Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SOS148: happy earth day

good morning and happy earth day 2014 to you! at shopping our stash we're celebrating by making projects which contain re-cycled or up-cycled elements, and we'd love for you to join in! here's what i made:

recycled: sheet music; prima and kay-and-co packaging; red marbled paper; soda can used to make metal wings, heart swirl and crown; pearl swirls: recollections; red fabric paper: kate's paperie; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i'm proud to say that almost all of my card is made from re-purposed elements! the red heart is marbled paper from a brochure; the cream colored papers (ranging from biggest to smallest) are: sheet music; the packet from some prima flowers; and the backer from k and co rub-ons; and the metal parts of my die cut heart and wings are made from a flattened out soda can*-- the wings are the natural inside color of the can, the swirly heart has been stamped with black permanent ink, and the crown has been scribbled on with a gold paint pen.

the above came together so easily that i decided to work on a second idea that i've been thinking about... and saving containers... for a while. a little backstory here: one of my favorite guilty pleasures is to stir a spoonful of "suisse mocha" international coffee into my freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning. and probaby the only container that routinely gets saved more than international coffee is the dreaded altoids tin, am i right? but there's a reason for that, they're the perfect size for small embellishments, which i coincidentally notice are increasingly coming in NON-re-sealable packets. (what's up with that?) i'm usually pretty lazy about things like this, but the other day i got some new deco tapes and had a brainwave:


ok, so yeah, it's not exactly earth-shatteringly original, but this was definitely one of the smoothest and quickest altering projects i've ever done; no paint, no mess, no hassle; just tape + containers. if you really want to get fancy, you can cut the tape with scissors and smooth the ends down really neatly so they don't show. easy peasy! within about an hour i had a whole stack of neat little homes for my goodies:


and now head on over to SOS for more awesome earthday goodness! ♥

*if you read this blog regularly, you've already seen this trick; but believe it or not, i don't think i've ever used it for anything but xmas card reindeer, so it was fun to branch out! if you don't know what i'm talking about, there's a step-by-step explanation of how to diecut soda cans on this post! :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

cupcakes, anyone?

it's no secret that three of my favorite things in life are cupcakes, fancy giftwrap, and using up paper scraps. so i have to say that this was a pretty good week, since i managed to combine all of these things into what might just be my favorite kids' gift bag ever!


you can see that i've used pretty much ALL scraps for this, but (hopefully) in a way that makes that a virtue and not just a necessity. my favorite part is the "chocolate cake" element of the cupcakes, which is made up entirely of strips... not even neatly trimmed strips, either, just whatever size they were, i lined them up and glued them on. 


i should back-track a little bit and say that this is totally basic paper-piecing, just on a slightly bigger scale than when we do it with rubber stamps. to start out, either draw or download a line drawing of a cupcake, sized to fit your project. glue your "cake strips" to a scrap of cardstock slightly bigger than you'd like the finished product to be. then find three slightly bigger scraps, which look nice together; these are going to be your icing layers. cut apart (or copy and print multiples) the drawing and use the different sections as your templates. i usually do this by stapling the master copy to a couple of layers of patterned paper, so that i only have to cut each shape ONCE... because i'm lazy like that, lol! :)


this is the perfect time to embellish: machine (or faux) stitching, rub-ons, sequin sprinkles, inked or distressed edges, whatever you like, bring it on!


next is is assembly. i happen to ♥LOVE♥ dimension, so i raised each successive cupcake layer from the one below with a few pieces of foam tape. so the cake portion is flat, the largest icing is up on one layer of tape, the medium icing is on two, the small icing is on three, and yes... the cherry is on FOUR layers of 1/16" foam tape! i realize it doesn't make a huge difference in the photographs, but in real life, it makes the the whole thing stand out!


the finished cakes, which in this case are not quite 8x8" would make awesome birthday cards; but you could do these pretty much ANY size. small ones for a birthday banner, would be cool, i think. i made mine this size so they could be the centerpieces of birthday bags for my young friends carlos and isabel.


they happen to have their birthdays in the same month, (and often receive their presents from us on the same day) so i will sometimes use one idea to make a "two-fer" like i did here. to make the cakes into decorative 8x11" panels i only needed to trace some chipboard alphas to personalize each bag with the kids' names. i used up the rest of the colorful scraps by making a circle-punched scalloped border; tacking the circles to the back of the panel and then stitching around the perimeter with the sewing machine for extra security.


i like to anchor the elements to each other pretty securely, but only ever attach the panels to the bags with 4 or 5 small pieces of foam tape. this way the whole panel can be easily removed and become a sign for the birthday kids' bedroom doors! can't wait to see these guys next weekend and give them their presents! ♥♥♥

Friday, April 18, 2014

trash to treasure

there are two kinds of people in the world: people who save pretty magazine pictures, pieces of wrapping paper, and cool graphics; and people who call up the show "hoarders" to turn in the people who are saving the magazines, giftwrap and other ephemera. guess which one i am??!?!?! ok, yeah, you already know, i'm a "treasure saver". i like to think i have my habit under control by virtue of the fact that i do actually USE the stuff i save. and not just when we ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ are celebrating earth day by making cards that feature re-used, re-cycled or up-cycled items; although we are, and we'd love for you to join us! here's this week's card:

(santa and sleigh cut from an old clothing catalog; patterned paper: making memories, october afternoon, my mind's eye; journal card sentiment (trimmed down to fit): echo park; adhesive: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

can you guess what my "trash" is here? i'm kind of slightly hoping you can't, but of course i'm going to show you, anyway:


yep, the santa's sleigh was from the cover of a j peterman clothing catalog from a december or two ago. i just thought it was too lovely to toss away with the rest of the recycling, and i was right!

want to see some more fabulous trash-to-treasure holiday cards? check out stephanie's card and also the earth day readers' gallery at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

collage obsession: GLOW

still totally love doing the collage obsession challenge. it's especially exciting when i get to play during the week; which doesn't happen all that often so i savor the times like these!


this week the inspiration word is "glow". this time i really i had nooooooo idea what i was going to make when i sat down. i'm not even entirely sure *NOW* to tell the truth! i basically just combined a bunch of ingredients that were glowing... (CAT scan of a brain from nat'l geographic; funky fractal from an old calendar; diamonds; super-bright birdie* etc) ...in a way that is either admirably abstract or just totally weird, lol; i guess it depends if you like it or not. i think i do, actually. nice. :)

check out the other readers' take on "glow" at collage obsession!

*the ship? yeah, i don't know either. it was in one of the books i looked through when i was gathering images, and i liked it; plus it was mostly the same colors as the brain. also, i just finished the strangest (in a good way...mostly...) book i've ever read-- "S" by doug dorst and jj abrams--and i have the feeling it's gonna be sailing around my subconscious for a while! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SOS147: taxman!

good morning, and happy "tax day" to you, if that is not a contradiction in terms? assuming your return is already signed, sealed and delivered to our lovely darlings at the IRS* you've got a bit of extra crafting time now, eh?** so we at shopping our stash have a timely assignment for ya: make a card with numerals on it! as it happens, my youngest niece, madeline, has a bit of a milestone birthday coming up next month; she will be ♥10♥!***

(patterned paper: pink paislee, girls paperie, my mind's eye, october afternoon, prima; diecut banner shapes: october afternoon; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; brads: making memories, america crafts, joann essentials; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

i printed the outline of a BIG numeral ten using wordprocessing software (i *think* the font is embolded times new roman, but i scrolled through a few till i found one i liked!) then i stapled the print out to a piece of patterned paper, cut it out, et voila! instant custom "TEN"! my cupcake was made in a similar manner, though for that i used a little cupcake-shaped mini keychain album, scaling it down a tiny bit to fit better on my card. then i glued everything together and did LOTS of machine stitching before calling it a night.

and now may i remind you that a trip over to SOS to see what the gang has been up to is always guaranteed to delight and inspire?! so off you go, darlings! ♥

*nope, for once i'm actually not being sarcastic, i have the feeling like that'd be a pretty hard job, especially at this time of year!
**not to be a nag, but if your taxes aren't done, possibly blog-surfing is *NOT* what you should doing right now??!
***holy wow, where did THAT decade go??!?!?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

collage gone wild

this week's collage obsession challenge is freestyle, which means we can make... and link up... anything we want. so i did!


i've said before that i think my collages, more than anything else i make, are the most likely to just go off on a tangent. admittedly, i have a very low-tangent threshold, generally, lol; and an increasingly willingness to just let that sort of thing happen.* it turns out, my subconscious often has ideas that are waaaaaay more interesting than the part of my brain that likes to PLAN THINGS. when it comes to collages-- especially art-journal-based ones-- i don't necessarily need to come up with an amazing finished product, i'm just having fun playing around.

in this case, i was already thinking about india, and i got out a file full of colorful, saturated graphics i thought would be perfect. the cardboard piece (which is actually part of a box from an old parcheesi set, that i think was used as a backer to a set of vintage papers i bought a while ago) seemed like the perfect backing on which to build my collage. how exactly the whole thing morphed into a pretty much monochromatic, rather geometric design, is the big mystery. but i think i kinda like it! :)

check out the comments on this post at collage obsession to see what other readers did with this fun open-ended assignment! ♥

*at the moment we're planning multiple decor projects at home, which involve finding specific (functional!) furniture pieces, light fixtures and window coverings that will all fit their assigned spots, not cost a million dollars, and MATCH EACH OTHER. i think this is a big part of why "freeform" art is especially appealing to me right now! :) :) :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

joy to the *EARTH*

each year at *JINGLE BELLES* we designate the fortnight that spans earth day to make cards that re-use, re-cycle, up-cycle or otherwise make use of scraps, packaging and even... well... trash, if possible! and every year we've been blown away by the brilliant combination of environmental consciousness and clever crafting this challenge produces in our readers, so OF COURSE we're gonna do it again this year!

i was mulling around a few different ideas, when the lovely miss amy happened to mention a series of cards i made a couple of years ago, which had as their centerpiece some lovely metal reindeer diecut from flattened soda cans*. HOW could i have forgotten something as cool as that??! yeah, i don't know either, but as soon as she reminded me, of course i knew exactly what i wanted to do this week! so i did:

(recycled metal reindeer made from a flattened out soda can adhered to scrap cardstock and die-cut in my cuttlebug using a tim holtz/sizzix die; patterned paper: hambly, sei, basic grey, october afternoon, and a bit of packaging from some pink paislee journal cards; metal snowflake of unknown origin hotglued to a brad holding together a felt snowflake, plus a couple of silk flowers, all from michaels; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine) 

having re-visited the tutorial, i realized i also quite liked the "formula" i used on those cards-- basically showcasing the deer in a fancy label shape over some pretty layered border strips-- so i somewhat CASE-d myself this time, too! i'm not sure that's ever happened before, but heck, why not? :)

be sure to check out stephanie's card at *JINGLE BELLES* then start looking through your stash... and your trash... and get crafty with us!!!

*when i first discovered this technique, i photographed all the steps for a little tutorial, which can be found right here, if you're interested.