Saturday, February 6

Staying Crafty in Mackinaw Island

One of my favorite places in Northern Michigan is Mackinaw Island.  It seems life is simple there.  No cars.  No traffic.  No stress.  I have been there so many times that I can draw the main drag on the palm of my hand.  I already know where to go if I need (or want) something, and I already have my favorite spots, favorite restaurants and favorite shops.  Despite how small this island is, and having stayed a couple of weekends there, I know there's still a lot I haven't seen and done.

Just like any other trip, I have researched about craft resources at Mackinaw.  Not necessarily a craft store, but a place where you can indulge and enjoy creativity.  I'd like to share with you my favorite crafty spots in the island.

Little Luxuries was a pleasant surprise during my last visit at the island.  Lots of unique products here, most of which are made in Michigan. The stuff they carry here are not what you'd normally see in a common store.  



Poppins has a lot more paper products, which I love!  I was like a kid in a candy store when I first set foot here.  Every shelf has a lot of wonderful paper thingies - you'd want them all.  They even have select supplies you can snag to make something with while taking a break at the park.


My visit to the island is not complete without going here.  This shop has a very good selection of silver jewelry and not your typical gem stones.  My favorite rings I wear to my band gigs are from here. 


Caddywampus is not your usual type of store.  It's always a treat to go here because you see so many one of a kind stuff.  And yes, even crafty products made from other countries (Philippines even!). What I like about this store is that you see something different in every visit.  My latest purchase from here is a bracelet made from a bicycle chain, which I wore to my band gig that night. 


I always love to go to a bookstore.  With all the gadgets nowadays, you don't see bookstores everywhere anymore.  I'm so glad Mackinaw Island has the Island Bookstore.  The last time I was here, they had a very good selection of adult coloring books.  Of course I bought one or two.  They also have a good selection of crafting books here, and a lot of other types which I would read.


I have plans of going to Mackinaw Island at least a couple of weekends this year.  Though I have other things in my list I have to do, like circling the island, I will definitely be visiting these stores again.

'Til next blog!

Thursday, February 4

Let's Color!

It was early 2015 when I discovered this new trend in the crafting world: coloring books for adults.  I'd like to say it's one of the highlights of 2015.  I'm not sure who started it, but I think when Johanna Basford released "Secret Garden", it exploded into something big.  I remember it was hard to get a hold of this book.  I was lucky at the time to get a hold of the Secret Garden postcard edition at Joann's.  I colored the first page last year with Copics, and I really liked it.


So just like any other, I started collecting these adult coloring books.  I found lots of themes everywhere - from mystical, gothic, florals, animals, ocean, oriental, steam punk, Christmas, even movie-themed like Starwars.  It came to a point in which they were everywhere - including Walmart.  They have also released "magazine" type coloring books.  Yeah, the ones that come out every month or so - the ones you can pay for a subscription to.  I didn't go that far though.  When I realized they were everywhere, I raised my standards.  I wanted to make sure the quality is good, the designs are one of a kind, and the thickness of each page is vital.  If the page is thin, and there are designs on both sides, I don't buy them.  To me, they are just like regular kids' coloring books.  I thought it was cool that some stamping companies jumped in the band wagon and released a coloring book edition of their stamp images.  One perfect example is Unity Stamps.  They already have 3 editions of their coloring books.  I have one of them, and I think it's really awesome.  The size is big and the quality is really good. Ann Griffin released her own version too, only available at HSN.  I did get one of them also, and I thought the quality is really nice.

After "Secret Garden", my next coloring books were from Sam's Club.  One of them was Dazzling Patterns by Barron's, which I really love!  Both sides of each page have a design, so it's a bummer if you like them both because you have to pick one to color, especially if you're using markers which bleed through.  I used Chromatix Alcohol Markers by American Crafts (I got them for a good price at TJ Maxx).


The other book is the Posh Coloring Book by Andrews McMeel Publishing.  Each page has design on both sides too.  For this one, I used Prismacolor pencils with the aid of Gamsol.


Design Originals released a bunch of coloring books as well.  I got the Creative Coloring Animals.  I thought the pages on this book is not as thick as the others, but I still bought it because there is only one design per page.  The image below is colored with Chromatix Alcohol Markers as well.



The Color Me Happy book by Lacy Mucklow is a good one too.  There is also one design per page, so you won't have to worry about ink bleeding through.  This page below is colored with Sharpie markers.



I thought the colors are more brilliant when you color with markers.  That's why for these coloring books, I try to avoid using my Copics as much as possible.  I've been on the lookout for cheap marker sets, and those I use for coloring.  I still have yet to try actual water color, pastels, gel pens and other mediums.  I'm actually considering buying a good box of crayons too.  But for now, I'm fine with cheap pencils and markers.

But it didn't stop there.  Somebody was brilliant and came up with a coloring app.  And of course a lot followed suit.  I only use two of them.  The first one I tried was Momi Coloring, which is a free app. I liked the interface, and it was easy to use.  My favorite part is that all images are free. There are so many designs available - you won't have enough time to color them all.


Colorfy is another app I like.  You can also get this for free. But what you can color is limited, and to widen your color pallet, you have to pay.  I have bought a pallet, but to me it's really not worth it especially if you don't use the app often enough.  


I stopped at these two apps.  I don't see any point of downloading any more coloring apps.  I'm sure there's a lot out there, maybe even better ones.  But I'm good with Momi Coloring and Colorfy. Plus I think these two apps are trustworthy and I don't have to worry about security issues.

And just like I promised for 2016, I haven't bought another coloring book.  I think I have enough to last me a long time.

'Til next blog!

Friday, January 1

2016

Happy 2016!!!  Lists have been made on what to change, improve, achieve and a lot more.  

Let me enumerate my crafty goals this year.

1.  Create more than usual.  

Really, I'm an overall crafter.  But my recent posts are more about cards - because they're the easiest ones to make and require lesser time.  In 2015, there was not a single post about other crafts I used to do.  Pathetic.  I started as a scrapbooker for all sakes!  I did digital scrapbooking too.  I have done some scrapbooking last year, but it was for my friend's and not mine.  I can't recall the last scrapbook page I have made for myself.  I can't remember the last time I made a digital scrapbook page either.  The last time I crocheted something was this cool Bobble Hat almost 2 years ago. And my last cross stitch project was in 2011.  Jewelry making?  It's been a long time.  I love papercrafts - especially origami.  My last origami post was in 2012.  I have a lot of craft kits which I haven't touched for years.  If my planet could oust me, it would have a long time ago.  This is Tinker Planet.  I need to do a lot more tinkering.

2.  Use up my supplies.  This one is really important.  As I get older, I actually feel joy when I use up something.  Like lipstick.  Or a bottle of lotion.  It means I got my money's worth.  I want to apply this with my craft supplies.  A lot of them I have had for years anyway.  They need to be used.  With that, I am not to buy unless I run out of something.  This goal has actually been a yearly thing.  I would do good in the first few months, then I forget about the goal once I see something that's a "good deal." But this year, I'll do my best to be good.  I need to use what I have and make the most of what I have paid for.  Besides, I don't have as much time to play in my planet, so there's no reason to buy more supplies.  Plus, if a craft item was cool back then, it doesn't mean it's cool now. And if a craft item is cool now, it doesn't mean it will still be cool in the next months.  That's why I should be more wise in my craft spending, and avoid buying on impulse, despite the sale price. 

The Scan n' Cut and the Shotbox are exceptions.  Hee hee!

3.  Purge.  I will do my best on this one.  It is a waste of money if you buy a crafting tool or item, then not use it.  I need to figure out which ones need to be passed on, donated, or sold, so they cannot be wasted.  I have started that actually, but there is still a lot in my planet that needs to go.  That I need to let go.  I just have to make the time and determination to just do it.  

4.  Write more reviews.  I used to do that a lot.  I admit, sometimes I buy craft tools just for the sake of making a review about it.  This year, I shall write a review of tools and supplies which I have used and like to use.  Including those I don't like.

5. Make more tutorials.  My last tutorial was in 2013.  With the technology of cellphones and GoPros, it is a lot easier to make video tutorials.  I aim to make at least one this year.

6.  Write more.  I know I have the knack for writing.  It's why I have a blog in the first place.  I used to have published articles, you know. This year, I will not just post pictures of my projects.  I will write about them.  I will write about anything crafty.  I will find a reason to write.   

7.  Participate in online crafting community activities.  Yes.  Participate.  I'm not saying to be active.  Just participate.  I have to admit I have been out of the loop for quite some time.  If not for select crafty friends, I wouldn't know what's new in the crafting scene.  I want to start by joining a blog hop, challenge or a swap.  At least one.     

I did set a high standard for myself this year.  And there are two hindrances I can  think of.

Time.  Yeah. Time. It's my planet's biggest nemesis for quite some time now.  I just don't have as much time as before.  Real life does get in the way of my crafty world.  When I'm done with work or playing in my band, what time I have left to spend at home is for chores and other tasks.  After that, I just want to relax and do nothing.  Which leads to the next obstacle in my crafty objectives.    

The smart phone.  I confess.  When I sit on the couch with my cellphone, that's it.  The smart phone has lots of benefits, but just like any drug, it can be addicting.  I am hooked to my smart phone - because everything's there.  Music. Camera. Videos. Internet. Facebook. Video Chat. Email. Calendar. Calls. Texts. Notepad. Games. Shopping. Ebooks. Movies. News.  Back then, my purse and carry-on luggage would be so heavy when I travel.  It would have my wallet, camera, music player, mini notebook, pen, scheduler, video camera, dvd player.  Mind you, I never owned a laptop.  That would have taken more space in my luggage.  Now, all I need is my wallet and my cellphone.  I love it that my purse is not so heavy and walking around is such a breeze.  However, I need to draw a line when it comes to my cellphone.  There are lots of things I can do and accomplish when I'm not on my phone.  Before, I used to look forward coming home from work and playing in my planet. Lately, I come home from work and go straight to the couch after dinner, with my smart phone in hand. This has got to stop.  

In other words, all my crafty issues boil down to me.  I am the reason why I haven't been crafting as much in the last couple of years.  Why I haven't been writing and blogging as I should be.  

I need to change.  I have to change.  I will change.

*Crossing fingers*

Friday, December 25

Christmas Cards 2015

Merry Christmas, crafty friends!  What crafty gift did you get for Christmas?!?!  Let me guess... a new die cut machine?  Stamps?  A complete set of your favorite markers?  I'm sure whatever it is, you're all set for 2016.

I made a good bunch of handmade Christmas cards this year, but I forgot to take pictures before I sent some of them out.  This year's cards are a lot bigger than usual - 8.5 x 5.5.  Then for my card base, I used double sided designer card stock (Martha Stewart).  The card fronts are made with the Anna Griffin Mix and Match Christmas Frames Embossing Folders.  I love, love, love this and I'm glad I bought them from HSN last month.  Then I accentuated them with Stickles.  I forgot how fun Stickles are to use.  I have tried several ways to store my Stickles, but now I keep them all in my Artbin Bottle Storage Satchel.

Now on with the cards...


Like I mentioned earlier, the card base is one piece of double sided card stock (Martha Stewart).  When I cut my cardstock, I make sure the designs I like is showing right inside and out.  The pic below is one of my favorites.  The added accents are the die cut white card stock and reindeer on the left, and the sentiment on the Christmas tree on the right.


For this card, I adhered snowflakes adorned with Dew Drops accents.  I inked the sentiment a little bit, then dotted some Stickles around it.


When you open the card, this is what you'll see.  I adhered snowflakes accents here too.


For this card, I accentuated the embossing with Stickles and bling.


Then on the inside, I adhered more accents.


Now, with leftover materials from the big cards, I made this smaller card. I added snowflake and sentiment accents on the front and on the envelope flap.


Inside, I added a poinsettia accent and adhered a die-cut white card stock for the message.



I really had fun making these cards.  If my DH liked them, they must be good.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the holiday weekend!

'Til next blog...

Thursday, December 24

Tinker Christmas

Hello crafty reader!  I'm sure by now, your trees have tons of gifts under the tree - some of them especially crafty.  I was looking for the one crafty gift for myself, and I think I have found the one I really like.  I will discuss that in another post.

But for now, let me share with you my craft projects this Christmas.

Decorating wreaths has become a tradition in Tinker Planet.  This year's wreath is nothing fancy.  Just like last year, I adhered pine cones and bling.  I finally used up my pine cone stash from the yard, and the bling is from leftover decorations from a wedding at the hall where I wash dishes.




Part of my crafty Christmas tradition is making handmade ornaments.  Last year, the "main ingredient" of my ornament was scrap staples.  This year, I'm using leftover lumber ticket material from work.  It's white thin sheet of plastic - very durable.  I'm not sure what it's called, but I do know I can create a lot of things with it.  Actually, I have made a quick retirement banner with it in July (click here to see).  

With Sizzix dies (probably retired), I was able to make the following:

Snowflake Hanging #2

Snowflake Hanging 3-D #2

Snowflake Hanging 3-D

Starburst, Hanging

Start 10-Point 3D

And of course... cards!  I wouldn't let the holiday season pass without making any Christmas cards.  I'll share all of them on my Christmas Day post.

'Til then... enjoy your Christmas Eve!

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