Thursday, March 28, 2013

OWH Midweek Throwdown Starring....Me!

I am so excited that Jan from Operation Write Home selected one of my cards for the inspiration for this week's OWH Midweek Throwdown theme of Stripes. So even though I already played along for the inspiration card...I wanted to put together another card for the challenge.

Yesterday, I saw this great card made by Cristina Kowalczyk featuring big bold stripes inspired by a beach towel. I loved the look so much that I used it for my background for this card. Taking Cristina's lead, I created navy stripes out of Bazzill cardstock and adhered them to a white panel of Neenah Solar White. To make mine slightly different, I embossed the bottom 1 1/2 inch strip with the small dots folder from Cuttlebug and tied a red ribbon at the top of the embossed panel. It looked very nautical now and the dots reminded me of raindrops.

The image is a digi stamp from Some Odd Girl called Puddle Hopping Tia. She is so adorable and I colored her in primary colors so the whole card has a bold, cheery feel. The sentiment is stamped and heat embossed from Everyday Expressions by Paper Studio (my go to sentiment stamps lately).

I love how she turned out and can't wait to see what everyone else creates over at the OWH Throwdown. Hope to see your creations there. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Muse Challenge # 10 and a CAS Card that was Neither Clean nor Simple

I don't know what has happened to's like all my creativity dried up. I haven't posted in 10 days because quite honestly, I haven't created anything in that long. On Monday, the gals over at Muse: A Card Making Club posted a new challenge (#10) from Ardyth Percy-Robb that I hoped would spark some creativity. Her CAS card is to the right.  It's fun, its simple, and I couldn't wait to see what everyone else would come up with for samples.

When I looked at the card, I immediately thought to reverse the images...placing white circles on a background. And since I've been playing with my spray mists a ton lately, they seemed like the perfect backdrop.  But you'll see took me several attempts to get just the look I was going for. And so the process was anything but clean and certainly wasn't simple, either. Ugh!

Emboss resist technique
Initially I tried the emboss resist technique. Using an embossing pen, I traced circles in various sizes and then heat embossed them in white powder. But I don't think that my embossing pen has enough liquid in it and the circles seemed faded. Overall, not a bad look, but just not what I was going for. Also, I wanted more white space on the card to mirror the clean look of the sample. So I kept on playing.

Wrong sentiment size,
not loving the colors
So for the next attempt, I decided to ditch the embossing idea and instead stamp circles in gesso AFTER I applied the spray mist. Because I wanted more control over the mists, I held the spray bottles closer to the page, which kept the splotches more contained. This wouldn't have been a bad card, but you can see that the spray mist breached the lines separating the sentiment and the sentiment stamp I chose was just way too big for the lines. And in the end, I just didn't love the colors that I chose. So attempt #2 was a fail in my eyes.

Better color and sentiment size,
but not enough white space
Trial number #3 was by far, my favorite color combination. So I was getting closer....but I went a little spray happy and forgot to leave enough white space. Not quite done yet. At this point too, I was pretty committed to the ribbon flanking the top and the bottom of the sentiment panel as it was the only way to hide stray spray marks that leaked into the strip.

So here is the "final" card. It has most of the elements that I was going for. It has more white space (although my purple spray doesn't always cooperate and tends to get off course). It has the colors I love with a bit more purple than attempt #3. And I chose to mat this one with a purple background for a layered look. The ribbon color is a bit off though...picky, picky.

Final card for submission
The good news is that in addition to finally having a card to submit for this week's Muse challenge, I have a number of other "failed" attempts that have been salvaged and will make nice cards to send to someone else (who doesn't know what I was trying to do) or possibly to add to my box for Operation Write Home.

And since my hands are already covered in purple ink, I might as well keep playing. Who knows what else I might come up with.

Thanks for stopping by.

Supplies: Neenah Solar White Card base, Tattered Angel's Glimmer Mists, Gesso, Everyday Expressions sentiment stamps by Paper Studio, Ribbon by Offray.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's a Stampy Sunday Link Party at TAWS

Just popping on with a quick post tonight. Arielle over at The Alley Way Stamps is hosting a Stampy Sunday Link Party. You only have a few hours left to create a card using TAWS stamps (or digi freebies) and link it up to join the party.

I am in desperate need of birthday cards lately, so decided to use this cute little hippo from Tropic Topic. I colored him with Copics and topped him with a cute little birthday hat from Lawn Fawn's Hats Off to You set.  The sentiment was created by piecing together words from TAWS sets Jibber Jabber, Mad Gab and Tropic Topic. Super cute and super simple! 

Supplies: Cardstock from Bazzill and Neenah, Pattern paper from Recollection Time Frame collection. All stamps from The Alley Way Stamps (except the birthday hat, from Lawn Fawn). Ribbon from Celebrate It. Twine from Hemptique. Pom-pom from Creatology.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great night!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

WPlus9 Monday Mood Board #5 Challenge

Monday Mood Board #5 at WPlus9
I came up to the craft room today after being away from it all week. After spending almost an hour and half cleaning out my emails, I had very little motivation for crafting. Luckily, I came across the Monday Mood Board #5 over at WPlus9's design blog. Normally, I don't play along with the WPlus9 challenges because I only own a few of their items. But the red & blue patterns in the paper reminded me of their Quilt Cuts 1 Die, which I do own...and use all the time! So I decided to play with it a bit to see what I could come up with. And since it my Mom's birthday is coming up at the beginning of next month, I thought I could get started on her card.

The card I made is actually my third attempt. Once I had the pink border down the side (which I love)...I just couldn't find the right colors in my patterned paper stash to make it work. I had three or four different papers from my K&Company floral stash, but just didn't love the combinations. I was trying to stay pretty true to inspiration board, but you'll notice in the end, I changed it up entirely. That is what I love about these challenges, they really force me to play around until I find something that works.

One of the things I love most about this card is that I used a lot of my scrap stash up to pull it together. Other than the patterned paper (from Basic Grey's Sweet Threads), I used scraps for the rest of the card, so I can't really tell you what the papers are (mostly Bazzill and Recollections though, I think). I used the inside cuts from the WPlus9 Quilt Cuts 1 die to make the border on the right as well as the little hearts on the green tag. I used the outer frame of the die cut for the flowers on the brown background and the little pink tag in the upper left corner. I traced the center of each petal with white pen to give it another layer. I thought about doing it on the border as well, but was afraid that if I didn't like it, I would ruin the card. The birthday sentiment is from Wordsworth by Rubber Soul and I cut the tag from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge for Cricut and finished it off with some pink bakers twine from Hemptique. 

I am so excited that I got to play along with a new challenge and I really love how the card turned out. I know my mom will love it too since she is a big time gardener and loves anything floral.

Well, that's it for now. I've gotta run and make dinner for the crew...they are "starving" or so they say :-) 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Art Journals & A Reflection

Last week I had to attend the funeral for one of my clients. He was only 49 years old and leaves behind a wife and two teenagers. The service was short but sweet, highlighted by some passages from his journals...notes about his favorite places to visit, proud papa moments when his kids did something fantastic, and stories of how thankful he was to have he family he had. And as I sat there through the service, I thought...what an amazing gift he has left behind. Although he died much too young and his children won't have him around...they will always have this piece of him. His words, his thoughts, his love. 

I've tried journaling in the past, I even have books started for each of my boys. There are only 5 entries in each book and the last entry was in 2006. I just don't like writing (ironic, since I used to work as a writer for a living).  When I started scrapbooking back in 2001, I figured that this would be my legacy to leave to my kids. Evidence of a life well lived and well loved. But as most scrapbookers will confess, there are few photos of me in any of my books. I am always the one behind the camera. 

Art journals are all the rave right now and I've been wanting to start one of my own. Now that I've started wading into the mixed media pool...I'm hooked and want to dive right in. So I've decided instead of a traditional journal, that I will create art journals for my boys. The art and my scribbles will be my way of documenting our life together. And since I don't see them leaving home with the 18+ scrapbooks that I have made, they might want to take their journals (okay, maybe not...but I am doing it anyway).
I started my oldest son's book with a picture from when he was born. The photo isn't the greatest (taken 11 years ago with a point and shoot film camera) and my son had jaundice, making him look like a really skinny oompa-loompa. I kept the journal note small and wrapped around the edge of the page. You can't notice how messy my handwriting is, and that is what I love about it :-)

I am entering this page into the Simon Says Stamp and Show blog because as it was coming together I realized it worked perfectly with this week's number theme. But honestly this page is about so much more than a challenge, and I couldn't love it more. I can't wait to go make some more pages. 

If you've made it to the end of this long post...thank you! Now, go make some memories!

Supplies: Mixed Media journal by Strathmore, Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist (Meadow Green, Turquoise Blue, Blue Skies, Sapphire), Stamps by Hero Arts and All Night Media, Washi tape by Freckled Fawn, gesso.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Modge Podge, Please

If you stopped by the blog on Monday, you saw my foray into mixed media canvas. Before I got started, I watched a few videos and scoured Pinterest for some inspiration.  Among the pins, I found a cute canvas here that had a patchwork background.  I am pretty sure the artists painted the background, but it reminded me of a quilt and that got my brain spinning.

I wanted to create a really special birthday card for a good friend of mine. She is super sweet and a bit artsy herself, so I knew she would appreciate it. I cut a number of scrap pieces of paper from my stash to 1 1/4 inch squares and adhered them with mod podge. That stuff is amazing and in addition to adhering anything, it gives the project a nice shiny topcoat.

I used the lowercase alphabet dies from My Favorite Things to cut out the word happy in black cardstock and then stamped the word birthday from the tail end of one of my random clear Happy Birthday stamps. To make the word stand out against the background, I heat embossed it with black powder. Using a Memento tuxedo black pen, I hand "stitched" around a few of the squares to give it an authentic quilt feel.

I just love when projects come out exactly as I hoped they would, don't you?

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Mixed Media Madness!

As you may remember, I kicked off the year watching videos from Nathalie Kalbach's Creative Jump Start Summit 2013. A lot of the videos showed mixed media projects (Nat's specialty). So they've been stewing in my head for a while now. The artists made it look like so much fun...but there is a big difference between real artistry and a wanna-be artist.

Then recently I came across this cool video over on the Faber-Castell website showcasing a mixed media canvas created with rubber stamps and Gelatos. I couldn't help myself...I just had to give it a try. 

To the left is my first attempt (actually, it's like my third attempt, but the other one's weren't photo-worthy). I used a variety of stamps from my collection (I think the large flower is from Outlines Rubber Stamps, who are no longer in business, and the wavy background is a Ditto stamp from Hampton Arts that I picked up at Michaels). 

There is some gesso and some mod podge involved new favorite goos. I had a little paper calendar that I got from some vendor and thought these might make cute wall calendars (teacher gift ideas for next holiday season, maybe?)

I was having so much fun that I kept on creating and came up with this one (to the right) stamping the entire background of the canvas with the Double Vision Ditto stamp by Hampton Arts and then using the Gelatos as a watercolor medium over top. I loved the pop of flowers from the first canvas, so I used similar ones for this along with some sentiments from My Favorite Things How Does Your Garden Grow set. I used the polka dot flower center from the same set to decorate inside some of the background circles.

And last but not least was a canvas I created using my good old fashioned Distress Inks with an embossed resist. I don't usually do a lot with the vintage look, but I really like how this canvas came out. I used accents from Tim Holtz Alterations line and tissue tape, some old letter brads I had, and some white cotton flowers.

(Note: the calendar shown in the pics is just a placeholder... if I did decide to give these away I would replace with a nicer calendar or maybe post it notes).  

Thanks for stopping by and indulging me in my mixed media madness!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

ABNH Challenge #21--Make Your Own

Over at A Blog Named Hero they have come up with a great challenge this week to really stretch your stamps. Titled, Make Your Own (Embellishment, that is), this challenge asks you to use Hero Arts stamps to create your own embellishment to add to a card or project. There are so many great examples from the design team. 

I have been using the Hero Arts All the Time set a lot recently to finish up my box of cards for Operation Write Home, so I thought I would play around with the clock faces to make my own clock! The Tim Holtz Vintage Cabinet Card die from Sizzix was the perfect clock base and I used my Spellbinders Nestabilities circles to cut both the opening for the clock face, the frame around the opening and the acetate sheet covering the clock face. I trimmed the sides and the bottom of the Vintage Cabinet Card cutout to make it fit to the card and to allow more of the background to peek through.

To create the background, I stamped the Hero Arts  Work Gears cling stamp in Versamark and then embossed it with clear embossing powder. Then I used some Distress Inks (in the colors of antique linen, vintage photo, and walnut stain) to create a warm background and to accentuate the time theme. The sentiment is also from the Hero Arts All the Time set.

A small glossy brown brad was the perfect finishing touch to the clock face. Here is a close up of the clock face.

I'm pretty psyched with how it came out and am glad that I stumbled upon the challenge to push me to use my stamps in a fresh new way. I can't to see the other submissions.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Alley Way Stamps Be Inspired Challenge #23

It's time again for another Be Inspired Challenge over at The Alley Way Stamps. These are truly challenging for me, since I only have a few of their sets to play with. But I always love the inspiration photos because they really push me to stretch my imagination. Today's photo features stacking doll heads and a clock....hmm!

I need 5 more cards to fill up my Operation Write Home box and I don't have many miss you cards in there, so I knew that was going to be the theme of whatever card I created. As soon as I saw the stacked faces, I thought of the film strip from the TAWS Reel Time set. Using the ring from the same set, I used it to create little faces in the film strip, which I filled in with little faces from Peachy Keen's Cute and Cuddly assortment stamps.

On the left panel, the clock is stamped from the Hero Arts All the Time set, heat embossed, and enhanced with an arrow eyelet from (I think) Recollections. The sentiment was created by using bits and pieces of phrases from the TAWS Jibber Jabber, Mad Gab, and Reel Time stamp sets. the blue and striped paper is from a Fancy Pants Designs 6x6 pad To the Moon.

I am pretty happy with how this card turned out. Cute and sweet. Perfect for a soldier to send home to the kids to let them them know how much they are missed. 

Have a great night!