Focus, focus, focus

focus by Candy Spiegel

That’s what I keep saying to myself. It is my word of the year. The word that will keep me on track, reduce my stress and allow me to make my business a success.

It is also a word I have trouble “focusing” on. I sit down to make a card. I glue on a flower, cut a piece of paper, then decide I need to look something up online, check my e-mail, play a few games, answer a question for a customer, get up to get a drink, do the dishes, collect eggs from the chickens, take a picture of the cats to post on Facebook, throw on a load of laundry and soon the whole day is gone and I have yet to finish one simple card. Then I forget about the card until I remember I have a deadline and then I stress about finishing it!

This may be my typical day, but I am sick of it. It is time to get my act together and FOCUS on getting things finished.

That is what I decided in December and again on January 1. It is now half-way through February and I am still working on staying focused. There are just so many distractions!

I thought if I kept the word in front of my face, it would help. So, I created this little 5×7 canvas in my favorite colors (they match my kitchen perfectly) to help remind me to focus.

focus 2 by candy spiegelI started by spritzing a 5×7 canvas and a Linnie Blooms pocket with Glimmer Mists.

focus 1 by candy spiegelI put them in a box on the way to the recycle bin to contain the mess.

focus 3 by candy spiegelWhile those dried, I coated some Linnie Blooms hearts with Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear Adhesive. (I used my finger to spread it around so I got the entire heart).

focus 4 by candy spiegelThen I covered each heart in Art Glitter glitter. I use a coffee filter to collect my extra glitter. It doesn’t stick to the filter and then I can pour it right back in the jar.

focus 5 by candy spiegel

 

I set those aside to dry and turned my attention back to the pocket. I wanted the pocket to look puffy, so I folded up a paper towel and tucked it inside.

focus 6 by candy spiegelThen I followed along the front flap of the pocket with a bit of Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and coated it with clear glass glitter.

focus 7by candy spiegelI used the same glue to attach feathers and the pocket to the canvas. I used the Tiny Attacher to attach the ribbon and burlap.

focus 8 by candy spiegelThen, I glued the hearts on the front.

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I cut tags out of kraft paper using a Tim Holtz die. I then inked the edges with Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and then in Black Soot.

I added flowers, a metal clock (because this is all about time), a metal button, some twine and the word FOCUS in big black letters that I cut out with a Tim Holtz die. I also used some little sticker letters (also from Tim Holtz) to put the words To Do and Today on the tags. And that was it! Can you see how puffy the pocket is?

focus by Candy Spiegel

 

Here’s a close up of the corner of the pocket …

focus detail by candy spiegel

 

You can see how the adhesive dried clear and now you just see the chunks of glass for a pretty, soft sparkle.

Now if I can just stay focused …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A box for chickens

My idea for this project came from Arlene Cuevas, one of the amazing members of the Graphic 45 team. As soon as I saw her creation, I fell in love and wanted to do something similar. Check out this blog for a link to the two step-by-step videos that show you how to make it.

6a011570479cdc970b019102f22107970c-500wiI was merely waiting for something to decorate to copy her technique. And, when my mom gave me an embroidered doily with chickens on it, I knew it was the perfect thing to frame.

Naturally, I put my own spin on it and went through a little trial and error, but eventually my project came out looking like this:

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I started with a plain black shadow box I got on sale at Michaels.

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I coated the entire box with white gesso.

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Then, I used Wendy Vecchi’s white embossing paste and a stencil from¬†Christy Tomlinson Designs to cover the entire frame and provide some texture.

This is where my project took a turn …

Box_Candy_Spiegel_3I wanted to see what would happen if I used Piccolo 3D Enamel Gels to help provide some background color. I started with Dark Green.

Box_Candy_Spiegel_4And then added Clementine.

Box_Candy_Spiegel_5Then I glued on a bunch of random flowers, metal pieces, ribbon, keys, buttons and more to the front of the box and coated everything with gesso. This covered up all of the odd colors … my flowers were navy, hot pink, gray and peach! I kept the gesso light on the sides so the colors would show through.

Box_Candy_Spiegel_6Next I added a bit of Bright Yellow …

Box_Candy_Spiegel_7And some more green and orange … I taped off the glass front (it couldn’t be removed from the frame) and sprayed it with blue Glimmer Mist. It came out darker than I wanted, but it looked OK. (I don’t have any photos of that stage because it was a bit of a disaster).

Needless to say, Glimmer Mist does not dry on top of 3D Enamel Gel. Ever.

I tried heating.

I tried sitting it in the sun.

After a week, I was still getting blue on my hands every time I picked up the piece. I really didn’t want to start over since I had quite a bit of time and money invested in this, but I knew I couldn’t hang it on the wall as it was.

Deciding I couldn’t hurt it anymore than I already had, I ran it under the faucet. The water washed most of the Glimmer Mist off — at least the parts that refused to dry.

And I ended up with this:

Box_Candy_Spiegel_8The perfect box to showcase the doily my mom gave me!

Here are a few close-ups …

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The flowers took on the look of molded plastic. Very cool when you think of it …,Box_Candy_Spiegel_10

 

The front is pretty, but the sides are amazing … I love the patina I got.Box_Candy_Spiegel_9

Thanks Arlene for the inspiration! I still plan to follow your instructions to do another one that more closely resembles yours!

 

So Much To Be Thankful For

Sometimes life is tough. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity that surrounds us. So, it is important to keep reminding ourselves what is the most important.

In my life, I am thankful that I have two beautiful children who are happy and healthy and starting their own adult lives.

I am also incredibly thankful for my amazing husband who does everything humanly possible to make me smile — even if it means telling bad jokes or doing silly dances — things he would probably deny if questioned.

To help keep me focused on the positive and important things in life, I created this 8×10 canvas to hang in my home. (click on the photos for a larger view)

I created the background with Glimmer Mists in oranges and yellows.

The paper is Authentique’s new Thankful line.

I used dies from Tim Holtz/Sizzix to cut out the leaves, then added a bit of Distress Ink and molded them with my fingers to be dimensional.

Then, I added a few acorns, cut out from the paper, and topped them with Distress Stickles. They give a soft sparkle without it being in-your-face bling.

The word Thankful is cut out with my Cricut and the smaller words are cut with a Lifestyle Crafts die.

The globe is from Globecraft Memories. I ran the frame through an embossing folder and then coated it with enamel powder. I made the family photo sepia toned to match.

For the final touch, I added a few Piccolos — tiny, laser cut pieces made from compressed chipboard — and coated them with enamel powder. I love the elegance they provide.

 

What are you thankful for?