Tuesday, June 30, 2015

it's vegas, baby!

ok, technically, this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called, "baubles, buttons and bows" and we want to see-- ok, frankly, you should already have guessed this-- baubles and/or buttons and/or bows. i went with baubles. which is not that unusual for me. i mean, we all know that if i were a bird, i'd be a magpie; but in this case it really was absolutely necessary, because i was making the cover of a souvenir birthday book, for my friend barb, who will be celebrating her *60th birthday* next weekend, in las vegas!

vegas photo collage image trimmed from an outdated travel guide; oversized pink vintage bauble which used to be a clip-on earring (until i ripped the clip thingie off it with a pair of pliers) found at a rummage sale; glitter paper and velvet paper: doodlebug; transparency: hambly; little paper flags: heidi swapp and basic grey; stick pins: making memories and little yellow bicycle; "party" button: october afternoon; florals and scalloppy bling border: recollections; feather (because you really can't say something has an authentic vegas vibe if there are NO FEATHERS, am i right?!) from my stash; ink: stewart superior; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, gluedots, low temp hot glue gun, sewing machine

i know, i know, technically, what happens in vegas stays in vegas, and it's important to destroy the more incriminating photos. but i figure there will be at least some wholesome moments, involving cake and presents and her kids, which she might like to print out and put in a really cool book full of vintage papers, fun patterns and festive transparencies, so i've got her covered!!! :)

i realize it's sometimes hard to figure out what i've done, exactly, when i alter things, so luckily for once i actually remembered to take a picture of my embellishments before i started:

you can see that my two store-bought florals already had gem centers, but they were A) kind of  dinky and B) not at all birthday-related, so i decided to swap out. i used a badge for the smaller one, and a really cool vintage earring (aka BAUBLE!) i found at a rummage sale for the other. it had a clip on the back, as you can see, so i used pliers to pry it apart and then wire cutters to trim it up. under ordinary circumstances, i would've handed this job off to jeff, but recently he found me a pair of excellent spring-loaded cutters at home depot, which make snipping through fairly strong metal about the same effort as cutting paper, even with my weak carpals, so i was able to do it on my own. here's what i had afterwards:

and yes, i am a bit psyched that i still have one whole earring and that cool silver filigree backing thingie to use on a future bling-encrusted project! :)

i was hoping to show the entire book today, but i'm still tinkering a bit with the finishing touches on the pages; plus... this is already a pretty long post, isn't it? so rather than rush, i've elected to come back later in the week with the dramatic conclusion! :) meanwhile, there are loads of fabulously inspiring "baubles, buttons and bows" projects at SOS; why not hop over and enjoy those right now?

Monday, June 29, 2015

EYE- cad??!

the bad news: i got a bit behind again on blogging my cards for the index card a day (aka ICAD) project. the good news: there are lots (lots!!!) to show you now! :)

022: psychedelic
as always, the prompts are 100% optional, but tammy has been especially creative this year, giving each week a theme or a connection to get us thinking. this week it was all adjectives, which is cool, because they are specific enough to get you started, but general enough to have LOTS of interpretations. so ok, yeah, this one is arguably more like psycho-delic, but still...

023: geometric
what's more geometric than vaguely dimensional squares??! i rest my case.

024: romantic
my brain went utterly blank for this one. eventually i thought of doing a rose. i'm not in love with it, but it does pretty much look like a rose, and when you are as new at drawing as i am, producing something at all recognizable still totally feels like a win! yay!

025: botanic or organic
i have no idea why, but i really like drawing food generally and fruit specifically. there's no rhyme or reason, that's just how it is. so why not go with it?  

026: exotic
i had a lot of india-related ideas, and i put ALL OF THEM into a 3x5" space. yeah. ok, so, the thing i like best about this one is actually that i don't like it at all. which is cool because it means i'm being experimental and focusing on process more than outcome. which is-- to me-- kind of the whole point of ICAD. plus... peacock feather!!!

027: academic
if you were to flick through my sketchbook you'd see approximately 40% finished drawings, 10% random jotted notes and 50% that i would categorize as "trying stuff out". the latter consists of rough sketches to get the line of something, paint color tests, wonky attempts at shading, etc. the page below had A LOT of swipes of watercolor from a couple of weeks ago when i was trying to mix a few specific colors. and a totally unrelated half grapefruit, lol. later, when i was doodling, i turned the swipes into books. an idea that came back to me when i read the word "academic" on the prompt list. just another example of the fundamental interconnectedness* of all things! :)

028: dramatic
i had absolutely no thematic idea for this one. at all. on the other hand, i had been wanting to draw some marquee letters for a while. so there ya go. my spacing is pretty wonky... and don't even look at the "I"... (which, ACK, that's totally made you have to look at the "I" hasn't it?! sorry.) but it was fun to draw and color and i don't think anyone anywhere could possibly argue that it's not, in fact, pretty darned DRAMATIC! (woohoo.) :)

*we are watching dirk gently via acorn tv. something i put off doing for a while because the douglas adams books are some of my all time faves and i feel strangely protective of them. also, i frankly didn't love the bbc radio versions, despite harry enfield writing and playing the title role, which really ought to have been spot-on. as it turns out, i needn't have worried; the tv show is really quite different from the books, but it somehow still feels completely right, if that makes sense? the best surprise is that stephen mangan-- who does not look or sound at all like i imagined dirk-- is absolutely perfect in the role. guys, i'm sorry i ever doubted you! now could we get a second series, maybe??

Friday, June 26, 2015

gingerbread... in the house!

for years, at christmas time, i've been saying that *someday* i'm going to make a gingerbread house. of course, i don't bake... i don't even cook... so that's slowed me down a bit, lol. but seeing as we're still rockin' the "no patterned paper" assignment over at ♥JINGLE BELLES this seemed like an excellent time to whip up a bit of a cardstock confection:

colored cardstock: core'dinations; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; flower sequins and brads: queen and co; heart button: doodlebug; snowflake embossing folder: spellbinders (used as a stamp with ranger tumbled glass distress ink); tree die: sizzix; clear glitter: michaels; adhesives: elmers brand glue tape, 3m foam tape, quickie glue pen, sewing machine

ok, i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, you cheated! there's totally a snowflake patterned paper in your background!" but NO, that wasn't a pre-made paper, i stamped that! well... sorta... i loaded up a really cool metal embossing plate with pale blue distress ink and applied it to some glossy white cardstock, so it would look like the house was standing in a snowy landscape.

i was hoping to use a cool digi-kit or template for my design, but i couldn't find anything i really loved, so me being me, i wound up winging it. of course the most fun was decorating the house once i had the doors and windows and things in place. instead of candy and icing i used colorful cardstock, sequins, buttons, brads, glitter and lots of machine stitching.

of course, you don't have to construct a whole scene from the ground up using only cardstock. just think up a fabulous holiday card design that features NO patterned paper and link it up with us at ♥JINGLE BELLES!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SOS207: for the boys

is it just me, or are guy-themed cards a lot more challenging to make than their female counterparts? well, this week at shopping our stash we're taking the bull by the horns and embracing masculine colors, themes and ideas, so hopefully we'll all come away with a few cool new ideas! here's what i made:

patterned paper: my mind's eye, studio calico, basic grey + vintage map scraps; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; alphabet stickers: basic grey, pebbles; ink: colorbox; pen: faber castelll pitt; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i've gone pretty simple with this one, but still managed to work in lots and lots (and lots!) of different patterns. the four rounded rectangles are trimmed-down journal cards, the stars are scraps of vintage map paper, and the sentiment mixes large and small basic grey alphas... because... i didn't have enough of either to do the whole thing. (but i really like how they look!)

there are lots more guy-centric designs to inspire you at SOS where my design team darlings have been creating magic. you know, just like they do EVERY week! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

now even ICAD-ier!

more index cards, anyone? because it just so happens i have a few more to show:

018: treehouse
i was going for something fun and magical, like maybe elves would live in, or fairies, or just very thin people without any fear of confined spaces or heights. however i'm pretty sure that exterior staircase won't meet minimum safety standards anywhere-- probably not even in magical fictional worlds-- so i expect to hear from the elfin version of OSHA any day now.

019: snowglobe
still really loving teeny tiny cities, and also to let my drawings go off the page. fairly proud that after many (MANY!) attempts to draw a simplified version of the eiffel tower, i've actually produced one that's recognizable, wahey!!!

020: color wheel
this one started off with the idea of rainbow colors, and wheels with spokes and trimmings, like on fancy bikes; but i got a bit carried away with the fancifying. ok, yeah, maybe more than a bit. but you know... inna good way, lol...

021: the 1970's
holy moly, what a decade that was for design! it's impossible to draw anything too bright, too colorful, or too crazy... just go back and look at the magazines or tv shows, it was a free-for-all! thus david cassidy and i both fit right in; which is nice because, as a matter of fact, we had the same haircut in 1974 (and at least one of us is still having flashbacks)!!! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2015


that's the sound of me getting in just under the wire for sketch #5 of the crooked stamper sketch challenge, which i will show you in one second, but first here's my card:

patterned paper: glitz design, girls paperie, american crafts (dear lizzy and amy tangerine); stickers: basic grey; feather from my stash; border punch: recollections; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

it's an anniversary card, for my sister and her husband, so of course i chose some super-cute lovebirds, lol! and yes, i used leslie's fab CSSC#5 sketch, though of course, me being me, it's a loose version! :)

leslie's challenge is coordinating with little tangles #57 on the neat and tangled challenge blog, so i'm gonna link up there, too, though i haven't used one of their fab images or even stamped at all... i hope that doesn't disqualify me.

meanwhile there are loads of fab cards in the CSSC#5 gallery, not to mention the awesome versions leslie has made, so why not go and check those out?! ♥

Friday, June 19, 2015

cardstock christmas?!

yes, holiday cardmakers, it's that time again, when we ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ eschew our beloved patterned paper and embrace the joys of cardstock, stamps, stencils, or heck just a very clean and minimal design; there are no other requirements, but you CAN'T use pre-made commercial patterned paper! most everyone knows that i'm a girl who loves pattern-on-pattern, so this is always a hard one for me, but i'm pretty pleased with what i came up with:

two shades of purple cardstock: core'dinations; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; snowflake embossing folder: darice; tim holtz reindeer diecut from super-thin wood veneer; floral and sentiment banner: recollections; music note twill: stampin' up; vintage lace and silver doily; metal snowflake and jingle bell brad: making memories; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape and repositionable gluestick, sewing machine

ok, so, you'll notice that my background is NOT clean or minimal, but i didn't cheat, i swear! i made that fun harlequin background from two shades of purple cardstock. it was a little bit of a fussy process, but here are the basics:

step one:
trim two coordinating panels of 4.25 x 5.5' cardstock, and mark the BACK of one of them with an evenly spaced pattern of diagonal triangles. i did this by drawing a big diagonal "X" that connected the two sets of corners; then placed my 1" ruler against each line and kept marking until the grid covered the page.

step two: 
using repositionable adhesive, attach the piece of cardstock with the grid to your other coordinating piece cardstock. trim the double-thick panel along each line (i like a guillotine trimmer for this) until the entire grid is cut apart into separate pieces. it will really REALLY help if you put each segment back into place on your work table (as pictured) when you disconnect them, so that you'll know which piece fits where. 

step three... times two:
since you will have two pieces of each segment (one of each color of cardstock) you might as well build TWO backgrounds at the same time. starting with the two biggest pieces from the bottom row, glue them into position on a 4.25 x 5.5" piece of scrap cardstock (don't worry what color it is, it won't show!) it *seems* like the most important thing to get straight and even are the edges, but actually, it's the interior diamonds. you need to make the diagonals line up, so that the next row of diamonds will fit without overlapping and without gaps in between. it helps to apply adhesive to the scrap cardstock, dry-fit the diamonds, then press down each row firmly. at the end, the edges may be a little wonky, so plan on trimming up about 1/8" around each side to make it neat. this will give you a finished two-toned harlequin panel measuring 4 x 5.25".

step four and beyond:
place the finished panel inside your favorite embossing folder and run it through your die-cutting machine. sand the raised parts of the design if desired, or highlight with ink and/or glitter. add ribbons, diecuts, doilies, florals, decorative stitching... or... ALL OF THE ABOVE! mount the embellished panel to a folded card and glow with pride! :)

of course, there are loads of other ideas for awesome cards with NO patterned paper, and it just so happens miss stephanie has also made one for you to admire at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!