Friday, January 30, 2015

shape up for the holidays!

i'm sure i've mentioned before how much i looooooove shaped cards, which makes it a bit of a puzzle that i rarely make them until there's a challenge calling for cards other than the traditional rectangle or square. luckily, stephanie and i actually get to set the prompts at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ so we make sure to tackle shaped cards once a year, and for 2015 this fortnight is *it*! here's what i made:

digital snowglobe image from "an icy christmas" by studio flergs and amber shaw, used as a template to paper-piece my card. patterned paper: basic grey, studio calico, crate paper, my mind's eye, shiny silver paper of unknown origin and lots of tiny scraps of white and off white for the layered tree; reindeer flight die: tim holtz/sizzix; xmas tree #2 die: sizzix; clear stickers: sentiment/winter by SRM press; sheer ribbon from my stash; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

one of my favorite things to do with digital images and clip art is use them as templates for "real life" cards. when i saw the gorgeous snowglobe in the "icy christmas" kit from amber shaw and studio flergs, i immediately thought, "SHAPED CARD!" i could have used the image exactly as it came, but i wanted to make my card a little more personal, so i printed a copy on plain paper sized like a 5x7" photo and used it to paper piece the sections; then popped a diecut reindeer, layered-and-sewn tree, and festive greeting into the resulting snow globe.

An Icy Christmas by Amber Shaw & Studio Flergs

i have a teeny secret to reveal before i send you off to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's gorgeous work: most of my shaped cards, including this one, are basically just very fancy postcards; i know it's easy enough to stick on a hinged back to make a "real" card, but usually i just write my festive greeting on the back, and since no recipients have ever complained about this to my face, i decided that meant i could skip the boring engineering part in favor of extra embellishing time... so i did. and now you know! :) :) :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SOS186: love me do

with valentine's day just around the corner, we at shopping our stash thought the most useful thing we could do for our fellow card-makers right now would be to have a challenge that called for love-themed cards. so we did! here's what i made:

apart from the background sheet by echo park, all of the patterned paper here is composed of leftover scraps and offcuts from other projects. don't you just LOVE IT when that happens?! :) i was going for a woven look without actually having to weave, so i just layered the strips at right angles using a bit of dry adhesive on the back of each, added the occasional strip of washi tape to hold all the strips together, and machine stitched around the edge of the heart at the end for good measure. florals: prima and maya road; heart brad: joann essentials; ink: colorbox; border punches: recollections + ek success; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

in 2002, our family got the best valentine ever, when niece riley elizabeth was born on february 14th! it's hard to believe it's been thirteen years and an almost infinite number of heart-bedecked cards since then, but both the calendar and the lovely girl herself assure me it's the case!

i was inspired by both the sketch and the hearts theme of the current fusion card challenge, "two hearts":

i'm also linking this card up with the simon says stamp wednesday challenge where simon says have a heart!

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

meanwhile there are many more fun and fabulous projects awaiting you at shopping our stash, why not drop in and see them right now, darlings?! ♥

Sunday, January 25, 2015

building a better mandala

or, at least, building a different mandala; since i quite liked the one from my SOS card earlier this week on which i used my spellbinders' "blossom two" dies as the scalloppy layers in the mandala. but i thought of a new way to combine store-bought card-making supplies with my own hand-drawn and hand-painted bits, so (quite immodestly!) i like it even better. first i'll show the card and then i'll essplain:

patterned paper: glitz design, k and co; mandala built on strathmore watercolor paper and painted with koi paints, with a layer of copic marker swirls and sharpie white paint pen accents; xs black outlining pen: faber castell pitt; border punches: recollections, ek success; rhinestones: heidi swapp, martha stewart; pearl accent (recolored blue with a copic marker): k and co; chalk ink: colorbox; adheisves: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

ok, so, do you see the sliver glitter paper outlines? there are two: one's at the very center, surrounding the blue gem; the second is close to the outer edge. those outlines are actually a couple of the offcuts from blossom- shapes i used on the first card. i trimmed neatly around the edges so i'd just have a sort of blossom- or mandala-shaped border. i didn't realize until i sat down to write this how hard it'd be to explain, so instead of writing more, why don't i just show you?

in case you're thinking, "hey lauren, since these are nestabilities, couldn't you just use the two closest sizes to get a similar effect with much less effort?" well yes, though, as you can see in the shot above, it does make a much fatter outline; also i like the idea that the version featuring hand-cutting means this technique could be used with ANY kind of die. (so yeah... you'll be seeing this again, darlings!)

anyway, after i had outlines i liked, i glued them to a square of watercolor paper, and filled the interior with watercolors, markers, circles punched from scraps of patterned paper, and some sticky-back bling. then i outlined everything with a super-fine-point black permanent pen. et voila!

i was inspired by the current mojo monday (#381) sketch for my layout, tho i did slide the mandala over to the side AND made a wide (rather than tall) card, but it's still an awesome sketch as i'm sure you'll agree:

i hope everyone has enjoyed a lovely weekend. we had snow yesterday, we expect more snow tonight, and my mom is coming to stay for a few days, so i'm looking forward to a busy week, spent largely indoors. whatever you're doing this week i hope it's ♥FUN♥ and if you encounter some nasty weather, i hope you stay warm and safe! xoxo

Friday, January 23, 2015

more "NEW" goodness

we're still celebrating and showing off our latest and greatest supplies at JINGLE BELLES this week, as we "bring in the new"! here's my card:

NEW stuff: crate paper glitter snowflake, my mind's eye pearl brad, basic grey snowflake border sticker, SRM sentiment, and best creations silver glitter paper; OLD stuff: fancy pants, pink paislee and my mind's eye patterned paper, kaiser pearls, felt snowflake and silk flowers from michaels

i've got a real mix of old as well as new this time: my crate paper glitter snowflake, my mind's eye pearl brad, basic grey snowflake border sticker, SRM sentiment, and best creations silver glitter paper are all new; the rest of this card is stashy goodness, and the background paper was SCRAPS-- which, it's hard to see, even in real life, but there are actually two different patterns of the same shade making up the blue panel; the seam is just under the snowflake border! i have to (quite immodestly!) say that i love the way this one came out, and i especially love the stitched swirls that i sketched very lightly with a pencil before outlining with white thread in my sewing machine.

i used the current sketch at cardabilities (#115), which explains why the layout is rather fab, doesn't it?

meanwhile, there are some gorgeous cards in the readers' gallery at JINGLE BELLES, not to mention a lovely new one from miss stephanie-- be sure to check it out!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

it's been quite a week... which i've learned many interesting facts. for example: did you know that a high-pressure fuel pump costs $900 and is not covered under a powertrain warranty? nope, me neither! something i *DID* know from past experience is how important it is to regularly back up everything on your computer, especially photos and your itunes library. sadly, i did not follow that wise advice recently enough; i shall be throwing myself on the mercy of the geek squad later today in hopes they can retrieve at least some of the stuff from the hard-drive of my now sadly unplugged desktop computer. most of yesterday evening was composed of my attempts to right the situation myself, via several "hard" reboots, thwarted attempts to run my anti-malware program in safe mode with networking, and two "blue screens of death". since the latter constitutes my official limit as amateur computer repair person, i'm off to seek repair or replacement of said machine from professionals. i hope to be blogging and emailing uninterrupted from my laptop, but if you don't hear from me for a few days, i'll be down at best buy, pacing the tech-center lobby like an expectant parent. :0

and now i'll leave you to back up your hard-drive and run anti-virus + malware scans, darlings!!!  (seriously, GO, DO THAT!!!)

ETA thursday night: the car is back in action, the new computer is up and running, the old computer is in capable hands with hopes of data retrieval; we are reminding ourselves that all of the above were merely *INCONVENIENCES* and how lucky we are to have such fix-able problems! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SOS185: not your normal paper

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "not your normal paper" and here's leslie's description of what we want, "use a specialty paper you had to have: glitter paper, foil paper, honeycomb paper, corrugated paper, canvas, cork, etc." you probably already know that specialty paper is like catnip to me. i find it hard to resist handmade paper, sparkly paper, laminated paper, woven-bamboo-like paper... well, basically if it's fun and funky and paper, i either have it or i want it, lol. so this was a great chance to use a few different kinds on my card:

specialty papers:  silver glitter=best creation, ancient red paisley velvet paper=sei, flocked yellow background paper, blue spot-laminated paper=k and co, pale pink self-adhesive fabric paper=dcwv, silver metallic cardstock=staples; vintage ledger from my stash; frankensteined bits of rhinestone flourish i cut apart so they'd fit better: recollections; flower/mandala dies: spellbinders nestabilities; circle punches: ek success; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, so, you can see the glitter paper right off, and i think you can maybe tell that the big paisley on the right hand side of the yellow base paper is flocked. (if not, you'll just have to believe me when i say, "it's flocked!") there are also a couple of other "special" papers here which are probably harder to spot. the orangey-red paisley is actually some ancient sei velvet paper... and may i just take one extra minute here to say, "i still LOVE that stuff!"... but apparently i was the only one who did, because i've never seen any other version of it by any other manufacturer. go figure. the pink mat layer is some very sheer, self-adhesive fabric paper by die cuts with a view, which, again: i've only ever seen this one variety, one time, in a joann fabrics; admittedly it's slightly fussy to work with, being very thin and wanting to stick to itself more than to any other surface, but if you use it in small quantities it looks really nice. finally my cardbase is a metallic silver cardstock that i found at staples near the big pieces of oaktag and foam core that are used for presentations and class projects and things.

however, my favorite part of this card actually has nothing to do with the papers; my favorite part is that, several years after buying nestabilities blossoms two dies, i discovered that whereas i don't like them much as flowers, i *DO* totally love them as layers in a mandala, woohoo! :)

for the layout of my design i used the latest sketch (#344) at sketch saturday:

be sure to check out this week's gorgeous SOS design team cards, since each and every one has a brilliant way to use some beautiful specialty paper!

Monday, January 19, 2015

it's not overused, it's ♥RECYCLED♥!

ok, yeah, i make no secret of it, there are a few silly card motifs that i use over and over (and over!): best fishes is one of them. monstas are great for birthdays as well as christmas. and i can never resist a good pear anniversary pun. the proliferation of adorable camera-based imagery in the past few years has led me to making a number of belated birthday cards with "oh snap" as the sentiment, like this one and this one... and THIS new one right here:

patterned paper: basic grey, american crafts (dear lizzy and amy tangerine), echo park, creative imaginations; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; labels: dymo; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i suppose i could apologize for making different versions of the same thing so often, but that would imply that i'm sorry, and/or that i intend to change. since neither happens to be true, i think we'll just skip it. this particular version of "oh snap" is for my brother-in-law, rich, whose birthday has pretty consistently been in january for as long as i've known him... (which is-- holy wow! 30 years!!!-- ok, i've totally freaked myself out by doing the math on that!) ...despite which, i'm not sure i've ever been on time for it. sorry, dude! if it's any consolation, feel free to tell everyone you're a year younger until the card comes, k?

i used this week's retro sketch (#149) to guide my placement; ok, yeah... as usual... i kind of put my own spin on the sketch. :)

in addition, the simon says stamp wednesday challenge is looking for guy cards this week:

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

speaking of guys and embarrassing neglect, lovely husband jeff recently reminded me that he had somehow still never seen nephew matthew's and my favorite film, despicable me 2, so i ordered a dvd and we watched it friday night. you know how sometimes you re-watch a movie and think, "why did i LOVE THIS so much?!" well, that totally did not happen at all with DM2, if anything i think i love it more now. of course, i've had the madly infectious pharrell williams' song "happy"* stuck on an un-ending loop inside my head ever since, but that's a small price to pay for true cinematic genius, right darlings?! ♥

*a song which happens to have perhaps the most joyfully catchy video ever made; if you've never seen it and you're in a place you can sing along and maybe dance a tiny bit without being fired or made the center of an intervention, i highly recommend you go watch it right now. if not, for pete's sake, DON'T CLICK THE LINK!!! :) :) :)