when I took a walk through park Tivoli and one of those fluffy climbers hopped along. I managed to make him get closer, but he took off as soon as he realized I didn't have anything edible with me. I felt so bad that I actually went to the market to get some nuts, and returned to the park to see if I can find him again and apologize. I'm not sure whether I met the same one, but I had an actual squirrel eating from my hand that day. 
Of course they don't stay anywhere near you once the get their goodies, but I was beyond myself - I had no idea at that time that some people are occasionally feeding them, and I'm sure they're still more or less wild animals who come only once they have some basic trust in you, and even then only if they please.
And so I began to walk through Tivoli more often, figuring out the best times and best spots to observe them, as well as their food preferences. 
I enjoyed their poses and fights, and their acrobatics.
I learned how to call them effectively, and realized how different every single one of them is: the brown one, the orange one, the small one, the fluffy one, the one with a dark spot on the back, the mom with her prominent teats...
And no matter how I tried, I always felt bad when there was nothing left - but then again there's nothing like those tiny paws checking your palm, and those little noses sniffing around!
I'd go to the park early in the morning because it meant there'd be less people, especially less dog walkers. I love those quadrupeds, too, but the squirrels just won't come if there's a furry boy waiting by the tree trunk, no matter how good he is. 
And after a while, the little cuties seem like they're posing even though I believe it's just their general looks and curiosity on display. 
And the best thing? I believe that some of them must remember me from previous years as they didn't need much of training this year compared to last season, or the one before. 
And who'd have thought that just one week of regular visits can make such a difference in behavior? I guess good old Ivan Pavlov would be pretty impressed.
By conditioning squirrels, however, you also condition yourself in some way. 
In fact, when I was left on my own this spring with no physiotherapy in sight, it was those morning walks that made up my daily exercise (at least once I was fit enough to get all the way to that park and back). All weak and wobbly on my feet I'm not sure whether I'd be able to get up again in case of a fall, but I just assumed that sooner or later, somebody would have found me. On the positive note, early morning lockdown walks meant I'd walk through more or less empty streets, meaning I could take my time balancing every step, and wouldn't necessarily embarrass myself if I suddenly stumbled on a seemingly even sidewalk (because those things aren't even close to even when the slightest tilts and cracks make you go down).
And even though I could't get up from crouching for weeks, the furry creatures made me try more and more every day. It has been a long journey from literally crawling on all fours to slowly getting up if I tried really hard, to taking it further by improving my skills in the weeks and months that were to come. 

krafty chicks: CAS
kreativtanten: autumn colours
love to craft: ATG 
morgans artworld: ATG
moving along with the times: animals/birds
path of positivity: girl power (I'll go with my version of girl power for this one: while the physical power might not be worth mentioning, I think the slow & steady willpower has its advantages, too - because you'll ultimately reach the finish line no matter whether you're performing a super fast sprint or 
going step by step, but only the latter gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the beauty along the way. Also, determination seems like a special girl power to me, given how much more effort a girl/woman often has to put in her work in order to be recognized on the same level as her male contenders.)