Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Idea Dice

09 adding ideas and prompts 

I finished a new project this weekend and I wanted to share it with you. These are my “idea dice” for various projects (mainly my art journals). When I want to add some extra elements, or don’t know what to do, I can just roll my dice and go! There are actually four of them, the other one will be in a later photo (it’s just colors, no words). This was a very simple and inexpensive project to make, so allow me to walk you briefly through the process.

01 wooden blocks
The first thing you will need are blocks – I bought four wooden blocks at Michaels, they’re approximately 1 7/8” (the sign said 2”), the other size choices being 1 1/2” and the regular game dice size.

                                   02 paper squares                                                                          03 light coat

The next step is to cut out your squares of paper to decorate the dice. I knew in advance that I would have three with different ideas, and one with just solid colors, so I first cut out six squares (one each of solid red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) for the color block. I then decided to stick with this color scheme to make my selections easier – otherwise I probably would have spent much too long deciding which colors and patterns I liked best. I used scraps, which I have separated by color into ziploc bags; if you’re a paper crafter, I know you have tons of paper scraps that you insist on keeping, so this is a great way to use some of them. Each square is cut to 1 3/4” so there will be a frame around it of the natural wood. If you don’t want that border, just cut the paper to the size of your block.

After I had the squares cut out, I adhered them with mod podge (matte medium would also work, or mix glue and water, whatever you have on hand). Start with a light, thin layer across the entire square as shown above. Adhere your piece of paper and burnish gently but firmly with your finger to help it stick. If you have trouble getting the paper to stay down, you can try applying a thin layer of adhesive to the back side of the paper as well as the block, and/or letting the adhesive dry for about 10 seconds so it gets a little tacky, that will give it more tooth.

08 stamping ideas and prompts
After all of my paper was glued on, I used some small alphabet stamps and archival ink to write my ideas and prompts. I had three lists worked out ahead of time, each with six things. I tried to group similar prompts so I wouldn’t end up with three of the same thing when I use the dice – for example, one block has six different technique ideas – and didn’t worry about which one went on which color. For the background I simply cut “vanilla” cardstock (from JoAnn’s) into 1/2” strips.

04 color block 1 05 color block 2 06 covered blocks warm 07 covered blocks cool

Here are the blocks with just the paper on them, a photo with the completed blocks is at the top of this post. (It’s hard to tell, but the color block with the three warm colors has yellow on the left, orange on the right, and the one with the cool colors has purple on the top.) The ideas and prompts I used are as follows:
            Block 1:  no stamps, stickers, punch, stencil, just paper, spray ink
            Block 2:  add dimension, exactly six words, only three colors, attach an ATC (Artist Trading Card), stitch, tear paper
            Block 3:  vintage, book paper, wooden, tissue paper, metal, ribbon

There are several ways you can modify the parameters of this project to fit your individual needs and desires. For instance, you can make your own dice out of chipboard, cardstock, really any substrate you’d like. Also, you can use the dice for all sorts of things other than art – helping your kids pick chores, deciding what to have for dinner, choosing a movie genre… the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. Another thing I thought about while I was making these is that instead of sealing the prompts on, you can attach them with a small piece of velcro, and make several more, allowing them to be interchangeable if you want more options. I think these will be enough for me for now, and if I decide I need more, I would probably just buy more blocks.

I hope this was a fun and interesting project idea! If you decide to make some of your own, and/or use this idea to make any kind of art, I would love it if you shared it with me in the comments or on Facebook! Happy crafting!

Friday, July 3, 2015

All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome 2006 by Kathy Hoopmann

I have mentioned in a few posts that I am trying to read through a list of 100 novels (put together by Time Magazine writers about ten years ago), and that I’ve set a goal of 100 books in 2015 through Goodreads.com. Last November I wrote about the first book  that I read from the Time list, and in January wrote one about my first book for this year. I had hoped at the time to be able to write a post about each of the 100 books as I finished them, but as usual, life got in the way. So here I begin again.

The second book I read this year, way back on February 5th, was called All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome. One of the substitute teachers I worked with while doing my student teaching at Troy Jr/Sr High let me borrow it, and I must say it was a fun read! I was familiar with it from a YouTube video called Asperger's Cats, but hadn’t read the book previously. Not only were the photos cute and well related to the facts, I found the writing to be very accurate as well. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone – no matter whether you have a cat, someone you care about on the Spectrum, or just need a fun book to brighten your day! And if you have a chance, check out the video (just click on the title, it’s a link), it will no doubt make you smile.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Halfway to the Middle at the Midpoint

I have set a goal for myself, as part of the Reading Challenge on Goodreads, to read 100 books in 2015. Well, today is the midpoint of the year (182 days both have passed, and will come to pass), and I am halfway to the middle of that goal – in other words, I’ve read 25 books so far:

1. The Shack, by William Paul Young
2. All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome, by Kathy Hoopmann
3. 1984, by George Orwell
4. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
5. What You Pawn, I Will Redeem, by Sherman Alexie
6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
7. Skippyjon Jones in the Dog-House, by Judy Schachner
8. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
10. The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

11. The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon
12. 11th Hour, by James Patterson
13. 12th of Never, by James Patterson
14. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J.K. Rowling
15. Unlucky 13, by James Patterson

16. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
18. The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling
20. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

21. The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, by Thornton W. Burgess
22. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling
23. Grumbles from the Forest:  Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist, by Jane Yolen
24. Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

Within this list are books written by 17 different authors; books from four different series (three of which all the books have been written, and two of which I will hopefully finish this year); and 19 of the 25 I read for the first time. Techincally, two books (The Fellowship of the Ring and What You Pawn, I Will Redeem) aren’t books – the former is part one of a three part book called The Lord of the Rings, but the copy I have was broken up into three separate volumes; and the latter is actually a short story, but it counts on Goodreads as a book.

Also, I have decided to read Time Magazine's Top 100 Novels, thought without a time constraint imposed, so of these 25 books, seven are on that list (including The Fellowship of the Ring, as The Lord of the Rings counts as one book out of their 100). I also read a book from this list at the end of last year (To Kill A Mockingbird), and wrote a post about it, so I’m up to 8 out of 100 on that goal. Most of the books I’ve never even heard of, so I’m interested to see how it goes! So who else has a reading goal? I’d love to hear about it!