Sunday, September 21, 2014

DIY U.S. Map Canvas Art

I think I may have left you in Gary, Indiana a little too long. See my last post if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Sorry about that.

The green room/guest room/craft room has been getting a little bit of an overhaul and it's inspired me to spend a little more time in there.

My dye cutting machine, which lives in this room, hasn't been used in several months, so I thought I'd get cracking on a few new paper craft projects. I'd been wanting to make some map art for a while and today was the day!

What I used for this project:
8x10 canvas (I bought a pack of 10 at Michael's for only $10 with a coupon)
Die cutting machine (mine is a Silhouette Cameo)
An SVG US map file (I used "US States" by BasicGrey, available from the Silhouette online store)
12x12 card stock in various colors
Acrylic paint and brush (pink shown here)
Gel medium (or Mod Podge)

So to start, you'll need to download an SVG file of the U.S. states and open up your Silhouette software. 

Here's what the pattern I chose looks like in the shop (below). 

If you'd like to go global (as I intend to do next week), here's a good option: "world map" by Cali Arroyo. That's also available at the Silhouette online store. 

Pull up the file in your design area. Make sure your cut settings are set for the type of paper you are using, adjust your blade and cut on your first color of card stock. You could definitely enlarge the map, but don't make it any smaller! Rhode Island was a difficult cut for my machine to make at the set size. 

Pull out all the states and use the rest of the paper as a template when you go to lay down the different colors states on a canvas. 

Next. you'll want to highlight the map and then click on the "ungroup selected shapes" button at the bottom left. 
Click individual states that you do not want to cut on the second round and drag them off to the side (see below). After cutting, erase those states and drag the next round into the printing area. 

I tried to make sure that no border states were the same color, although I didn't completely succeed there. 
While laying them out on a blank canvas, I noticed that some of the states were either a little bent out of shape or just completely cut in half (my cutting machine definitely messed with Texas!). So I went back and cut the imperfect states again and got those looking good.
 On a another canvas, I took a tiny bit of pink acrylic paint and watered it down heavily before brushing it over the canvas for a light pink wash. Then I let it dry. 
 Now it's time to stick the states onto the canvas. I used Golden gel medium, which is like the artist's version of Mod Podge. If you're ever at an art supply store and they don't carry Mod Podge, you can go for the gel medium. It does the job. And does it very well I might add.

Whichever you choose, gel medium or Mod Podge, be sure to get some gel on the canvas and on top of each piece of paper.

I didn't think to use the template until after I finished, so I just eyeballed the placement of the states. 
 My U.S. map art is drying in the craft room, but will soon be moved to the girls' room (which is also getting a little makeover.). 
 Hope you liked that! See you next time. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Urban Exploring

These are some picture I took of an abandon Methodist church in Gary, Indiana. We stopped there on the way to Michigan.

The church was abandoned in the 70s and has been decaying ever since. I really wanted to go inside to take pictures, but you need a permit for that. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Bike Ride

 We went for a bike ride on the Milwaukee River bike path as soon as the sun poked through the clouds on Monday. 

 A seat at Colectivo cafĂ© by the lake. 
 Johnny's Day at the Beach, a colorful ice cream shack. 

 Soaking up every last drop of warm sunshine before fall weather comes to town. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Upcycled Gift Tags

Hmmm. What to do with this old gift bag? How about making some cute gift tags? 
 This bag had a really cute floral motif, so I cut out all the flowers that weren't on folds. 
 Then I whipped out my Memory Keeper's Crop-A-Dile eyelet setter. I bought this tool last year at Michael's (with the 40% off coupon) because I wanted to make block printed gift tags for my Etsy shop and I wasn't having any luck with those anvil kits.

If the anvil kit is a Hyundai, a Crop-A-Dile is a Jaguar. Not that I have that much experience driving a Jag and I can't really complain about the Hyundai, but you get the idea. 
 To set an eyelet, you first need to punch a hole at a six that coordinates with your eyelet. Then, after switching the cube to the right size, you push the eyelet through the paper and place it in the setting tool. Then you just press down and viola! 
String some twine through the eyelets and you've got a nice set of tags!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saugatuck, Michigan

 Views from the lake house rental in Fennville. 

 A street in downtown Saugatuck. 
 At Fenn Valley Vineyards. 

Ginger was a good girl. Only dug one hole in the yard. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A summer dessert with blueberries

 It's blueberry season and we got busy filling up buckets at Earl's Berry Farm near Saugatuck, Michigan. 

 Oh boy, do we have a lot of fresh blueberries. Even after making a blueberry pie and two days of blueberry pancakes there's still a huge bowl full in the kitchen.
With all these blueberries around, I thought I'd experiment a little and came up with a... let's call it a blueberry pie sundae. 

In a food processor I combined 1 cup of fresh blueberries. 
 2 tablespoons of sugar. 
 Half a tablespoon of corn starch. 
 A pinch of salt. 
 1 and a half tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. 
 Half a teaspoon of vanilla.

Then pulsed it all together and simmered it on the stove for about 2 minutes. 
Then for the crust I smashed up a graham cracker. 

 And put it at the bottom of a cup. 
 Then a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 
And poured the blueberry sauce on top while it was still warm.