Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snowflake Challenge

This month's new challenge at Sparkles Christmas Challenges is Snowflakes.  I chose muted, vintage colors for my card.  I used old fashioned wooden snowflakes along with a little tinsel trim for sparkle layered over a piece of vintage lace.  The card just wasn't complete without the lacy border at the bottom.  Stop by Sparkles and show us your snowflake creation.  This month's sponsor is Di's Digis who has generously offered a $10 voucher for the winner.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pink Flower Inspiration

This card was inspired by the challenge at The Shabby Tea Room.  The project needs to have pink, cream and lace elements.  I chose a piece of ornate pink and cream lace and a diecut leaf cluster from K & Co. for the background.  I added a couple of "awesome flowers" and a cream glittery butterfly.  The filigree leaves are findings that we carry on our website Dry Gulch Beads.  I painted them with antique linen distress paint and bent them slightly for a little dimension.  I am also entering this card in the Anything Goes Challenge at Crafty Ribbons.

This is the inspiration photo

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

At the Beach Challenge

The theme for the new challenge at Ruby's Rainbow Challenges is "At the Beach".  My sand is the loopy lace at the bottom topped with my water, the crinkly seam binding ribbon.  I gave my fish dimension with Distress Stickles (I need more colors) and the shell epoxy sticker is from K & Co.  I hope you will stop by Ruby's and see what our talented design team members created.  We hope to see your beach card too!

Thanks Tag

Tag You're It! has a new challenge this week.  Bright colors and the crispness of the black and white make a nice contrast on this tag.  I searched for a piece of vellum, but I found these diecut flowers instead.  The THANKS letters were all different pastel colors so I painted them black and added crystal lacquer so they would shine.  I even found a piece of black lace. 

Here is the inspiraton tag.  Beautiful!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sketch Challenge - Mojo Monday

Today's sketch challenge at Mojo Monday inspired me to create this card.  I inked a paper doily and added a lace sticker on the side.  The two pieces of lace hanging from the top were inked as well.  I guess I am officially addicted to lace.  I love the little metal flower and the leaf pins.  It looked like it still needed something, so I added the little butterfly sticker from K & Co. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Magazine Challenge #10

 The next challenge in the 75 Creative Card Challenges Magazine is to use buttons that you create.  I have tons of buttons ready to go, but these buttons had to be made from scratch.  I decided to use burlap paper and since I do not have a circle punch, I cut the circles out by hand.  I am sure the paper was too thick for my CraftRobo cutting machine.  I painted the buttons with picket fence distress paint and then added a little blue stain.  I tied the buttons with embroidery floss but I didn't like the clumped up floss.  I used my new Tim Holtz tool to fray the thread.  I also used the scratchy tool to distress the vintage fleur card.  On to the next challenge!

Other Creative Endeavors - Jewelry

In my last post, I shared some of my non-card making projects that were stitched.  In this post, I will share some of my jewelry projects.  My family has a bead and jewelry store in Joplin, Missouri and I am fortunate to be able to work with my two oldest daughters and my mom.  We make jewelry pretty much every day and even though we have had a store for 15 years, we still absolutely love it.  We have a full line website where you can purchase both our artisan jewelry and the beads and findings to make your own at Dry Gulch.
This is a pair of earrings that I made using solid copper components, my lampwork beads and patinaed rectangles.
This is my lampworking station.  This is where I take glass rods and melt them into beads and headpins with a torch.  A single bead can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour to complete.  I am always impatient, so most of my beads take under 10 minutes.  I love working with "silver" glass (glass that contains silver) because the results are always unpredictable.

This is a pile of lampwork beads that I made.  The rough looking ones are called "sugar beads".  They are made by rolling the hot bead in frit, or broken pieces of glass.  Then the frit is only melted enough so that it adheres to the bead.  This is a tricky technique because if you melt the frit a second too long, it melts smooth.


These are lampwork headpins that I also made with the torch.  These are so fun to make - I love the endless possibilites.  These headpins make really cute earrings.  You can wrap the wire into a loop and hang them like charms.

This is one of my latest chunky charm bracelets (which you can find on Etsy under DryGulch). I love to used vintage components like clip earrings and brooches.  I scour antique stores and flea markets for unusual beads and findings.  These bracelets are always one-of-a-kind and I love seeing how each one turns out. 
This necklace has a pretty cameo that I mounted on an antique brass setting.  The sparkly milky beads are Chinese crystals and the white beads are vintage silk beads.  I wire wrapped each bead together using vintage bronze wire and links.
I hope you have enjoyed my tour of what I do for my "day job".  I am often torn as to whether I should create a piece of jewelry or whip up a new card.  No matter which medium I choose, I am happy to be able to express my creativity every day.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Other Creative Endeavors - Stitching

I have been crafting for many years and I have created projects in several different mediums.  I thought I would share some photos of my past work.  I used to do a lot of stitching including ribbon embroidery, hardanger, cross stitch and crazy quilt embroidery.  I hope you enjoy seeing my stitched creations. 
This was the only hardanger design that I kept for myself.  My sister loves hardanger, so all of the other projects went to her for Christmas and birthday gifts.  She likes do make hardanger pieces too.

This is one of my cross stitch pieces.  It has beadwork in it as well.  It is hard to tell, but I have used some hand-dyed threads in this one.  Those are my favorite types of thread.  I have a really large stash of these special fibers.  Some day I will use them again.  I keep this framed piece on one of my crafting shelves. 

This cuff bracelet was my first felting endeavor.  I felted the wool (which is a wet and messy process) and added tons of beading, embroidery and a little ribbonwork.  I am sure some people wear pieces this large, but not me, so it sits as a decoration on a shelf.  Once in awhile I think I should take it apart and use the beautiful Swarovski beads in something more practical, but so far it I have not been able to cut it.


This is a ribbon embroidery towel that I made many years ago. It features my favorite flower, the lupine. I made tons of these for Christmas gifts over the years. Once, my husband tried to wipe something up with this towel. You can't clean things with beautiful, hand stitched towels!  Yikes!

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of stitched projects.  I have kept all of my fibers because some day I will have time to stitch again - I am sure of it!  My next post will show the jewelry that I make, so stop back by.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"L" is for Lace


It is my turn to host the new challenge at Alphabet Challenges is "L" for lace.  Vintage lace is probably my most used embellishment.  I have fun scouring antique stores looking for old bags of it.  This card was fun because I repurposed a background that I already had made.  The green layer has been punched with a Martha Stewart lace edge punch.  I inked the edges of the plaque and added a thank you rubon.  The flower is a Martha Stewart sticker.  This is a pretty simple card for me since mine are usually gooped up.  Sometimes simple is better.  Be sure and stop by Alphabet Challenges and see what both teams created for this challenge.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Where Bloggers Create 2014

It is once again time for the annual "Where Bloggers Create" blog hop.  My craft space accomodates beads and card making supplies since I create both cards and jewelry.  I have one wall of craft storage dedicated to each craft.  My family has a bead and jewelry store in Joplin, Missouri, so I am fortunate to be able to create lots of jewelry whenever inspiration strikes me.  My blog is card based and I make cards for friends and family and I sell a few of them in our store.  I have an entire room for my crafting space which has a table in the center where my children can sit with me.  This room used to be the living room, but since we have a den I decided to take over.  I have never regretted getting rid of the second television.  I hope you enjoy the pictures of my creative space.

 This is the corner where my two crafts meet.  The bookshelves contain card making supplies and the other wall holds all of my beads and findings.  Since last year's blog hop, I have added a few new things and re-organized several drawers, but my basic layout is the same.

I am addicted to anything Tim Holtz, so I keep my Distress Paints and Stains where I can see them.  The labeled drawers contain tags, Stickles and more.  I have a couple of nails in the edges of the bookcases so that I can display my most recent tags.  I love having pretty things around for inspiration.  This was a tag that I made while visiting my sister last month.

I still have two containers for my flower embellishments and the black, skinny drawer organizer is my absolute favorite organization tool.  I now have two of them, stacked on top of each other.  I love the way embellishments don't get lost on the bottoms of the drawers because every drawer is shallow.

One of the changes I have made since last year's hop is that I made a space for my ATG and paper cutter under the table which is within reach when I am sitting at the table.  I found it frustrating to have to get up every time I wanted to cut or adhere something.  This simple rearragning has made my card making time more enjoyable.
I used to keep my paper puches stored in a box so I rarely used them.  Now they have a shelf at eye level so that I can find them easily.  I find that I use them much more often now that they are out.  The large tower of drawers on the right is a new addition.  I found that I needed more storage for my ever growing collection of vintage lace and seam binding ribbon.

These are my bead and finding drawers.  Even though there are a zillion little drawers, it is very easy to find anything because every drawer is labeled.  Having my drawers organized and labeled makes all the difference.  I never liked to waste valuable craft time searching for items.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my craft space.  I am very lucky to have such a great place to work.  Be sure to visit the other "Where Bloggers Create" participants for lots of inspiration.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Treats

The newest challenge theme at Ruby's Rainbow Challenges is summertime treats.  I decided to use classic ice cream cones.  I framed them with a pink crystal oval and added a little vintage lace that I inked.  The Happy Birthday plaque is a diecut from K & Co. and I used it because today is my daughter Alex's birthday.  We hope you will show us your creations at Ruby's.

Magazine Challenge #9

The next challenge in the magazine challenge is to use bleach.  Bleach can make some very interesting backgrounds.  I started with a manilla tag that I inked, sprayed and smudged with lots of color.  Then I used a diamond pattern rubber stamp dipped in bleach.  After you stamp with bleach, it takes a few minutes, but then the color disappears.  It gives a batik look with blurred lines.  Only 66 more challenges to go!


Have you ever tried zentangling?  These are the results of my first try.  For people like me who absolutely cannot draw, these patterns are a lot of fun.  Zentangle is using simple lines to create structured patterns.  For the starburst pattern, you draw lots of triangles.  For the leaf pattern, you start with a slightly curved line and then add half moon shapes.  Both designs are made with very simple components. 

I started with watercolor paper and used a regular pencil to draw the lines.  Then I colored the leaves with watercolor pencils and used a paintbrush to blend the colors together.  Visit for endless patterns and ideas.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Magazine Challenge #8

This is the next challenge in the challenge magazine.  This project had to have one yard of ribbon in it.  I used two different colors of the same style ribbon and wrapped the background paper with it.  I added a coordinating oval plaque and a pink flower.  The crystal gems add just the right amount of sparkle.  This one is simple, but I like the bright, cheery colors.  I am entering this card in Crafty Ribbons Challenges anything goes challenge and the flowers challenge at Pile It On.

Summertime Kites

Our newest theme at Alphabet Challenges is "Kites".  I distressed the edges of an image of vintage kites and added a little glitter.  The lace border is a Martha Stewart punch.  The kite on the side was made by layering paper and scoring it with the MS scoreboard.  The kite tails are strands of colored hemp string from my sister.  It was fun to create something colorful.  Summer is here!

Magazine Challenge #7

I am slowly but surely working through the card challenges in the magazine 75 Creative Card Challenges.  Challenge #7 is to use ten embellishments.  I am sure I have accidentally used ten embellishments several times, but it is definitely a challenge to do it on purpose.  I decided to decorate a tag and I started by making the background using Distress inks and Tim Holtz masks.I added a mini tag decorated with a bird diecut.  Since I love vintage lace, I embellished pretty much every part of the tags with it.  I used a strip of vintage straight pin tape that I found.  It was used in automatic pinning machines for making garments.  Lastly, I added buttons from my son's worn out, too small shirt.  I like the vintage feel of it.