Friday, July 1, 2016

ombre christmas forever!

is it possible we're halfway through the year and haven't had an inspiration challenge yet at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥? well, yeah, apparently it is. but let's fix that right now:

ok, so, you know how these things work, right? you can take *ANY* aspect of the photo that you like from the sparkly tree, the ombre colors, the bauble shapes, the dark wood grain, the rattan of the shades, the... well, you get the idea. take as much or as little detail as you'd like from the photo, but let it inspire you! and heck, if it's not blindingly obvious which bits you've used, it couldn't hurt to mention that in your post, eh? ;) sometimes i'm pretty literal, so here's what i've made:

color burst pigment powders by ken oliver crafts painted onto scraps of strathmore watercolor paper then layered with liquitex flexible modeling paste. stencils: the crafter's workshop, heidi swapp, tim holtz, studio calico; patterned papers: blue fern studio, american crafts; gold cardstock: the paper co; white kromekote: the paper cut; emboidery floss: dmc; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i confess the ombre baubles realllllllly delighted me. like to an, "i'd love to do an ombre tree like this someday" kind of level. but you know, it's july, so that's not very practical at the moment is it? so in the meantime, i've settled on just making my own rainbow ornaments and arranging them in a sort of cascade. i traced a few sizes of circle template onto scraps of watercolor paper painted with different shades of color burst.* they looked pretty good together but somehow they just weren't quiiiiite right. and then i thought, "TEXTURE!" so i stenciled a bit of white modeling paste onto each bauble et voila... suddenly they were a set! i mounted them onto a bit of lacy patterned paper, made some hanger-top-thingies out of scraps of gold paper, attached gold embroidery floss and matted the whole thing on a luscious dark wood grain paper. and at the risk of being an immodest so-and-so... i really like this one!

speaking of things to like, stephanie has made an incredibly lovely-- and incredibly *SPARKLY* card that i know will inspire the heck out of you, so head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check it out!

*one of the unexpected results of using liquid watercolor is that i seldom use ALL of every color i've mixed in whatever project i'm working on at the time. and let's face it, i'm a "saver"... so since i save the offcuts of the watercolor paper, i might as well paint them with the leftover color bursts, right? sometimes i paint little patches or stripes or practice brush lettering; sometimes i combine the extra colors and paint a solid patch of the new shade; sometimes i will layer tonight's colors OVER last night's or last week's. it depends on what kind of mood i'm in. sometimes the "use it up" page actually starts to turn into something interesting, and i make it into a finished piece, like these circles or these stripes. sometimes i just keep the little painted pieces to use for backgrounds or diecuts. if nothing else, this method lets me try absolutely anything i feel like doing, without worrying that i'm "wasting paint"... which is definitely a good thing! ♥

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

i'll use any color you want, as long as it's green

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "how does your garden grow" and we'd like to see, well, gardeny things, lol! that could be flowers, trees, veggies, gardening tools... if it's in your garden, it's fair game. my first idea was to do a flower painting, but i do A LOT of those, so i thought this time i'd try something different, like all foliage, maybe? and it came out pretty well, i think. so here's my card:

colorburst pigment powders by ken oliver crafts painted on strathmore watercolor paper, outlined with a faber-castell pitt artist pen with an XS/.1mm nib; text paper flowers cut with a TH/sizzix "tattered florals" die; brad: american crafts; burlap paper from a mixed media texture pad by dcwv; white glossy kromekote cardstock by the paper cut. ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand tape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

one of my favorite ways to watercolor is using color burst pigment powders, mixed with water. they become, essentially, liquid watercolors. they blend beautifully and dry with such clarity; plus the absence of binders means it's easy to outline on top without killing your pen nibs. a few people have asked me how i go about this, logistically, so i thought i'd photograph my setup to give you an idea. this palette (from walmart, i think, or target, about a year ago) has nice deep wells which is nice, because unlike the type of watercolor that comes in tubes, the liquid will slosh over if it's not contained. and colorburst mixes IMMEDIATELY!!! so if your colors touch even slightly, they are a gorgeous new color right then! in this case i knew i wanted to use a lot of different shades of green so i had chartreuse, lime, terre vert and pthalo all ready to go. but to get even more variety in monochrome, it's good to venture into the colors on either side of yours on the color wheel. so also i have lemon yellow, yellow ochre, turquoise and ultramarine.

i always layout my colors in spectrum order and shades from light to dark. (remember that i'm completely self-taught --and also slightly weird-- so if you've been to art school and are chuckling at my method, just know that this works for me!) i put a few grains of each color i want to use into separate wells and then add a few drops of clear water-- and yes, i use an eye dropper for this rather than a mister, b/c the powder is verrrrrrry lightweight and can be blown around by the action of the mister. i leave an empty well between the colors if possible, so that i can use them to mix median shades. i will often put intermediate colors into the top sections of the palette so that they can easily be added to other colors. i usually stand my water cup (which yes, has big bird on it, lol) on the other side of the palette to catch my drips. i work on top of an old quilting mat of my aunt's (it has a grid on the other side) because it's indestructible and can be rinsed off in the sink. 

i've been trying to let the brush and the paint do more of the work for me, so whenever possible i jump in without a sketch. since i paint flowers and leaves fairly often, this was one of those times. i do often outline with a thinner brush to kind of map out the shapes i want, as you see above. sometimes i will even use a tombow (waterbased) marker for this, b/c it gives me more line control, and the color will blend in when i add water and paint. i do some wet mixing to get a nice "watercolory" look... but if you want separate colors, you really need to work in layers. start with the lightest shades, not too wet, and put successive colors on top of each other, after the lower layers have dried, or at least almost dried. when i'm done, or think i'm done, with color, i let the whole entire thing dry completely before deciding if i want to outline it with either pen or stitching. again, if you've been to art school, you're probably thinking, "hey lauren, REAL watercolorists NEVER do this!" uh-huh, you're right. but i do. so there ya go! :)

to complete the card i added a soft turquoise burlap mat, a little bit of machine stitching (that's also holding my stiff watercolor paper to the textured burlap) and a text paper flower; all on top of a glossy white card base. et voila!

there's LOTS more inspiration waiting for you at SOS... off you go, darlings! ♥

Sunday, June 26, 2016

and now for something completely different...

more ICAD, woohoo! sorry if this is boring for non-participants, but in june and july most of my "free" crafting time is spent on index cards: thinking up what to do, doing it, posting it, looking at others' work, etc... 'tis the season; the ICAD season, darlings!

cards 19a + 19b: snowflake
round or square subjects are always a bit dicey in the 3x5 format of an index card, so i'm not sure HOW it's taken me this many years to realize i could spread the design over two cards?!??! 

card 20: the sixties
peace, love and music, pretty much sums it up, right? 

card 21: invent a prompt
i chose "aloha" because... well, because i'm *ME* lol! :)
card 22: neon
gelly roll pens on black paper are just sooooo dreamy, am i right?

card 23: winter
a very abstract collage featuring torn and layered vintage paper with a few swipes of the luscious golden acrylics i treated myself to using a serendipitous one-day coupon...

card 24: magenta
magenta and mandalas... perfect together! ♥

card 25: song
i chose "box of rain" the only grateful dead song i really *LOVE*; i was test-driving a couple of new pens, with sort of mixed results, but ICAD is definitely a time to try new things and experiment!!!

meanwhile, sunday is an excellent time to hang out with family and friends, also to do fun creative things... and i hope you're doing just that this lovely sunday! ♥♥♥

Friday, June 24, 2016

i have a bizarre form of crafty amnesia

because whereas i always remember how much i love making and sending clear cards, somehow i never recall how hard they are to photograph and edit; until, that is, it's time to photograph and edit them. then it all comes back quite quickly lol. so please accept my apologies as to the quality of the pics in this post, and please believe that my card for the second week of our ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ challenge, "it came upon a midnight clear" is easily 30% nicer than it looks here. maybe even 35%!

snowflake transparency: hambly; xmas tree diecut from a collage of torn and layered vintage paper using sizzix' christmas tree #2; patterned paper: blue fern studio; deco tape: october afternoon; acrylic snowflake: heidi swapp; gem snowflake: want2scrap; brad: my mind's eye; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

sad to say i am down to my last few pieces of holiday hambly, despite stephanie's magnificent job of scouring the midwest for leftovers and my own valiant efforts at hoarding. so i do feel a certain responsibility in terms of making especially nice cards with them, and i'm pretty pleased with this one, as a matter of fact.

there are a few questions i get every time i post a card that's built on a transparent base, so i'll just save time and answer them straight off: "how do you write inside this card?" i glue a little panel of patterned paper inside. in this case it was easy, because i've glued a little panel of patterned paper outside, as well which hides it perfectly; but even when i've done a looser collage of elements on the front, it's always possible to place a small square or label shape in a way that coordinates with the design, as long as you work that into the original plan of the card.

here's another question, "doesn't the adhesive show?" yes. it does, a tiny bit, as you can see here:

there are a couple of ways to avoid this: one is to glue ANOTHER panel, the same size as this one, to the outside back of the card. another is to use the special adhesives made for vellum... which actually might still show a tiny bit, but less than regular old tape runner which is what i've used. the third method is to apply the adhesive neatly around the edges, then don't worry about it. this latter course is almost always the one i choose, and you can see i've done so here. life's too short, imo! hopefully the front of the card is sufficiently attractive to make folks not really dwell on the back of it. on the other hand, it seems like the people of the world who are actively looking to find fault really enjoy succeeding... so this can be an extra element of my holiday gift to them. :)

stephanie has also made a brand new card to inspire you, and it's waiting to do so at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥. won't you hop over and enjoy that right now? you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

say yes to the dress

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "always a bridesmaid" and we'd like to see projects with a dress form or a dress on them. sounds like fun, no? here's what i made:

well dressed lady from a vintage sewing pattern; patterned paper: basic grey; journal cards: pink paislee; sheer journal card: pink fresh studio; lovely sticker and camera border: amy tangerine/american crafts; flowery tape: little b; tape measure clear sitcker: hambly; florals: prima; dimensional sticker: crate paper; fall stitched flower, mini stitched flower and strawberry brads: eyelet outlet;  

my dress is on a sewing pattern lady. she'd've been a favorite even if i hadn't happened upon her, already fussy cut and ready to roll, whilst looking for something else entirely. the only mystery here is what circumstances would've made me NOT use her for whatever the original project was? b/c seriously, it's hard to imagine the situation in which she was not the perfect choice! but for whatever reason, she was there, i found her, and i was thrilled!

i used this week's (#417) sketch saturday a bit loosely, and rotated 90 degrees, but i think you can still see it?

there's loads more lovely inspiration at SOS from my design team darlings; do give yourself the treat of hopping over!

Monday, June 20, 2016

new york, new york (so good they named it TWICE!)

hi guys, it's my day on the eyelet outlet blog again, and i've got a pair of fun NYC themed items to show off! yes, i know, you would think that living in new jersey, and spending a fair amount of time manhattan, that at some point i'd stop being excited about new york themed art supplies... but it hasn't happened yet, lol! my latest obsession? eyelet outlet's new york city washi tape, which I've used as the sentiment on this city-centric card:

can you spot the other EO goodies on this card? yep, there's an uber-cool taxi cab brad and it's sitting on a strip of road washi. anything else? howsabout the cloud washi, glitter black and glitter silver tapes?! because there are soooooo many cool uses for tape, and one of my favorites is to apply it neatly in strips to scraps of cardstock and make custom patterned papers! in this case i've used the clouds as a background and the two glitter tapes have been diecut into streets full of buildings. fun, right? and really... except for the "new york" banner this idea works for ANY city... 

i realize that not everyone is quite as "maximalist" in design as I am, so here's a more pared down version of the same idea. i've teamed the taxi cab brad and road tape again... (well, let's face it, they are perfect together!) ...and added a little bit of music note washi, too. 

this time i've stamped the cityscape and used a heart brad to visualize one of my all-time favorite sentiments. 

because yes, I do... and always will... *love* new york! ♥♥♥

Sunday, June 19, 2016

now even ICAD-ier!

would you like to see my index cards from week three? before you answer, i should probably warn you that if you say, "no thanks" --as of course is your right-- the rest of the post falls kind of flat... no pressure, tho! :) :) :)

card 12: off-prompt
not to be obnoxious, but i love this one! the irony is that everything i like best about it was something added to cover up a "mistake" of some sort: the harlequin stencil shifted, i got a big navy blue smudge before i planned to use navy blue (so WHERE'd the ink even come from to be smudgey in the first place, we ask ourselves...??!) the pen went wonky, etc etc; the point is that sometimes improvised "fixes" actually turn out cooler than the things we originally PLAN to do, which is why if you have a little extra time to experiment, it's great to keep going rather than start over when things go wrong... just sayin'...

card 13: playground
these clever playful pandas have organized themselves into the world's first panda mandala... or "pandala" if you will? or, maybe not. :0

card 14: venn diagram
after the smashing success (in my head, anyway) of "pandala" i thought venn diagram + zentangle might result in a cool "venntangle"? it's not what i expected, but it kinda works.

card 15: bouquet
not much to say, i was in a flowery mood, i had markers...

card 16: wallpaper
stencils and inks and pens are all quite fun to play with at the end of an evening. so this night, that's exactly what i did!

card 17: landscape
for this one, i had a great idea about "thread painting"... but by the time i came to work on it, lovely husband jeff was sound asleep in the room directly above my sewing machine. so i settled for markers. i must say, this really is a fun and soothing way to color...

card 18: orange
colorbursts in tangerine, orange and burnt orange... with special guest stars yellow ochre and fuchsia! (yes, there are A LOT of mandalas in ICAD; basically if i get to the end of the day without a specific plan or concept for the prompt, the ICAD machinery automatically defaults to its mandala setting, lol.)

hope you're having a lovely weekend, generally; a great father's day, in particular; and that sometime before it's over you get to do something creative and fun! ♥♥♥

ps: it is DEFINITELY not too late to start ICAD; it's never too late to start a daily art-for-art's-sake practice, heck, you could do it in february if you want! if you've been thinking about it, don't worry about catching up or planning ahead or anything else... JUST START! check out the official ICAD FAQ page at daisy yellow art for all the details and check out the #dyicad2016 hashtag on instagram and facebook for some amazing ideas and to make a new friend or two! if you're blogging ICAD, be sure to link up on this post here!