Tuesday, October 21, 2014

you are so ♥BOO-tiful♥ to me

this week at shopping our stash we're making halloween cards, which is pretty handy, since that happy holiday is next week; but if you're ahead of the game, you could also make any other type of card using halloween colors. because we're all about options at SOS! :) here's my (halloween!) card:

witch icon inspired by bo bunny's boo crew paper (see below); patterned paper: basic grey, bo bunny, dcwv, crate paper, doodlebug, recollections, pink paislee, paper co; floral: prima; ink: colorbox; pen: faber castell pitt, superfine; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i started thinking about this assignment last week, right after the new wednesday challenge went up on the simon says stamp blog* and it's color coordinates this time, which are perfect for halloween, so that's what i wanted to use.

i knew i had scraps of bo bunny's "boo crew" paper left-- an old fave of mine and EXACTLY the right colors-- but the pieces were pretty small.

the more i looked at the sweet little witch, though, the more i thought how she would be great on a card, if only she were bigger. then i started thinking about the shapes that make up the witch: her face is a circle, set in a cupcake base... i could totally make those. eyes? tiny hole puncher circles inside small punched circles... consider them done. the hat and the hair needed a couple of tries to sketch on the back of the correct colors of patterned paper, but they were pretty basic; when she was all assembled, i set her on top of an orange circle, like on the paper, and set the whole thing on top of some basic grey purple spider webs et voila: one uber-cuuuuuuuuuuuute card-sized witch!

speaking of cute, i happen to know my fellow SOS dt members have some awesome halloween creations to inspire you, so why not stop by and check those out?! ♥

*where they were nice enough to randomly choose my peacock feather card from last week as the prize winner for a $50 gift certificate! can you say SHOPPING SPREE?! :) thank you very much, simon says stamp blog!!! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

getting cocky...

...PEA-cocky, that is! apparently, i'm in a bit of a peacock phase, but it's not entirely my fault. the other day stephanie sent me a link to the current challenge (#236) at just add ink, where the inspiration board looks a bit like this:

cool, right? of course you don't have to do anything with an actual peacock on it, but i had so much fun drawing and painting the peacock feather card last week, that i was feeling pretty literal. i didn't really want to make the same thing again, though, so i started playing around and doodling and then i thought, "i know! i'll make a peacock mandala!"* so i drew all the shapes:

and it looked pretty good, but peacocks are all about COLOR, aren't they? so i filled in with marker.**

and then last night i made the whole thing into a card, because hey... it's what i do! :)

peacock mandala drawn with faber castell pitt pens (in S and SX) on strathmore watercolor paper; colored with tombow markers and highlighted with a sakura white gelly roll pen; patterned papers: cosmo cricket and otober afternoon

the challenge at just add ink closes on wednesday morning, so you still have time to get cocky... PEA-cocky, that is! :) :) :)

*which wouldn't necessarily be most people's first thought, unless you do ICAD every summer, where there are always at least a few mandala prompts thrown into the mix, and it turns out they are pretty addictive!

**i had intended to use watercolors, but the mandala became so full of tiny, fine detail, that markers seemed a little more controllable to a person with middle-aged eyes at 10:30pm.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"hex" is another word for evil spell or curse

that's an etymological fact i'd advise you to remember should you ever embark on an afghan, purse, or other crocheting project with a hexagon motif that needs to be attached on all six sides. here's a little rule of thumb for you: if the sides of the individual hexagons buckle or warp at all as separate patches, the effect will be multiplied tenfold when they're all sewn together. if you can't produce totally flat motifs, start over-- perhaps with a completely different pattern-- or go do some nice relaxing trigonometry, or have a root canal, or something *FUN* like that. trust me. not that i'm bitter. ok, maybe a little. mostly because, in common with all truly difficult crafting experiences in which the finished product is less than ideal irl, the totebag in question photographed beautifully:

yeah. that's the last straw, really, isn't it?!

i should probably mention that i made this as a gift for someone very special, i chose the pattern based on how gorgeous the colors were, and i do not begrudge one second of the time it took, i LOVE making things for my friends and family! the problem is that the pattern was not well written, or even accurate; something which might be a tad annoying if penned by an independent knitter sharing it on ravelry or her own blog. this was a professionally written pattern, offered by a yarn manufacturer--NOT lion brand, i hasten to say; i've never had a bad pattern from them! :) if i had paid for these instructions, i'd be naming and shaming the source in public; seeing as it was free, i'm just going to shut up but warn you to read any hexagon-based yarncraft patterns all the way through quite carefully, especially the finishing instructions and if you think to yourself, "i'm not sure that makes sense" or "they don't seem to provide much in the way of advice or photos for making the hexes into the bag" ...RUN AWAY!!!

the good news is, i learned A LOT from this project, which is why i decided to post it, with rants included. i learned that i'm pretty good at figuring out what to do in the absence of sensible instructions; i learned the best way ever to make super-sturdy crocheted handles for totebags*; and, especially, i learned that there's serious satisfaction involved in finishing a job successfully, even if you don't really love how it came out. i also learned exactly why "hex" is another word for evil spell or curse. :)

*the one awesome thing in this pattern as written was the method for constructing the handles; they are solid, sturdy and will not (as commonly happens with crocheted handles) stretch out and get saggy over time. well-done, handle pattern writer! now could you have a word with the cretin who thought up everything else? ta v much!

Friday, October 17, 2014

daniel craig wants you to make a ♥PINK♥ xmas card!

ok, that's a big huge lie, for which i should be heartily ashamed. but i'm not, darlings... not even a little bit... because the reason i wanted your attention is so i could remind you we're celebrating PINK CHRISTMAS at JINGLE BELLES and you still have time to link your pink holiday cards! want to see my card? admittedly, it's not a patch on the bodacious beach bod of mr. d. craig, but it's not too shabby i think:

patterned paper: autumn leaves/rhonna farrer, k and co, making memories, echo park (seniment) and vintage sheet music from my stash; poinsettia die: boss kut; brad: my mind's eye; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, scotch glue stick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, yeah, it's much less pink than my one from last week, but i wanted to make the point that you don't need to make an all-pink card, by any means. again i've used mostly non-holiday products, except for the beloved/hoarded rhonna farrer tree and the echo park sentiment. i'm not sure i've EVER used pink and mustard together, but i really like it, so my guess is you'll be seeing such a combo again in future!

speaking of the future, i hope yours includes checking out stephanie's and jessi's newest pink creations and then linking up your own PINK CHRISTMAS card at JINGLE BELLES!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ORANGE you glad i didn't say banana? :)

sorry, i don't know why the famous banana knock-knock joke has been stuck in my head since i read that this week's theme at collage obsession is orange... but it is... hence the title; sorry if i got it stuck in your head now, too. you could use this to knock it out, but then you'd have minions singing ersatz beach boys harmonies in your head for all eternity. which is not necessarily a bad thing, is it?*

ok, so, on to the collage: my new motto is, "when you don't know what to do, do it really REALLY enthusiastically!" so i have. see?

giant orange dahlia trimmed from an old calendar; ed hardy bird stencil cut from a hindi magazine page; gothic arch made of basic grey "solid" paper, decorated with flower mandalas and swirls using faber castell pitt pens (S and XS) and a white gelly roll on top; later i popped it onto a sheet of copier paper and trimmed around it with deco scissors because the two orange shades matched so well you couldn't really see the arch enough. (b/c YEAH, that's how scientific my collage process is, lol!)

yeah. it's verrrrrrrrrrrrry orange! this is one of those times that i love every single ingredient, but i'm not sure they really gel together terribly well as a collage. i absolutely loved drawing the mandala doodles, though, so i'm calling this a win for process, if not outcome. which totally works for me! check out the awesome orange readers' gallery at collage obsession, won't you? ♥

*if you answered "yes" to that question, then for pete's sake DON'T click the link b/c seriously the minions are the most powerful earworm in the history of song. worse than "the name game" even... which up until now i didn't think was possible!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

hello, sweetie!

ok, so, that's NOT a doctor who reference, though i did briefly consider making a "river song" birthday card for my friend josh.* but in fact the title is actually this week's challenge at shopping our stash for which we'd like to see a "sweet" theme of some sort, in honor of saturday, october 18th being "sweetest day". you could make something for your "sweetie" and/or include images of sweets like cupcakes or candy on your project. guess which i did? yes, indeedy, sweets... especially cupcakes... are kind of a favorite of mine, both artistically and nutritionally, lol. here's my card:

patterned paper: amy tangerine and dear lizzy- both by american crafts, creative imaginations, basic grey, echo park, crate paper; birthday tickets and make a wish journal card: october afternoon; cupcake sticker: echo park; brad: american crafts; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

once again, i've used the current (oct 10) sketch at stuck on you sketches. i'm really loving those lately, i suppose because i like to make cards with lots (and lots!) (and LOTS!) of layers, and their sketches seem to have just the right level of detail for me. of course, most normal folk would use these on a 12x12 layout; but obviously "normal" is not a word that gets used very often in the laurniverse! :)

i'm sure you'd like to jump on over to SOS now and see what the other DT members have made, i assure you it's always a trip worth making, but this week we have the lovely ira huberts as our guest designer, so be sure to leave her some love! ♥

*i might still do it, actually, i mean who wouldn't like a river song birthday card??! unless you've never seen doctor who and you have no idea what i'm talking about, in which case i suppose it'd fall a bit flat, wouldn't it? yeah. sorry. my friend josh would definitely love it, tho! :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

this is the card i *THOUGHT* i was making yesterday

there's always a convoluted story, right? my friend kim ♥LOVES♥ peacocks, and i try to work one into her birthday card or gift most years. when i saw the current fusion challenge, i immediately thought how well the colors and vibe of the inspiration picture would work. i also thought that i'd like to try to draw or paint something original for kim's card, so that it would be more personal. i wasn't sure i was up to painting an actual peacock, but i saw some very cool peacock-themed art on pinterest* and i thought i might be up to creating a stylized peacock feather to use as an accent to the woodgrain pattern and flowers of the inspiration picture. a couple of hours later i was still drawing swooshes and doodles and realized that i just wanted to make the whole panel into its own card. so i did! :)

peacock feather illustration painted with artist's loft watercolor paints on strathmore watercolor paper; outlines and doodles made with faber-castell pitt pens (medium, superfine and extra-superfine points) and accented with black machine stitching and some "blackbird" chalk ink by colorbox around the edges; yellow patterned paper by maggie holmes for crate paper; blue rhinestone from martha stewart crafts

it took a while to choose the patterned paper mats for this, not-- as i sort of half expected-- because nothing looked good; au contraire, i was spoiled for choice! blues looked good, greens looked good, black and white worked really well, etc. finally i settled on this subtle yellow flower pattern, and i think it makes the detail at the top of the feather really pop. i did quite a bit of machine stitching on this, but sadly it doesn't show up in the photo; it's lovely and textural in real life, though!

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog

i'm entering this in the simon says stamp wednesday challenge: use watercolors, although i almost feel like i should warn you NOT to click that link unless you have about an hour to marvel over all of the incredible DT and readers' gallery projects... seriously AMAZING work going on over there... yowza!

*being fairly new to drawing my own images, i find that it really helps me to see what other people have done. is that weird? i don't want to copy anyone's work, but just seeing how different artists conceptualize an idea, the different techniques and colors they've used, usually gives me an approachable place to start. in this case, i specifically liked the minimalism of this this peacock ogee pattern; the inset heart and swoopy swirls of this peacock illustration; and the doodley close-up aspect of this peacock feather. my finished painting looks nothing like any of them, really, but they were all very inspirational! ♥