Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

February 11, 2016

Femme to Femme

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Last night, I was invited to be a "Fab Femme" (a spotlight guest) at the monthly "social hour" meeting of a Dallas-based group called "Femmes International".

Haven't heard of this organization? I really hadn't either. All I knew was that it was once called "Le femme Focus", they were some sort of networking group, and they had recently changed their name. Other than that, I didn't have a clue as to who they are let alone what it is they actually do.

But last night...I found out.
Femmes International is a gathering of women, from all walks and runs of life, who have come together with a single purpose... to help other women...not only to help them directly...but also to help inspire and teach them how to help themselves. Their mission statement is a powerful mantra--

"Get two women together, to start a conversation, and magical things happens."

Well, it may not be their EXACT mantra...but it's pretty close.

Not only that, it's a very insightful one at that.

Femmes International hosts some pretty heavy-hitting members when it comes to the world of business. As I looked out over this gathering of women, I was literally gazing upon a marvelous aggregate of accomplished entrepreneurs, creative muses, inspirational angels, heroic healers, and amazing visionaries. The amount and caliber of positive energy in that room was palpable.

We heard a report from Lucy McKenzie on a current project in Kenya that helps women by gifting them sewing machines so that they, in turn, can provide some really unique and necessary products for girls in their small, rural communities. The sister organization that is heading this is called ...what else..."Femme International". Their mission is to make and distribute Femme Kits (a gathering of reusable feminine hygiene products for girls).

These kits allow girls to remain in school during their menstrual cycle when they would otherwise be kept at home. Why? Because these villages have no flush toilets. They have no running water. They have no access to sanitary pads and tampons. The Femme kits include either a menstrual cup or 6 reusable pads which the girls can wash and reuse for several months.

The gift of the sewing machines has provided local women the means to make the pads for these kits. It also allows the women the opportunity to sew uniforms and other articles of clothing for resale.

Each social hour also includes an "In Her Words" segment, where one member is invited to stand up and share her story. Last night, we had the honor of hearing Janie Bornder's touching story of strength, resilience, and incredible tenacity. Janie is the executive director of Dress for Success--the local branch of this worthwhile international organization.

The mission of Dress for Success is simple: they offer long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty. They not only provide professional clothing, but also coach women in interviewing skills, help them develop basic job skills, and assist them in writing their resumes. It's not a short-term solution. An impressive 84% of the women that get placed for employment remain employed in those positions after 1 year.

After that, we were introduced to some wonderful products that help keep our digestive health on track...products that I will probably be investing in very soon.

Then, it was my turn in the spotlight.

I felt...sort of inadequate standing up there ...after listening to these women who do such important, life-changing things...to talk about my little crafty corner of the world.

What I do is not life-changing. It is not global. It is not (even remotely) something that is important to anyone else besides me.

I am an artist.

What I do is for me.

I'm not in business to make tons of money on my art. Art is not my job. It's my passion. It's my saving grace. It's my peace and joy...it's NOT my vocation. Yes, I do commissioned work for clients. YES, I teach all aspects of paper crafting. But the big difference is...WHY I do it. It's not to put food in my mouth, it's to feed my soul.

So there I was, about to talk about my art, not knowing what to say when it hit me.

We had heard from ladies who fed our hearts. We had listened to ladies who healed our bodies...I was here to share what I do...to feed everyone's creative soul. My job last night was to be a muse. To inspire. To encourage creativity, in whatever form it takes, and to share with the assembly that it is, indeed, not only OK, but also NECESSARY to nurture YOUR creative soul. That having FUN and creating for creation sake...is as necessary as breathing.

At least I sure hope that is what I conveyed.

Femmes International was a refreshing and welcoming experience; one that I hope to participate in for years to come.

They truly do celebrate the commonality of their diversity.

Thank you, to Robin Roberson, Rose Colarossi, Becca Menig, and all the truly fabulous women I met last night (whose names I will eventually learn in time). It was an honor to be among such a truly positive force of humanity.

I invite ALL my women friends to come to one of their social hours (hosted the 2nd Wednesday of each month). Look for them on Facebook HERE











February 7, 2016

Tangled Change

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

I'm S L O W L Y getting back in to the crafty swing of things after my recent run-in with "the crud". SLOWLY.

Today I have a project I created for Crafter's Companion. I am taking a BRIEF departure from doing cards, and created a piece of art for the wall in my studio. It measures 8"x10".

It's to remind me that "change" is not a bad thing.

It's actually, necessary.

For today's project, I started with a digital stamp image from the "Flights of Fantasy" CD collection. This CD is a compilation of lovely fairy-esque art by Morgan Fitzsimons. They're all lovely.

I like fairies.

A LOT.

Choosing just one from this CD proved to be tough.


I colored up the image with Spectrum Noir Blendable Colored Pencils. Then, I cut out the image and proceeded to Zen-Tangle a background for it (with a mircrofine-tip Sharpie, because my Sakura Pigma pens have gone missing). When the Tangling was finished, I shaded it all with a plain old #2 pencil and a blending stub. It's AMAZING what a difference a little smudgy shading does to really bring a Tangled piece to life.

After I was finished tangling...I cut out an aperture in the background and mounted the stamped image in the opening. I colored additional butterflies and popped them off the page with foam tape.

This is the first time I've Zen-tangled (Zen-Doodled) in about 2 years. So, I was a bit rusty at first. But, it amazed me at how quickly it all came back to me. It's like riding a bike.

I forgot how much I like Tangling.

Supplies used:
Thanks, as always, for tromping out here to visit me in Left Field!

February 1, 2016

Strange Love

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

February is here...that means multitudes of chocolaty goodness is in my near future. My hubby and I have been SO GOOD in years past about NOT getting each other boxes of chocolate. But, this year...I WANT CHOCOLATE.

No jewelry.

No flowers.

No fancy cars or yachts.

No cutesy stuffed animals.

No serenading gondoliers.

I. Just. Want. Chocolate.

I guess I better get my husband to read this post, huh?

It's time for a new challenge over at House Mouse & Friends. This time around it's all about LoVe! The theme is "Love is all Around".

I was in a goofy mood when I made my project for this challenge. Originally, I had selected this image for our LAST challenge (the Zodiac one--it was gonna be for Pisces)...but due to health issues, it sat uncolored for weeks. I finally colored it up and decided I could adapt it to our current LoVe challenge. All I did was come up with a sappy sentiment and slapped a heart on it.

It works.

This card also brings to mind a proverb-like saying..."A mouse could love a fish, but where would they live?" But I didn't feel like going all Confucius-y.


The sentiment inside reads "You're strange, and I'm wonderful". Yeah, I was in one of "those" moods. I colored the image with my Prismacolor pencils, and paper-toled the mouse so that it's 3-D.

Our sponsor this time is:
We are very happy to welcome back Heidi and Simon Says Stamp!!
http://www.simonsaysstamp.com/servlet/StoreFront
   
Winner will receive a RANDOM ASSORTMENT of Premium Dye Ink Pads 
http://www.simonsaysstamp.com/servlet/StoreFront

Thanks for stopping by!


January 10, 2016

Winter Fun

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

It's half-way through our current challenge over at  
The challenge theme this time around is  
Winter Sports/Winter Fun.

Well, I don't know about you, but when I think of fun things about winter....skiing, sledding, snowball fighting, ice skating, caroling...they all end up with the participant of said activities being chilled to the bone! And this, to me, isn't so much fun after awhile.

MY IDEA of winter fun is hot cocoa.

With Marshmallows.

Hot cocoa just SCREAMS "winter" to me. Actually, at my house, we have hot cocoa available all year-round, so basically...it's screaming at me. ALL. THE. TIME... (in a soft, warm, chocolate-y voice).

Here is my take on our current wintry theme! Our mice friends certainly seem to be enjoying this winter-time treat! I used two "oldie but goodie" stamps and colored them up with my Spectrum Aqua pens. Have I mentioned how much I just LOVE these pens? They may turn me into a watercolor artist...you never know!

Ingredients:
  • "Warm Cup" stamp by House Mouse
  • "Sugar Crash" stamp by House Mouse
  • Spectrum Aqua pens (Crafter's Companion) in following colors: Aquamarine, Peach, Spice, Slate, Desert, Burgundy, Charcoal, Chocolate.
  • Stately Circles dies (Spellbinder's)
  • Loopy edge punch (Martha Stewart)
  • Ribbon
  • Patterned paper
  • Cardstock
  • Distress Ink (Tim Holtz)- Vintage Photo
We have one generous sponsor this time around...
http://www.simonsaysstamp.com/servlet/StoreFront 
They are offering a random assortment of their Premium Dye ink pads! 

How sweet is that???
http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=595989

So, hurry scurry over to House Mouse and Friends and enter for your chance to win!





January 7, 2016

From the Heart

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

HaPpY NeW YeAr!!!

One of my crafty friends, Rosemary, recently posted a video on a cool aperture card technique. Only problem was, the video is either in Chinese or Japanese. All the captions are in Kanji...and the measurements were in Metric. But, otherwise, it was a pretty good video--enough so that I felt I could figure it all out.

So, I told my friend, "Give me a day, and I'll have this all figured out with step shots, measurements and templates!"

And, guess what?

I actually did it!

So, for my latest project for Crafter's Companion, I present the Heart Aperture Card with full tutorial!!

The way the card works, is that the card is a gate-fold card with a belly band. When you open it, the inside reveals a closed heart-shaped aperture that magically opens up to reveal the image underneath. It's really cool.

Here is the short version of the original video:

Here is my version. I used double-sided patterned cardstock.

The outside of the card

Remove the belly band
...and open it up to watch the red aperture
magically open!
Closer Look
Ingredients:
Step-by-Step Tutorial:
1. This card uses 5 pieces for the basic card construction. Here are the pieces with their measurements, IN INCHES...because I'm American. Dotted lines indicate fold lines.
  • Piece A (Card base) = size: 4.75" x 9.5" (4-3/4 x 9-1/2). Fold at 2-3/8" from each end to create a gate-fold base. 
  • Piece B (Window aperture) = 3.25" x 7" (3-1/4 x 7).  Fold in half. Fold tabs on either end at 3/8".
  • Piece C (Window) = 3.5" x 5.5" (3-1/2 x 5-1/2). Fold tabs on top and bottom at 3/8".
  • Piece D (Heart) = 3-1/8" x 3-1/8". Fold in half.
  • Piece E (Belly Band) = 1" x 10". Folded around final card to overlap slightly in middle of card front.
2.  Cut out all your pieces out of cardstock. I used double-sided patterned cardstock. It's WAY easier that way. For the remaining step shots, I have labeled each photo with the corresponding piece letter, so you know what piece you're working on.

3. Starting with PIECE A...Score and fold sides in to middle as shown at 2-3/8" from each end. Set aside.

4. Take PIECE D and fold it in half. With a pencil, draw half a heart shape, on the fold as shown. The size should be about 1/4" from top, bottom, and side as shown:

 
5. Cut out heart along line.
 You'll end up with something that looks like this:
 You'll need the heart-shaped piece to use as a template for the other parts of your card.

6.  Take PIECE B and fold it in half. Crease the fold well.

7. Fold the heart template piece in half and position its straight edge on the fold of PIECE B as shown below, leaving equal margin top and bottom. Trace around heart half with pencil.

8. Cut along pencil line through both layers of folded PIECE B to create heart-shaped opening in the middle of PIECE B. This will give you a second heart-shaped piece to use.

9. Cut PIECE B in half as shown below. Set them aside for now.


10. On PIECE C, fold tabs on both ends in and crease well. NOTE: The tabs are on the TOP AND BOTTOM of Piece C.

11. On BACK SIDE of PIECE C (in my case, the peach side), Draw line down the middle (at 1-3/4" in from side) LIGHTLY with pencil. Take heart-shaped template (from either PIECE D or PIECE B) and position it on PIECE C so it's in the center of PIECE C. Draw heart, with pencil, using template. Carefully cut out heart window, Use a craft knife if you can. NOTE: I cut my window slightly larger (like 1/16") than the pencil mark so that the aperture would show underneath as an outline to the image when fully open.

12. Put strip of strong adhesive (like Score tape, red tape, Sookwang tape) on FRONT side of each tab.
  

13. Adhere PIECE C to inside of card base (PIECE A), being careful to center it between folds.

 14. Carefully position and adhere colored image behind PIECE C to card base. Make sure image is smaller than outside dimension of PIECE C.

15. Adhere little tabs out of same cardstock (like 1/2" long max) at top and bottom of left half only of PIECE B. Make sure they don't extend into the aperture opening. These will allow the right half to smoothly slide over the left half when card opens and closes.

16.  Fold 3/8" tabs under on each end as shown below. Crease well. Apply strong tape to front side of each tab (second photo)



17. CAREFULLY slide left and right halves of PIECE B UNDER PIECE C as shown. Align both halves of PIECE B's aperture with window on PIECE C. Adhere tabs of PIECE B halves to card base (PIECE A)...so they are equal distance from the folds on either side. Position RIGHT half of PIECE B so that it glides OVER the LEFT half. You can manipulate them once they're adhered. NOTE:  You may need to tweak these halves a bit so that the card opens and closes smoothly. If you measured and cut precisely, you shouldn't have any problems. Mine was a bit sticky on one side, so I trimmed the edge of PIECE C down a bit so that it didn't bind with PIECE B. Apparently, I was measuring challenged today.

18. Close card and position Heart Template (from PIECE D) so that it is centered on front (PIECE A). Trace around heart on closed card front with pencil.
  
19. Cut each half of heart from front panels of PIECE A.
   
20. To make the belly band, take PIECE E and wrap it around closed card so that ends meet in middle of front of card. The ends should overlap slightly. Remove from card and crease folds well. Glue overlapped ends and adhere one of your heart templates (either from PIECE D or PIECE B) to the front of the belly band to hide the joined ends. 

NOTE: you can trim down the heart so that it is about 1/4" smaller than than the aperture to create a different effect. Slide the belly band back on your card, and GUESS WHAT? Put a fork in you, YOU'RE DONE! Well, you're finished with the CONSTRUCTION of it. Now comes the FUN part! You get to decorate it however you choose!
  
 Finished product
Thank you SO much for wading through this tutorial with me! I hope it made sense. Please let me know if I've left anything out or if you are confused about something. I'd love to see what y'all come up with!