Thursday, July 31, 2014

Moving Day at The Artful Crafter!

Moving DayPhew! The heavy lifting and packing are nearly done. You know what a big move is like, exhausting but exciting as well. We've been coding until our eyeballs bled. We've been eating more and exercising less. Unlike a physical house move, a website move keeps one glued to an office chair and computer screen all the livelong day.

We've never made a move like this before, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. We once moved the website to a new hosting service; but that was like picking up everything and placing it in a new house that was an exact replica of the old.

THIS TIME we're moving The Artful Crafter into a brand spanking new designer home! The "floor plan" is not only gorgeous, but it's laid out for accessibility. It will be easy and fun to find what you're looking for. This is all thanks to our amazing consultant, Rozanne Paxman. You may know Ro as the ex-CEO of Scrap Girls.

After Ro sold Scrap Girls, she started redesigning and bringing new life to old dreary websites (ahem). But just before she finished with her first client (us), another amazing job offer fell in her lap.

I expect we will run into some glitches, but hopefully they'll be behind the scenes and you won't even notice (though I may grouse about them on the blog).

All you should notice one day is the gorgeous new decor and layout.

And then you'll all be invited to our BIG housewarming party with fun games and prizes.

Stay tuned for all the excitement!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pop Up Butterfly Card for Any Occasion

Pop Up Butterfly CardLook at this cute quick-to-assemble pop-up card. Isn't it darling? I got the free template at Pop That Card.

PopThatCard.com is the creation of Australian Cartoonist Ricko. Rick says he has been creating cartoons and illustrations since he discovered Mad Magazine as a kid.

The home page promises, "Paper tricks and printable pop-up cards that kick butt! Awesome stuff you can make for fun, friends or family."

Darn, too bad that I didn't check the home page before making my card. It features a pop-up scorpion card, which would be perfect for me to give someone. We live in Mexico with lots of scorpions. Got bitten once. Don't want to do that again!

Anyway, as I understand copyright, I am free to create this card for personal use. This butterfly card is going to a friend for her birthday. I'm allowed to alter it for my personal use.

I've digitally moved the artist credit to the back of the card as is typical. On the inside, I erased the big honking "Pop This Card" and added a squared white border. The template is designed to be cut out following a black wavy line, which seems an odd shape for a card.

Pop Up Butterfly CardThen I got a bit carried away, as I am wont to do in Photoshop. I added a pretty patterned paper from Scrap Girls to the front and changed the bright blue background to aqua to match the aqua of the Scrap Girls paper. That meant I needed to recolor the butterfly so it would stand out against the sea of aqua.

Watch the how-to video from Pop That Card. Be sure to watch to the very end and see the pop-up butterfly make some new friends. Amazing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How and When to Safely Remove Mold from Gourds

Penguin Birdhouse Gourd by Kathy BixbyHi,

About eight years ago someone I know who grows gourds gave me a bunch to decorate, etc. They have been sitting in my garage ever since because I didn't have the time or know how to work with them.

Also, I started to notice strange designs beginning to appear into their surface. I feared this may be mold and did not know if it was healthy to work with, yet I didn't throw them out.

I just finished reading your wonderful, helpful, very educational articles on gourd crafting and am really excited now to work with my gourds.

However, I am still concerned about the mold formation or patterning that has formed on these gourds. It sounds like this may mean they are well-cured and the mold can be easily removed with the cleaning process of soap, water and scrubby; but I am still hesitant.

I have to be very sterile in my daily job and do not want to risk any type of possible fungal infection or bacteria I may pick up and be at risk for passing on to others.

Is it okay if I wear vinyl or latex gloves when handling the gourds as a protective measure? Do you think my gourds are still safe to use and is there a duration time when their natural mold or surface bacteria may become unsafe?

Sorry for such a long inquiry but I really would like to work on these gourds and would hate to discard them. They seem hard and solid and I don't think any of their surfaces are raised growth. Would it help if I sent a picture?

Thank you!
Maura

Penguin Birdhouse Gourd by Kathy BixbyHi Maura,

It sounds as if you've read the section about gourd curing in my article on Birdhouse Gourds because you realize that mold is good in that it creates lovely patterns on the gourd surface.

I also said, "If you see mold on a gourd, don't panic. You can wipe it off if you like but it will keep coming back. After a while (i.e., when Mother Nature has finished her work), some of the mold will kind of melt into the gourd's hardened shell."

You can tell the mold has finished its work when the gourd feels light and hollow. When you shake it, the gourd should rattle as seeds come loose from the dried pulp.

Since your gourds have been curing for eight years, if they have been kept in a dry area and have no moisture or obvious rot on them, no live mold spores can be present. You still want to protect your lungs from dust inhalation, so work outdoors and wear an appropriate facemask or respirator.

Cleaning Mold from Freshly Cured Gourds

Depending on size and type of gourd, curing can take anywhere from six to ten months.

These measures may seem excessive to most but probably not to people like you who work in sterile environments or to people who have mold allergies or weakened immune systems.

When you remove the mold, wear gloves as well as a facemask or respirator designed to prevent inhalation of minute particles like mold spores. Cover your hair too, since all the nooks and crannies between hair strands are ideal places for mold spores to settle. In any case, you'll want to shower as soon as possible after cleaning the gourds of mold.

Clean the gourds outside to prevent mold spores from settling in your home, on your clothing, etc. Because of your job, I suggest you wear outerwear, which can be removed and bagged before you go inside. If the clothes are washable, dump them immediately in the wash machine and wash in hot water. If they need dry cleaning, don't even take them into the house.

When scrubbing the gourds, be sure your gloves are sturdy enough to stand up to a scrubby, for example dish washing gloves.

The easiest way to remove mold from cured gourds in with moisture. Because hollow gourds float when placed in water, the simplest method is to wrap molded gourds in towels and place into a black plastic garbage bag. Add some water and a little liquid laundry detergent.

Place the black bag in the sun for several hours. This creates a steam bath. Rotate the bag occasionally. This method will work even in cold climates.

Remove the gourds and scrub off the softened mold with a kitchen scrubby. Metal scrubbies work best but any will do the job. Scrape stubborn spots off with a knife.

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