Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Challenge Two: Your Day in History

All right, I'm getting this up early, but since SOMEONE thinks that if I sleep late, I fell off the planet ( :P), I figure I might as well get on with the party while I'm here!

Your Challenge for Day Two ....

Your Day in History. This can be for you, a child, your spouse -- feel free to choose anyone close to you. From there, look up the date they were born for a historical happening. This will be your subject matter for the project. The goal is to create a scrapbook page or birthday card in any size, showcasing news items from that date of birth for the person you chose.

Good sites are:

Today in History

Today in History --

For example, my baby sister was born on August 27. Krakatoa's violent eruption that tore the volcano apart was on August 27, though 80+ years before her birth.


1. The birth date must be on your project, as well as the year/years for the historical happenings.

2. At least one stamp must be used (even if it's alphabet, or month stamps, etc). Bonus points for QKD stamps (we have a lot of great month stamps in the store!)

3. Links to your projects must be posted in this thread by Midnight on February 2nd.

Have fun, and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Challenge One: Update the Valentine

Remember back in grade school, when everyone passed out those awful generic cards with the trendy characters of the day on them? Sure, Mom bought them for us to use because they were plentiful, and cheap, and most of all, no effort was required to take care of an entire classroom of kids.

But darn, they were boring!

So here's your Challenge of the Day.

1. Using the same single page format (card can be no larger than a standard 3x5 index card), create up to three New And Improved Valentine Cards.

2. You must use at least one stamp on the front (extra points for QKD stamps), and at least two embellishments (ribbon, stickers, buttons, brads, etc).

3. The back is included in designing these cards, and must have the traditional "To" and "From" spaces.

4. Upload the images, and post the link to them in this thread.

If anyone has made it here, I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Round Robin Blog Party Rules

Well, because I overslept today and finally caught up on sick sleep, I seem to have been nudged out of the final spot on this tour.

However, that doesn't mean I'm dropping the ball on my end. So, for those of you that have made your way here anyway, I'm posting some challenges for you.

The basic rules are pretty simple:

1. A maximum of three entries per person, per challenge. Each entry is worth a point towards the final drawing for the free stamps. If I am cut out of this, I will pay for your stamps myself. :D

2. Use of QKD stamps gets extra points towards the drawing.

3. Entries must be posted in each challenge thread by Midnight on February 2, the last day of the challenge.

Simple, huh? Each challenge will have its own additional rules to follow, so sit back, get your paper and adhesive ready, and let's go!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weekender -- The wire wrap

I am SO hoping this will turn out coherent. This one will be minus pictures unfortunately, because my brain is barely functional enough to do instructions, much less make my hands stop and do another piece right now to demonstrate.


Focal piece (this can be a stone of any shape and size, with or without a hole)
18 gauge wire of choice
20-22 gauge wire of choice (contrasting or matching)
Flush cutters
Chain-nose pliers
Round-nose pliers
Optional: nylon-jaw pliers


-- This works best with a slightly oblong shape, although any shape will work.
-- Try this with all sorts of items - shark's teeth, for example.
-- Copper wire is softer and cheaper for those just starting out, and coated wire is available in a wide range of colours. Don't make sterling wire your first choice unless you've got a lot of practice: the stuff is expensive.
-- Before choosing your wire, test the colours against your focal point to find the best combination.
-- Be -careful- with your pliers. They can mar the metal and leave marks. Tool Magic on the ends rubber-coats to protect wire, or you can wrap them with tape.
-- If your focal piece is small, adjust wire gauges accordingly: the gauges listed are for a relatively large piece. Tiny objects, like a small shark's tooth, require smaller gauge wire so as not to overwhelm and cover the focal piece.


1. To determine the amount of wire needed, work from the coil and GENTLY wrap one strand of wire around the shape, starting with about 3" extra at the top, and matching that on the other side. Cut two pieces of wire to that size. Make sure when you cut, that you leave only flush ends with no sharp points. (the inside of flush cutters is flush, the outside is beveled)

2. Holding the two wires together, determine how much space is needed at the bottom for the "cage" that will hold the focal piece by gently pushing the piece between the wires. You can adjust this later when the twisting starts.

3. There are two options for the sides: you can twist just those two wires together to create the side supports for the cage, or you can wrap another smaller wire around the sides.

Option A: Work on one side at a time.
-- Hold the wire tightly between your fingers at the top of where the cage begins on that side, and separate the wires above that point, twisting them together tightly for 1/2" to 1", depending on the size of your focal piece.
-- Set your focal piece into the bottom of the "cage" to determine placement for the other side; remove, and repeat the twist, being sure to match them up.
-- Return the focal piece to the bottom, and tighten the twists until you know the piece will be secure.

Option B: Again, one side at a time.
-- Take a 4-8" length of your finer gauge wire (dependent on size of focal piece), and tightly wrap it around the two wires above where the top of the cage will begin. Be sure to tuck the loose ends into the wrap so no pointy wires are sticking out. The amount of space you wrap will depend on the size of the focal piece.
-- Set your focal piece into the bottom of the "cage" to determine placement for the other side; remove, and twist the second piece of smaller gauge wire around the two base wires.
-- Odds are, both will be a little loose right now. This is good, as it allows you room for adjustment when placing the focal piece into the cage. When you have placement correct to keep it secure, tighten the coils up by squeezing them against the two wires with your pliers.

4. The focal piece remains in the cage from here out.

5. Tightly work the wires around the focal piece till they meet at the top. You'll have some adjusting and playing with it to make sure it remains secure. The final steps will help you tighten it up.

6. Bend all four wires across the top to make a double X shape.

7. Bring the two back wires to the front, and the two front wires to the back. The two wires now in back will become your bail: the wires in front, decoration.

8. Give each set of wires one good twist at the top of the focal piece to finish tightening it up.

9. It helps to work on the front first, to get the wires out of the way. Starting at the very end of one wire, take your round-nose pliers, and start to coil. You can make the coil as tight or as loose as you want. Once you get it started, you can generally finish it up with your fingers. If you need to use the pliers, be careful not to mar the wire: Hold the wire perpendicular in the pliers, and only use the pliers to hold the wire. Push the wire around the coil with your fingers.

10. Repeat with the other front wire. When the coils are done, press them flat against the front of the piece and arrange them to your liking.

11. Now for the bail. Take one of the back wires, wrap it tightly twice around the other, snip it off with your flush cutters and tuck the loose end between the coil and the focal piece.

12. At the top of the focal piece, use your chain-nose pliers to create a 90* bend in the remaining wire.

13. Switch to your round-nose pliers, and make a loop, folding the bent wire up and over the pliers.

This is a closed bail, so make sure that the loop is large enough to fit over the findings of your chosen necklace. If you want to make interchangeable pendants, it needs to be a large loop. If it will go to a permanent spot, the loop only needs to be as large as the chosen chain/ribbon/leather without findings on the end.

14. Hold the loop closed with your pliers, and wrap the excess wire around the base. Cut off any remaining wire, and tuck the end in tightly.

15. You can take up any slack remaining by twisting the entire bail tightly against the focal piece.

The rose quartz focal piece here actually did have a hole drilled in it, but it was too small for two passes of the 18 gauge wire. I used copper, and gold wire for the accents. My bail was a little sloppy, because my fingers got shaky near the end.

I hope this all makes sense. Feel free to ask any questions for clarification.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Speaking of jewelry ...

Yes, the first Weekender post will be this weekend, but I've been totally forgetting to post a few other pieces.

Apparently I have a little thing for copper. The small swirl links with the crystals above the dragonfly are the chain. The dragonfly is two pieces -- the wings, and the body -- both hammered to give it some texture and dimension. I get compliments every time I wear this piece.

Polymer clay is fun, too! I used a face mold to shape her, with scraps from a butterfly wing cane I made (eyes and forehead), some mica-shift, a bit of translucent, and the blues. Heavy duty glue put her on the backing piece, then I started the rings around it in TINY seed beads. The tiny silver ones are faceted Charlottes.

The face cab is completed here, with several more rings of seed beads, then the daggers over the top. It has great movement with the daggers. This will eventually go on a bracelet.

Sometimes I love chain mail, sometimes I hate it. This is a Hate project. It's a knot-pattern chain, and getting all those rings into the knots made me insane. My daughters want one. They aren't getting one.

Weekender -- Sneak Peek!

Here's a sneak peek at the first Weekender project -- coming this weekend, of course!

It's not a stamping or scrap or cardmaking project this time. Instead, I go back to one of the obsessions that really helped get me into the disaster that my work spaces are today. (And I'll be able to type this without sticky hands if my half-frozen Diet Pepsi will stop trying to explode on my desk)

This is not a complicated project. It just takes a little time, and a few tools, and the results are gorgeous and well worth the effort.

Check back this weekend for a materials list and project instructions!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog Party Madness!

Are you enjoying the Queen Kat Designs Round Robin Blog Party?

This particular challenge was hosted by the fabulous and wonderful Sierra Grannie. It's snowing on her, and she wanted COLOR COLOR COLOR to banish the wintertime blues.

... I think this is more colour than I have EVER used on a single card.

I honestly lost track around 35-40 colours. I was too busy building this fluffy bright monster to keep counting. Stamps used are all from Queen Kat Designs.

Get Inked! -- February

The following cards were created using the stamp set and some of the techniques from Queen Kat Designs Get Inked! kit for February.

These may be St Patrick's Day stamps, but traditional I am not. Not a whole lot of glaring green here -- gimme my subtle earthtones! All right, I know, I know -- I'll do something "traditional" eventually.

This is Versamark, and mica powders (Perfect Pearls), with foam tape to raise Greetings off the second layer of green paper. The scanner clearly does not like Perfect Pearls, and this looks muddy. Hey, that's why we make cards -- so we can SEND them to someone and they can see them in person!

Versamark watermarking around the outside bottom layer. The ring of shamrocks was done with two colours of chalk ink, as was Greetings. (No surprise, this completely subtle, non-traditional one is my favourite of the batch.)

Watermarks, anyone? I love how Versamark makes wonderful tone-on-tone background papers. The Luck shamrock is done with Versamark and Perfect Pearls again, then applied using foam tape.

If you haven't signed up to get the kits yet, you need to be ready when the March kits are ready for release. These kits go FAST!

Questioning ...

I know I don't have a lot of readers -- okay, I have maybe one or two reading this blog, but hey, it's really for myself anyway (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it).

However, I was thinking about doing a Weekender thing: every weekend, post a technique/project, complete with materials needed, and pictures.

Are the one or two people that actually read this thing interested at all in this?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Get Inked! -- January Technique Peek

This is a sample of what you are missing out on if you haven't signed up yet for the Queen Kat Designs GET INKED! kits.

3-D Embellishments
Suzeanne Peak


Chipboard shapes
Pigment ink
Clear UTEE
Embossing powders
Heat gun

{Handy Hints}
-- The surface you emboss on must be thick, or the process will warp it. This does not work on regular cardstock.
-- Try it on other objects (inside bottle caps, on bits of tile, CDs, buttons, stamped and baked polymer clay, slide mounts) for an "acrylic" or "resin" look -- without the smell and mess!
-- Use this technique on a chipboard frame, add a photo, and put a magnetic backing on it for a fabulous refrigerator magnet.
-- Try different colours of ink for your background, and different colours of powder. A metallic ink and a majority of clear powder, multiple colours of ink on the background, or several colours of powder swirled in will create all different effects.
-- This is great with alphabet shapes to make page titles, or even a sign for a child's room.
-- Layer the inks -- allow embossing powder to cool, re-ink the surface with a new colour, and add more powder.
-- Do this technique on multiple squares and create a mosaic.
-- With enough layers of embossing powder, you are able to embed items into the surface (see this post for examples).


-Note- Work quickly, but carefully. You may find you have to reheat the surface often for the next layer of powder to adhere without the heat gun blowing it away.

1. Apply chosen pigment ink to your chipboard shape. Ink the edges as well, if you want a more rounded look to the final piece.

2. Add your first layer of UTEE, remembering to get the edges if you inked them, and emboss with your heat gun.

3. While the powder is still hot, add another layer of UTEE, and repeat.

4. With this base created, sprinkle in another colour (or more) of embossing powder while the last layer is still hot and mostly liquid.

5. Swirl colours with a toothpick if desired, to create patterns in the powder.

6. Reheat till molten (be careful, it gets HOT, and any contact with another surface will leave an impression) to smooth out toothpick marks, and add another layer of UTEE.

7. Continue to add layers, heating in between, until you have a look you're pleased with. In general, a minimum of five layers will create a well-rounded and shiny surface with a look similar to acrylic or resin.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chalk Resist

I'm a junkie for neat resist techniques. At the Heirloom show, (and going with strep was NOT fun, I came home and passed out, and yes, I wore a mask to protect others), a woman at the Judi-Kins booth was demoing a resist technique I'd never seen before. Since I have a fascination and adoration for resists, I paid close attention, and just goggled.

It is ridiculously simple, and doesn't require a lot of "extras" like most resist techniques: no embossing powder and thus no heat tool, no masking fluid, no resist ink.

Here's the Materials list:

Rubber stamps
Fluid chalk inks
Matte Kote paper
Paper towels

And that is IT.

To do this resist, ink up your stamp (or stamps) with a VERY light colour of chalk ink. Stamp on the matte kote paper. Give it a bit to let dry, till all the "shiny" of the ink is gone.

Now, take your chalk ink pads (and darker is better for this resist, light ones don't work as well), and smear -- DO NOT PAT -- across the previously stamped image. Work in blocks, or swirls, and just go to town inking the paper.

Wipe off immediately with paper towel. Rub the colours into themselves and off the paper, do not rub darker inks into lighter ones, or you'll get some smearing of the colour.

The stamped image will show through the second layer of inks. It's not a strong resist, it's very subtle, but utterly gorgeous for background papers. Any degree of detail in the stamp you use is fine -- I've used both highly detailed, and relatively simple images with success.

You can see how the images show through the green and brown chalks. I then stamped the same image over the top in a permanent Coffee ink. This is one of the rare Obviously Masculine cards I've done. Nice and earthy, and surprisingly, no florals, dragonflies, or even leaves to be seen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More ATC mayhem!

Some of these are substantially older, that I just totally forgot to post here. D'oh!

One of the older ones. I loves my Meser. And all my other kitties.

Halloween ATC, made from a Queen Kat Designs October card kit.
This one is for a Mulberry Paper swap at A fun swap, using handmade, and otherwise unusual papers. My other group for this swap is using the paint chip strips. Eee!

I love this stamp. I picked her up at the Heirloom show this last weekend, as well as another of her, facing to the side. The Shimmering Mist on it kinda looks weird static, but in person, it's gorgeous.

Year of the Monkey! I'm a Monkey, Thing 1 is a Monkey. The background paper is made with Shimmering Mist paint daubers, then overstamped with the Kanji -- which is currently missing, and the dog better not have eaten this one! The Monkey stamp I picked up LAST year at the Heirloom show, along with a Rat (Thing 2).
Words words words ... French and Latin (I THINK it's Latin), stamped over a background done with, of all things, JOINT COMPOUND, then stained. The partial face is on parchment paper.

One of my older ones. Lots and lots of tissue paper layers here. And of course, a dragonfly tucked in there, because, well, I had to.

And one that is just so very me. Yes, more dragonflies, the dream theme, more wings ... and one of my favourite stamps at the top: "No one is perfect. That's why pencils have erasers."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Image Fest! "Art" jewelry and ATCs

Been insanely busy lately. Got work to do for Queen Kat, got a stamp show coming up this weekend, I've been miserably sick, and of course the husband is out in the field -- AFTER bringing home the virus that made me sick in the first place. Men: can't live with them, and shooting them makes too much of a mess that I would have to clean up.

"What Music Inspires an Artist?" I should probably go back and use a metallic rub or alcohol ink on the word "music" so it shows up better. This is a pin, die-cut from chipboard with my Sizzix, then layers of ink and embossing powder. The final layer of embossing powder holds all the goodies.

"Kitty!" This pin belongs to Thing 1 -- you know, the weird kid that wears cat ears to school. Kids that don't know her name call her Kitty. Go figure. So I made an appropriate pin.

"Fortune" I lost track of how many collage layers were in this ATC. There's stamps, tissue paper, the background paper is from a Japanese book, there's all sorts of mulberry ... Yeah. Maybe I got carried away, but I like it. The stamp barely visible on the sides of the center coin means 'dragonfly.'

"Kyoshi Temple" and "Obon." Two more Japan-inspired cards. Maybe I've been watching a little too much Anthony Bourdain lately -- but he's made of awesome, so I can be excused. Obon is a Japanese festival where the ancestors are guided back to spend the day with the family.

This ATC was fun. Two "bad" pictures of Thing 1, that I went crazy on with rubber stamps (and StazOn for the ink), then sliced and diced into varied sizes and shapes to build a mosaic. The "grout" on this is Stickles.

Card done with the stamps from QKD's January Get Inked! kit, with several of the techniques I wrote for that one.

Xyron Shout Out!

Everybody knows I love adhesive. I also adore my Xyrons -- yes, plural. I have the X, the 250, and the 500.

Well, my 500 pulled a new one on me. The top protective layer sheered off inside away from the receiver cartridge, causing the cartridge to fail to advance. With at least 1/3 left on the roll, I was NOT happy!

I called Xyron.

A replacement cartridge is on the way. It was that simple. I told them the problem, they took my name and address, and are sending me a new cartridge.

Their customer service is absolutely TOPS!

Friday, January 04, 2008

QKD Round Robin Blog Party!

The party has started ... are you in it?

It will start on the QKD Blog on Jan. 2 (okay, so I'm late, I'm sick, darnit!) and then it will "blog hop" to each of the Royal Court Members' blogs throughout the month. There's fun and prizes so mark your calendar. See the full schedule below. Each of the Royal Court members has fun things planned for you.

Jan 2: QKD Blog
Jan 3-5: Penny
Jan 7-9: Vicki
Jan 10-12: Nina
Jan 14-16: Tanis
Jan 17-19: Nancy
Jan 21-23: Bev
Jan 24-26: Anam
Jan 28-30: Jules
Jan 31- Feb 2: Pooka
Feb 4-6: Amy

Yes, there are prizes involved! Everyone likes to win stuff, right?

So have fun, stop on by, and get creative with the Queen Kat Designs Royal Court!

Convention Fever!

It's that time again, or at least it seems like it in my little corner of the country. You know what I'm talking about -- convention season. The Heirloom Productions Stamp Show is the weekend of the 11-13th in Grapevine, TX, and there's a huge Creating Keepsakes scrapbook convention the very next weekend down in Houston.

It's time, they're here ... but are YOU ready?

Here's some handy convention-goers survival tips. Some of them, I learned the hard way.

1. Airborne. This product was designed by a school teacher to avoid the regular crud delivered by herds of kids. If you're prone to colds, start medicating the day before the show. Take your vitamins as well, making sure you include Vitamins C, B Complex, and Zinc, to help your immune system ward off the Con Crud. I forgot to do this last year, and I paid for it.

2. Don't leave your drinks at home. Make sure you have a bottle of water on your person at all times. Dehydration isn't fun for anyone, and fighting through crowds to reach refreshment stands and vending machines can be exhausting. Check convention rules for bringing in outside refreshments first, of course, but you should be fine with a bottle of water.

3. If you're going to take part in classes, make-n-takes, or just shopping, don't rely on the flimsy bags they hand out. By the time you leave, your hands and arms will be creased from the weight, and odds are your purchases will be crumpled. Don't go with over-the-shoulder bags, either. They just get heavier as the day goes on. If you don't already have one, a rolling cart is the perfect purchase to take with you. Just drag it, no carrying, and all your purchases and tools will fit inside. Plus, if it's a hard-side rolling cart, you have something to lean or sit on as needed.

4. Always check the site for the show. It will let you know what is added at the last minute, or canceled, so that you don't show up expecting something and get something else. While there, order your tickets in advance. They're always cheaper than at the door.

5. That said, Plan Your Day. By checking the site, you should have a good idea of what classes are available, and what make-n-takes will be there. Get there early for them, because the lines form fast. If classes offer pre-registration, and you KNOW you want to do it and will be there, register before you go. The site will also tell you what supplies you are expected to bring for the classes.

6. Not everybody accepts a credit card at a convention. And sometimes, they won't take anything but cash or check at the door to get in if you forgot to order your tickets in advance. Keep some cash on hand, then your checkbook, and rely on credit cards only if you have to. It'll save you money in the long run if you try to keep in mind what money you have Right Now, and avoid spending by credit.

7. It never hurts to walk away for a little while. If the convention isn't in your home town, step away and see the local sights for a while to avoid convention burn-out. For a show that lasts several days, this will save your sanity -- and your wallet, since you aren't shopping. Sit back, put your feet up, even return to your hotel room and unpack some of your purchases. You aren't going to have much fun if you wear yourself out the very first day.

8. Do some research. Again, the site for the show is your friend. If there's something you've been looking at, but want to see it in person, or don't want to pay exorbitant shipping costs, now's the time to buy. Also, check their normal prices so you know what they charge outside of a convention. Exhibitors often demo their products, so you can see in person how they work. Make-n-takes often allow you to try before you buy. Not sure how often you'll use something you see there? Ask, but don't ask the people behind the booth. Ask your fellow customers.

9. More research. Conventions are great for local business. Some offer special convention deals, whether it be on hotel prices, rental cars, or even dinner. However, those often come with the extra price of being extremely crowded. Look for reviews of local establishments, find places to eat off the main roads, and if all else fails, ask the locals. They know where to eat that won't be packed, and you could find a real treasure. Search for the new and different, and try to avoid chains -- you can eat that stuff at home.

10. If you take medications, don't leave them in your hotel room. Pack them with you, enough for that day. It will save you a trip back to the hotel if your plans change, or you run into an old friend and get distracted from the time. Even if you don't take medication on a regular basis, pack some ibuprofen or Tylenol, eyedrops, especially for those that wear contacts, and bandaids. Between paper cuts, and shoe blisters, your body will thank you if you remember the basics.

11. Layers are your friend. It may be cold outside, but you press several hundred or thousand people together, and the temperature rises fast. Light layers are easier to remove and store in your cart. Unless it's snowing or below freezing, leave your coat in the car. Pack hair ties if you have long hair.

12. If you make ATCs, take some with you. Make sure your contact information is on the back. This is a good way to network, and a lot more interesting than a business card. If you run a small business, take both. They'll remember you better, and you might just make a sale or three. Also remember to pick UP cards at booths. If you see something you want, but don't have the money at the time, write it down on the back of the shop's card. A small notebook can help here as well.

13. If you make wearable art, Wear It! Not only can a unique piece be a great conversation starter (I actually got a free stamp from a fellow dragonfly fan because I wore a wire-work dragonfly I made), but you might just make a new customer.

Above all, have fun!