Saturday, September 16, 2017

Embossed and Painted Leather Travelers Notebook Advanced Techniques Class Review

I had such a great time at the Planner Friends Event Advanced Embossed Leather and Alcohol Ink Techniques Travelers Notebook class on September 3, 2017.  It was held at the new Michaels Store in Irvine, California.  Tammy Santana and her crew taught us how to emboss leather, then paint the leather using alcohol inks.  She shared with us various tips on applying and layering the inks to create various effects on the leather.  She also showed us how easy it is to bead our travelers notebooks with seed beads to add some decorative details to our travelers journals (notebooks) in order to create one of a kind pieces.

During the last half of the class, we learned how to make some beautiful decorative leather spines that attach to the reinforced spine of the Travelers Notebooks. This actually adds two more elastics to our leather travelers notebooks, while at the same time changing the look of it.  It is easily removable but ultra handy to know how to make.

The first thing Tammy did was to show us how to Emboss Leather using our Sizzix Big Shot machine and an embossing folder.  The results you achieve depends on the thickness of the leather, how wet you get the leather and which embossing pattern you choose.  Then we used our kit from the last leather class that Tammy taught to mark our patterns for the hole.  In case you are interested in getting your own leather kit, Tammy bought ours on Amazon for around $40.

The kit has everything you need to get started working on leather.  First we marked our leather with the Edger Beveler.

Then we used the lacing chisels to mark our holes.

The spacing and size of the holes is completely dependent upon which chisel you decided to use. I decided on the black one (this one is not included in kit but can be purchased at Hobby Lobby) because I knew I was going to use larger beads and that size matched them better.

After the entire leather travelers notebook was marked, we painted our leather using the alcohol inks that Tammy provided.  The photo above shows how beautifully Tammy painted the leather with her alcohol inks and used them to emphasize the paisley style pattern she used for this travelers notebook.
Once we were finished painting the leather with the alcohol inks and had allowed them to dry, we started to sew the spine pieces together.  Before we got started, we had to decided where and what beads we wanted to use for beading the leather travelers notebook.  Tammy is a very easy going teacher and while she is happy to teach techniques, she loves to encourage everyone to do their own thing.  That being said, I decided to do my own thing and only bead the spine of the travelers notebook.

I beaded the entire travelers journal first using the wax linen thread that Tammy provided.  Then I beaded my spine using some very small turtle beads, crystals and fire wire.  I wanted to be sure that the beads were not going to fall off with use.

The smaller beads close to the quarter are the ones I decided to use.  I bought these on sale at Michaels and they are really cool to bead with.

The crystals that I choose matched the removable spine that I made in class.

Since we were not required to bead our travelers notebook, each book was unique.  Some of the students beaded their entire book with the silver seed beads provided and even finished them in class (they were super focused on the project).

Jessica Lam (who is known for her stunning Green & Lyme A5 Planners) choose not to bead her travelers notebook at all. She went with a simple elegant look.  She purposely applied the inks so that they blended beautifully to create the effect below.  It looked even better in person.
Jessica, also simplified the decorative removable leather spine so that it complimented the travelers notebook that she made.  You can see more of Jessica's planners (and upcoming events) on her website or follow her on the  Green & Lyme Facebook page.

Keely (known for her handmade dolls on and handmade travelers notebooks on Etsy) decided to blanket stitch her leather travelers notebook instead of using the traditional stitch.  Her book has a green sheen to it but for some reason my camera did not really pick it up.  There is a better picture of it on her instagram at @oddgirljournals.

Another class member made one out of suede that looks stunning. If I can find out who made this one, I will list her instagram later.

Some people embossed their leather travelers notebooks. Some just painted the leather with alcohol inks.  Some beaded their travelers notebook and some did not.  However,  all of them came out beautiful and each reflected the vision of the person who made it.  You can see more examples of the various travelers notebooks that we all created on Instagram at the @plannerfriendsevents pages.

Personally, I found that this beading process took a long time for me to finish beading my field note sized travelers notebook. In the end,  it was well worth the effort.  I know have extreme respect for those vendors who make these type of travelers journals.  I also will not feel guilty to pay a little more for them to personalize my books for me.  If you want to learn to make your own travelers notebook or learn some leather techniques, I recommend taking a class.  Tammy Santana's beaded travelers notebook class was so easy and fun to do.  It was also a fun social occasion where I got to meet some really talented ladies.   I know that I can not wait to see what Tammy will be teaching at her next class.  You can find her on Facebook and/or her blog.  For those of us who do not have enough free time to make up our own removable spine, we are trying to convince Tammy to sell a few on Instagram.  I will let you know if she decides to make a few to sell.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I paid for my class with my own funds. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A review of what you will find at the Gem Faire Show in Costa Mesa

A review of What You Will Find at the Gem Faire in Costa Mesa

If you are looking for a great selection of Czech Fire Polished Glass Beads or natural stone beads, then you will enjoy a visit to the Gem Faire.  Personally, I love it when the Gem Faire comes to town because it gives me a chance to view a really large selection of beads and compare the quality from a variety of vendors.  Additionally, this particular show has an interesting variety of booths.  You can purchase anything from raw stones to finished high-quality jewelry at an amazing price.  The first thing you need to do before you go to the show is to visit the official Gemfaire website and sign up for a discount ticket. The price for parking at the different Gemfaire locations can vary so having a discount coupon to enter the show can offset the parking fees.  I attended the Gem Faire show in Costa Mesa, California which was held at the OC Fair site this weekend, where I had to pay $8 to park.  I personally think that was a rather high fee since the average person is only at this particular show for two or fewer hours.  I had a coupon for a discounted pass to attend the show so it worked out well.

This is a smaller show that only utilizes one of the buildings and only part of the patio area.  However, they do seem to pack in a lot of booths in that small space.  There are booths that sell pearls, unfinished stones, crystals, findings, finished jewelry and so much more.  I am really happy that they also have a few booths that sell imported items like scarves, purses, and other odd items.  This year there was a really cool booth that sold tongue drums.   The prices were a bit higher than you could get them on eBay but the quality was really good.  When it comes to musical instruments, I prefer to purchase an item in person so that I know I will like the sound quality.  They had them in a large variety of sizes and styles. I did make a purchase at this booth but it was not a drum. They were also selling all types of cosplay, Renaissance costume, and other accessories.

Including this really cute hip pouch.  We use these a lot at the Renaissance Faire because you can not carry a purse while on stage with the public.  These are a convenient way to carry personal items with us and they tend to blend into the costume better than a purse would. The handy zippers are great for keeping items secure and in their place.

Additionally, the pouches have two hidden zippered pockets that can hold an id and some money.  

They are also easily adjustable with these well-placed fasteners.  At the Renaissance Faire, these tend to sell for $45 and up.  I was able to purchase this pouch at the Gem Show for $20.

Now I did come to the show to purchase Czech Fire Polished Glass beads.  So I started looking around for booths that had a good selection of 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads.  There were a lot of them.  I did not purchase anything right away because I wanted to compare quality and price.  I found two booths that had exactly what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay.

One of the booths also had the 8mm elastic in red and pink that I was trying to find to use in my Travelers Notebook. The red 8mm elastic cord is sold on Amazon but the shipping was the deal breaker for me because I needed it right away.  So it was wonderful to find both the red and pink 8mm elastic cord at this show for a reasonable price.

From this booth I also purchased the following (and the two 8mm elastic cords spools) for under $30:

Czech Fire Polished Glass 4mm Transparent Bicone Bead Strands (these were $1 each Strand):

  • Dark Green
  • Light Blue
  • Purple AB
  • Clear
  • Turquoise

Czech Fire Polished Glass Opaque Bicone Bead Strand a ($2 a strand):

  • Turquoise with Gold

Czech Fire Polished Glass 4-8mm Metallic Opaque Bicone Bead Strands:($2 to $3 each strand)

  • Dark Metallic Blue
  • silver metallic
  • gold metallic
  • bronze metallic
  • peacock purple metallic

Extra Items Purchased:

  • two heart shaped beads with crystal accents embedded into the clay ($1 each).

The next booth I that I liked had some beautiful 8mm Czech Fire Polished Glass Transparent Beads to choose from.  These were on a special sale. The special deal for the strands was if you purchased ten strands then you would get two additional strands free.  The prices on these were really good and the selection of colors was great.  These Czech Fire Polished Glass are beautifully faceted and really shine when taken out to the sunlight. 

Czech Fire Polished Glass 8mm Faceted Round Transparent Bead Strands

  • Fuchsia
  • Turquoise
  • Dusty Rose
  • Iris Purple
  • Clear Vitral AB 
  • Peridot
  • Light Blue

Czech Fire Polished Glass Faceted Round Opaque  Metallic Beads:

  • Gold
  • Green Metallic

The other booth that caught my eye was selling some wonderful Pashima Style Scarfs in turquoise with gold thread pattern accents.  The fabric is really soft and the color is beautiful (the photo really does not do the scarf justice).

I was also searching for some lava stone beads to repair a lava stone bracelet I have that broke.  I was able to find a strand for $8 that worked perfectly.  I will have a lot of extra beads that I can use to make a necklace to match my favorite bracelet.

I also saw a booth that was selling handmade and hand painted cowboy boots.  They were very colorful and priced accordingly. I think a person could get easily carried away at one of these shows.  You should also know that some of the vendors are from other countries so that can affect the use of credit cards.  The charges will be foreign charges subject to fees. So check in advance with your bank to make sure you won't be charged.  I personally control my spending by carrying only the amount of cash that I have budgeted for.  Since I am taking college courses and working part time, my budget is pretty small but I can get quite a lot for it at this show.  Paying with cash also ensures that I won't have to pay any weird credit card charges or foreign transaction fees.

The show does have signs that ask you not to photograph or record any booth or jewelry display without the express permission of each vendor.  So if you go, remember to check with each vendor before you start to take pictures. Personally, I think it is easier to just photograph what I purchased rather than some of the booths. It can get pretty crowded at the show and difficult to get a good picture.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I am not in any way associated with the GemFaire.  Also, I paid for my purchases, ticket, and parking with my own money.  P.S. I really feel that $5 to $6 for parking is far more reasonable than the $8 to $12 dollars that the Orange County Fair Grounds site charges for events held at their location.

Check out some of my other event reviews on this site like shopping at the Renaissance Faire, Labyrinth of Jareth, Art Supply Warehouse Art Event  and more.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Sip and Paint Experience at Pinot's Palette in Huntington Beach

It has been a pretty hot summer here in Southern California, so I decided to ditch the OC Fair and check out the sip and paint Event at Pinot's Palette at the Bella Terra Center in Huntington Beach.  This is a new Pinot's Palette location that just opened up.  I signed up for the Cherry Blossom Tree Event which was their first "Official" opening event on August 5, 2017.

They had everything set up for me when I arrived. If you join the Pinot's Perk club, then you can collect cork points toward future discounts and specials.  Additionally, by joining you can also make special seating requests (for those coming in large groups and want to be seated together).

Each person had their place ready for them with their name written on the table.  It is a cute way to make sure every guest is set up and ready to go.  You can order your beverage of choice as soon as you arrived, which is what I did. It was too hot a day for me to order wine, so I ordered sparkly water.

Since this was their first "official" event (they had a few soft opening events earlier in the week).  They set the class up a little differently than the normal class would flow.  

Each teacher did a different part of the class so students could be introduced to a variety of teaching (presentation) styles.  

So the first instructor started us off with a toast.

The next instructor should us how to start the painting.

Every 20 minutes or so, they switched out the teachers until we were finished with our paintings.  
This continued until the entire class was finished.  We all had a chance to finish our paintings.  The staff was so wonderful and helpful. Each teacher took the time to interact with each guest. They also kept checking to see if we need more paint and/or more beverages. You can't beat that type of atmosphere.

One of the things that I like about this particular company is that the instructors do not force you to do it their way. This is about having fun.  They inform everyone that if they do not want to do the painting the way it is being demonstrated or if they want to change the subject matter on their own canvas that it is ok to go ahead and be creative.  Basically, they just want their guests to have a fun evening and create something of their own.  The Pinot's Palette in Huntington Beach does have a Facebook page where they post discounts and upcoming events.

If you check out the Pinot's Pallet website page, you can see upcoming events and the varied painting styles that are offered.  

Additionally, I thought that the selection of wine and beers was really good.  

I loved that they offer mimosa Sundays (events on Sundays are around 11:00 am so the timing is great).  I had a headache (from the Summer heat) so I choose to not wear my glasses while painting nor enjoy a nice glass of wine.  I found that despite my limited visual ability, my painting came out pretty good and I was really happy with it.  Plus I had a really fun night surrounded by some very creative people.  If you want to know when their next class is, my advise is to either get on their email or check out their facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review.  I paid for my class with my own money. These are my own experiences with this company which may vary from others.  The best way to figure out if this type of event is for you is to check one out in person.

There is another Pinot's Pallet location in Tustin, California that offers different paint subjects.

Friday, July 28, 2017

DIY Refurbished Patio Furniture Make Over with Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel

Summer is in full bloom out here in California and I tend to spend as much time as possible outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, however, my old set of patio furniture really needed a makeover.  I love spending time sitting down reading a book while the kids play in the pool, so having a nice table and chairs to do this is important to me.  So I partnered with Rust-oleum® to see if I could give my old patio set a new life by using their spray paint to make my patio furniture look new again.

Rust-oleum® was kind enough to send me some cans of their Rust-oleum® Gloss Protectant Enamel in the color Rich Jade (#312816).  This particular spray paint helps stop metals from Rusting and adds a bit of protection from the elements.  Plus you get amazing coverage with just one coat.  Here is what the patio set looked like before I started refurbishing it, it was a mixture of faded greens and gray.  Additionally, I think one of my kids used it to hold something while spray painting a school project because there were some odd streaks of spray paint all over the table top.

The chairs were also mismatched and weren't even the same color.

The process to prepare these pieces to be spray painted was pretty simple.  I started by sanding off any peeling paint or odd bits.  The I cleaned each chair and the table to remove excess dirt and dust.  Then I  let it dry.  Once the pieces were dry, I set out some cardboard and some plastic mats to spray paint each piece.  Then I gave each piece a light coat of the Rust-oleum® Gloss Protectant Enamel.  You can see just how good the coverage is with just one coat in the photo below.

The color is really bright and fun.  I also noticed that it seem to bring out some of the cute details on the furniture that were lost with the old color.

I let the pieces dry for about 24 hours between coats because I really wanted to see what the coverage was like.  I found that two coats were fine for the table and chairs.   I know they are going to be used a lot so I wanted to make sure I had really good coverage.

It only took 2 1/2 cans to paint the entire set and that includes the bottoms of the table, undersides of the chairs, etc.  These pieces are really well covered and the finish should last for quite a while.
I love how they came out. This particular green really makes the pieces stand out against the brick.

I am so happy with the Rust-oleum® Gloss Protectant Enamel product in the Rich Jade color and how great it made my furniture look.  

I liked it so well that I purchased two cans of their white and repainted my metal screen door which now looks fabulous.  Metal screen doors tend to rust easily in my area so using this enamel should help protect it during the winter weather.  I had some rust in the corners that would get worse over time if I did not fix them right away.  So I cleaned up the doors and spray painted them with the Rust-oleum® Gloss Protectant Enamel in white.  The trick is to not spray them on a windy day.  I noticed right after I had cleaned them (before painting them) that they were dusty again.  I realized that the strong breeze we were having was leaving dust and other particles with them.  I also took the precaution to cover the brick and some plants in case of over spray (even though I was using a large box that I made to spray them in).  I waited until the next morning to spray the metal screen doors and they came out great.  I did buy one can of paint per door and used both cans up, but that is because I wanted to make sure they were well coated.  

Disclaimer:  Rust-oleum provided me with several cans of the rich jade paint to use for my makeover project.  However, I was not paid to use their product nor for my review of how well it worked for me.  Also, remember to carefully read the manufacturers directions and suggestions.  They can be very helpful in learning to use the product safely.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Planner Friends Meet Up - Summer 2017

The Summer 2017 "Planner Friends Meet Up" was a fun opportunity to discuss the trends in planning, stickers and so much more while enjoying a fun lunch of pasta and pizza (BJ'S Restaurant Pizza) with other fellow planner lovers.   This particular event was more of a social gathering than the traditional Planner Meet Ups where we all sit and plan on our various planners and traveler's notebooks.

The Planner Friends Meet Up Event is normally held at Michaels' or JoAnns which are centrally located in Orange County.  However, the Spring, Summer, and Fall events are special and held at larger venues to accommodate more people.  This particular event was held on July 22, 2017 at the:
BJ'S Restaurant & Brewery,
30652 Santa Margarita Pkwy # F, 
Rancho Santa Margerita, CA 92688

The event was organized by Tammy Santana,

who planned this lovely event that had a fun "Kate Spade" theme with some amazing prizes which included:

Kate Spade Purses and Kate Spade Planners

The staff at this BJ'S Restaurant are especially helpful and joined in when requested.
Angel, Crystal and our fun waiter.
Each person who attended got this really cool sheer nylon swag bag filled with fun planner items.

Here is one of the things that was included in the bag:

1.  The 1st packet had:

  • Sticky Notes
  • Washi Tape
  • A decorative pen
  • cute die cuts
  • shoe shaped clip

2.  The second packet had a piece of decorative papers and

a 8 /2" by 11" Sticker Sheet with these cool stickers.

3.  The next packet was a kit from @amessofgoodies that includes:

  • 1 Black and White Polka Dot Pocket TN Folder
  • 1 Black and White Striped Ribbon Paper Clip Bow
  • 1 Black Bow Card Stock Kit (3 pieces)
  • 1 White Bow Card Stock Kit (3 pieces)
  • 2 White Pockets 
  • 2 White Rectangle Pockets
  • 2 Black Rectangle Pockets
  • 1 White Frame
  • 1 Black Frame
  • 1 White Paper Clip Bow
  • 1 Black Paper Clip Bow
  • 20 Black Decorative Dots

According to her instagram, she spent time using her Cricut creating these fun goodies for us.  I just love how people use the Cricut to make such cool things.

4.  The next packet was some stickers from (she also has an Etsy shop).  I love her sticker collection and have quite a few of them.  She sells some that are small enough to use inside of a Hobonichi Weeks, as well as the larger bunny sizes.  In this packet we got:

  • 1 rainbowbunny co sticker sampler
  • 1 die cut bunny
  • 1 inspiration card

5.  The next packet is from Paper Panduh.  If you are a fan of Paper Panduh, you should know that she has a new sticker subscription box (which is sold out for July 2017).   My advice is to keep an eye on her site and see when she opens the subscriptions up again. Anyway, she included this gold embossed washi tape roll in our swag bag that has list headers like:

  • To Buy
  • Errands
  • Due
  • To Do
  • ASAP

Paper Panduh

Personally, I love washi that has quotes or headers that I can tear and use.   They are so great to have on hand.

6.  The next packet had a sticker sampler from Green & Lyme.  Green & Lyme is known for their very cute clips and for their planners.  I have one of their gold, silver and pink planners.  If you want to see what her planners look like just click on the words "Green&Lyme Planners". They are really pretty in person.  Anyway, she included a sticker sampler that can be used for box headings on the daily planners.

7.   There was also a packet with some cute die cuts but it did not have a name on mine.  This packet had a journaling card and a cute die cut octopus.

As you can see, I got a lot of fun planner supplies and goodies that I can use in my planner or Travelers Notebook. This particular event did not have any pop up shops, although we could purchase additional paper, stickers and other items from the collection that was in the planner swag bags.  Also, we did have the traditional gift exchange.  The value of the gift was to be $25 minimum to participate in the gift exchange.

The highlight of the afternoon was the Kate Spade drawings.
@plannerbecky guarding the Kate Spade Planners

  Tammy had a bunch of drawings for the Kate Spade purses and planners.

Below are pictures of just a few of the winners of these fabulous prizes.