Friday, August 31, 2007

...i know what you're thinkin'...

you're thinkin': that lauren hasn't made a single thing in ages--what a lazy so-and-so!!!

au contraire, darlings! i've made *TEN*--count 'em, 10--cards this week...and i can't show you any of them yet.


i can't even hint mysteriously about their theme. dang! this is kind of a bummer. oooh wait, i know, i can throw some stats at ya:

  • two have a parisian theme
  • one is a bit indian...ish...
  • one is kind of "shabby chic"
  • two have plain (unpatterned) backgrounds (what?! is this still LAUREN's blog??!)
  • two feature photos and are what i would call "layout cards" (kind of like a scrapbook page, but smaller and...ummm...well, they're cards!)
  • one has *72* embellishments on it--mostly rhinestones--in an area that measures approximately 4" x 1" (believe it or not, this is not even a record for me!) (it looks *good* though, trust me--it's not too much!) :)
  • three are pretty "boyish", six are definitely girlish, one is gender neutral (i need to focus on GUY cards for the rest of the year!)
  • techniques used: painting, faux stitching, altering/cutting out pattern paper & stickers & chipboard, inking, distressing, layering...and glueing on a whoooooooooole LOT of teeny tiny rhinestones!

the only other thing i can reveal is that these are all destined for CAARDVARKS' september 5th challenge, sponsored by frances meyer, for which we have the biggest DT gallery ever--(utilizing the fruits of the gi-HUGE-ic product packs they sent us--thanks, lana!) it will knock your socks off, and possibly your shoes as well...although they had best not be WHITE SHOES...since by then it'll be after labor day! :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

guest designer, madeline margaret

this card was made by my youngest niece, madeline, last thanksgiving when she was 2 1/2:

one morning in november, my sister discovered her with her left hand dangling off the edges of a post-it note pad, trying to figure out how to draw *in between* the fingers with a (luckily firmly capped) sharpie marker, and muttering, "i hafta do dis! i hafta do dis!" pretty quickly amie figured out what the deal was--apparently turkeys had been the previous day's project at pre-school--and helped with the outlining so maddie could concentrate on the important design decisions, like coloring.
i happened to phone up during this process, and after telling amie whatever i called for, got passed along to the small one for her turn to talk:

maddie: hi aunt lawn!
lauren: hiya babe, whatcha doing?
maddie: i makin' a cawd...for you and your friend untle jeff!

which is why...9 months later...the cawd in question is still on my fridge! :)
ps: speakin' of art that astounds and amazes one; my in-laws sent this along in an email this morning. if you need me, i'll be at the beach!!! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

did you say *CHOCOLATE* fortune cookies??!

yes, i did.
we got takeaway from a new place the other night. it's called--i swear i am not making this up-- lo fatt chow! in addition to having all the typical chinese takeaway items, they offer a number of healthy options, and stress their fresh ingredients. (their stir-fried veggies were awesome!) and they have chocolate fortune cookies--yummmmmmm!!!

however, i'm sad to report that, delicious chocolateyness notwithstanding, like many such sweets today, these particular cookies violated the terms of the (lesser known) geneva convention policies for truthfulness in baked which i mean...they did not contain fortunes so much as aphorisms!

mine said, "the essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, and passion"; the fact that they also provided lucky numbers and the chinese word for friend ("peng-you") is beside the point. i want a *fortune* in my cookie! i want a prediction of some sort, even a spurious and unlikely one; preferably exotic. like, "next thursday you will recieve the untold riches of the orient" or at least, "beware of dogs wearing shoes". is that too much to ask??! so it would seem, nowadays.

occasionally, you still come across a good one. a few weeks ago (at a different restaurant) i got, "you are a happy man" which was pretty good...altho it does seem to imply that somehow i got jeff's cookie, by accident! the best fortune i've ever gotten was about a year ago...i taped the little paper to my monitor, and it continues to inspire me, daily:

"you would prosper in the field of wacky inventions"

now that is what i call a fortune!!! :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

bloggin' in the afternoon...

...not my usual routine, but excusable on a monday, i feel. my usual morning routine is:
  1. wake up
  2. grumble
  3. drink coffee (whilst grumbling)
  4. check email
  5. grumble about: (a) too many emails or (b) not enough emails...choose one (altho there is actually a hybrid choice (c) grumble that there are too many regular emails, but not enough "good" emails...the snailmail equivalent is getting all bills & circulars when you were hoping for postcards, magazines, and a personal check from ed mcmahon)
  6. respond to pre-existing emails, in order of overdue-ness
  7. blog
  8. notice the time and shriek for several minutes regarding the impossible lateness of the hour and/or the low number of completed chores in the (surely incorrect!) time elapsed
  9. ponder the possibility that someone is stealing some of my time (which would explain an awful lot!)
  10. decide that #9 is *probably* paranoid, and definitely hard to prove...but vow to buy wristwatch anyway
  11. grumble darkly on the subject of government agencies which engage in nefarious (but unprovable) time-stealing conspiracies ("daylight savings time" my foot!!!)
  12. put in contacts, get dressed, wash & groom, attend to makeup & haircare, make & eat breakfast, collect necessary items for the day (time elapsed: 3 1/2 minutes)
  13. vow to become (a) more organized (b) better at time management and (c) less grumbly in the morning...starting tomorrow...or next week, at the latest
  14. drive to work grumbling OR singing loudly along with radio, depending on the choice of songs available

today by the time i'd made it partway through #6, it was already past time to skip to #12. (the time thieves are getting bolder!) which is why i'm...bloggin' in the afternoon... :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

r.i.p., threadbared!

oh noooooooooooooooo!
one of my fave blogs has finished: threadbared is bearing thread no more!!! imagine my grief & sadness! i had noticed that it was certainly a lot less active recently, but you the height of summer...people are busy vacationing, and so forth; i assumed it would be back in action at some point. apparently not. bummer.

...but you know...the more i think about it...much as i'll miss them, i admire the threadbared girls for making a really tough decision. they had a blast for two years, but now they're involved in other things, and rather than letting the blog languish--or carry on half-heartedly--they have called it quits. actually, that's pretty cool.

so bye-bye, mary and kimberly, i wish you well in your future endeavors! thanks for two hilarious years and for leaving your archive intact, so i can continue to visit my boyfriend, the man in the leopard-lined--or is it paisley?--vest:

either way......grrrrrrrrrrrrr......that is a sexy, sexy look!!! :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

my goodness, my guinness!

my amazing friend deborah spent a couple of weeks in ireland recently, and whilst there managed to send me fifteen (yes, 15!) postcards! of course, seven of them were guinness-related (i guess she thought they'd be unconscionably lonely to be sent off on their own!) which brings the total down to a more normal eight. :) and o'course d being d, all had written on them a fascinating tidbit of irish lore, or a funny story from the trip, or something that made me laugh out loud! i *think* this is my favorite (hard to choose, but i SO love the expression on the toucan's face; you just knooooooow that pint is not gonna last long!):

in related news, a big giant (somewhat expensive) box arrived from century photo this week, containing enough archival-safe pages to hold the entire overflow of postcards that are not yet in albums--WOOHOO! all i need is a free day...or two...or put 'em all away...

(time for a slightly tangential rant: how is it still possible that 99% of the photo albums being sold in the year 2007 are still full of the kind of plastic pages that not only AREN'T photo/postcard safe, they can be actively *hurting* your precious pics??! oh yeah, and recently in borders i saw they have a whole section of very fancy (very expensive) albums being touted as "memory books" which have those diabolical magnetic pages!!!!!) (ok, i'm better now.)

last--but certainly not least--tracy has been making her own postcards and sending one per day to her son who's off at college. how cool is that?!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

stampin' on flowers!

over the weekend i had occasion to visit lesley langdon's blog, challenge me lesley THREE TIMES (once for each of the *fab* CAARDVARKS' micro challenge cards she made!) and i could not help but notice and marvel at the way she had stamped on a prima paper flower! i confess, such an idea had never occurred to me...but of course as soon as i saw it i was kicking myself: *WHY* hadn't it occurred to me??! that is brilliant! a feverish flurry of flowery stamping ensued. here are some of the fruits of that experimentation:

my conclusions: dye-based ink works better than pigment; the flatter the flower, the better the image transfers; paper flowers take ink slightly better than fabric ones...which can become very slightly blurry; 7 gypsies pre-inked stamps work just fine & are easily positioned; the more contrast between ink color and flower color the better it shows up; a medium sized stamp transfers better than a really big all-over image b/c of the uneven surface. on a personal note: i think i like the allover patterns the best, especially the crackle effect, the wood grain and the leopard spots!

one last tiny (and ultra-specific) tip: see this "inkblots" stamp by DOTS? it's cute, right?

...until you stamp it in RED, and then you've got...

blood splatter!!! (lol!)
...hmmm...i think we'd better save that one for halloween!

UPDATE: lesley has actually written a fantastic tutorial on altering flowers via stamping (& other cool ways) that you DEFINITELY want to read! you can find it here.


did you see those feisty scrapdragons have announced their second challenge? (they post on the 1st & the 15th of each month) this time my girls laura and gabi have given us a sketch challenge...i love those, don't you? i love the infinite possibilities provided when we all do the same thing, but in completely different ways! ok, so *technically* we're meant to make a layout (especially if you'd like a shot at the prize!) ...but i wasn't really in a layout mood...i was in a cardmaking mood (it's been a lonnnnnng mood, that's lasted several years already!) so i made a card! see, we jersery girls always stick together...but we also always do our own thing!

ms. laura's sketch:

ms. lauren's card:

(main photo is from the cover of a catalog; clipart from anahata katkin; fancy pants cardstock frill; metallic embossed pattern paper from DCWV "rockstar" stack; making memories & 7 gypsies rub-ons; heidi swapp floral; stampendous holographic "jewels". note that the end of the white bit is the end of the card; the dark pink surrounding is just cardstock i put on the scanner!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

it's fiberlicious!

woohoo it's new challenge day on CAARDVARKS sponsored by the awesome 2Jills! ...and this time the theme is...
aside from being good advice, generally, lemme tell ya it has already made for some yummmmmmy design team cards: sarah made an awesome swirled snowman (there's a tutorial for it, too!); jen dazzles us with two bright & beautiful multi-fibered cards; nathalia does a fibery take on the ribbon flower AND an embroidery flower you must see; while bety used twine rather magnificently to enhance her signature ethereal style.

but enough about other folks, let's talk about ME! :) i am psyched about my card, it is one of my favorite things i've made in ages...maybe ever! it's collage-y, it's indian-ish, it's got lots and lots of layers and colors and sparkly things...and of course fiber (used in what i think is a cool way)!
so why aren't you showing us the whole card, lauren?!
well, darlings, once again we have a slight secrecy scenario, since the person for whom i made this does actually visit me here. so i think it's time for a little disclaimer: if your initials are BK and you live in texas, do not click this link, otherwise you are going to be one very unsurprised birthday bunny on september 19th! there, that should do it. (and yet for some reason people think i can't do "subtle"! ...weird...)

and might seem a little soon to start talking about the *next* CAARDVARKS' challenge (sept 5th), but i need to make a little shout out to the super-nice, mega-generous, sponsory folks at frances meyer, from whom this little box of goodies arrived over the weekend:

their website is currently being redesigned, but keep checking back there, b/c when they start putting the new stuff on will SOOOOO want to see it! ...oh yeah, & you're gonna need your me!!! ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

*another* challenge!

i saw this one on rein's blog (she's a daring cardmaker) to celebrate her blog's birthday! she has a collection of very cool vintage photos that she's been posting for use in cards & atc's; the assignment was to pick any one of them & use it in a project of our choosing. surprisingly enough, i made a card! there were lots of really fun images, but as soon as i saw these two guys raising their hands in the back row, i knew my search was over!

i finally got to use LOTS of my love, elsie epoxies (plus some from MOD, sue dreamer, provocraft, ek success & sei) & a few of her alphas (they are a great size); patterned paper is doodlebug & making memories; rub-ons are ki. upon reflection, i wish i'd made the card slightly narrower, so there was less space between the epoxies and the left & right edges; but other than that i am fairly happy, and i'm pretty confident my brother will not receive another one like it for his birthday next month!

btw, congratulations & happy birthday, rein's blog!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


did you see the weekend micro challenge that went up last night on CAARDVARKS? it's a goooooood one...with an excellent prize! the assignment? scraplift any card, by any design team member, from any challenge. the reward? the september 20th challenge will be of YOUR choosing, be named after you, and feature your work! wanna to make us all use purple yarn and pipe cleaners? think it's high time the world caught on to triangular cards?? always dreamed of an entire gallery full of yellow-feathered columbus day masterpieces? now's your chance!

just to be neighborly (sadly, i don't get a shot at the prize!) i've had a go--but instead of lifting a design team member, i thought i'd turn the tables and make one of our challenge winners' creations! so i've done a boy version of ingrid's pretty "four-square" birthday card from the 10-K!

ingrid's card:

lauren's lift:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

daring swans!

lately i've been trying to see a few more of the many *fab* cardmaking blogs and challenges out there in the big wide world of the world wide web! of course CAARDVARKS is and will always be my first true love; but this week i found a neat british site by folks who call themselves daring cardmakers ...and totally live up to the name!

the challenges i like best are the ones where i really have to ponder how i would approach the given task. daring cardmakers' current mini-challenge was to work to this sketch

which features wavy lines--and which took me quite some time to crack! here's what i came up with. my waves overlap each other...

...i don't know if that's strictly within the guidelines, but i figure if i get too hung up on rules, i can hardly hope to call myself a daring can i?!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

sneaky peeky

it never've made something you absolutely *LOOOOOOVE*...and for once in your life you are early for a deadline (the new CAARDVARKS' challenge that goes up on sunday) you can't show anyone the masterpiece in question!!!


(just to be clear: that is a frustrated arrrgh and not a piratey one; in this context, a piratey arrrgh would just be silly & would completely distract everyone from the point i was trying to make, which was......ummm......oh right--got it!)

in the circumstances, i feel the only possible course is to be mysterious and hinty with regard to the theme of the new challenge. ready? here we go:

here is our sponsor:

here is a teensy snippet of my card, featuring the theme product:

here is another hint about the nature of the theme product:

here is a picture of daniel craig:

(daniel has nothing to do with the challenge...but he's nice to look at, dontcha think?!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

tag: *YOU'RE* it!

i have been lucky enough to be tagged twice this week...for two different things! once by june for being nice (are we sure she meant ME??!

and once by jen to make and send a card to a friend! which i did... (the "oy vey" one, below) my friend liz.

now i just have to tag some other folks!

which is easy peasy...SINCE...i know that absolutely everyone who reads this is NICE... and also quite good at makin' cards

and SINCE due to a temporary evaporation of my (already shaky) time management skills i have only three minutes to finish blogging and get ready for work here's the deal:

IF you are reading this and you'd like to be're TAGGED!


IF you are reading this and you wouldn't like to be're EXCUSED!


IF you are not reading're DISQUALIFIED FROM PLAY! (sorry, but i'm going to have to be completely firm about that one!)

happy tuesday, darlings! :)

the cards of ignominy

naaaaahhhhh, that's unfair! there is nothing WRONG with the cards! afterall, it is not their fault that the cardmaker could not read and remember simple instructions! it's just that for purposes of the CAARDVARKS' 1-2-3 challenge they aren't very helpful...since it's ONE embellie and TWO patterned papers...and not the reverse! of course, taking a look at the 1-2-3 gallery, i don't think anyone NEEDS help! there are some unbelievably gorgeous and creative takes on the theme--i am endlessly impressed by how much TALENT is out there!!! could it be that the promise of surprise prizes from the angel company are spurring us on to bold new heights of creativity?! that would totally work on me--i don't think they make anything i would NOT like to have!!! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

a book that changed my life!

ok, i'm exaggerating... (which, as you know, is SO unlike me!) ...this book did not actually change my life in any way...except that i am slightly more a result of staying up too late to read it for several nights in a row! :) it is a really cool book though, by an italian journalist who decided--as the result of a fortune teller's advice--not to fly for the entire year of 1993. it's sort of part travelogue and part social commentary...with a smidge of auto-biography...and a bit of an overview of eastern philosophy. the only authors i've read that even approach the same funky non-fiction style are justine hardy (bollywood boy is a fave) and mark kurlansky. but's not enough like any other book to be able to label it...or compare it with anything else...and how often can you say that?!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

...i'm COOL like that...

here in new jersey last night, it was not only NOT stinkin' it has been all week...(& i realize it still is on most of the east coast) was practically...
...but in a cosy, snuggle-up, do we need a blanket?, close-the-window... but-not-quite-ALL-the-way, kind of way. *heavenly*! we turned off the a/c for the first time in weeks, and took deep greedy breaths of the chilly night breeze...and tried hard to remember that the stinkin' hot-n-humid (which after all is normal for nj in august) will be back (monday, by the sound of it) and that we have no right to be all peevish and bratty when it returns.

but in the meantime...ooooooooooooooooooooh...this is lovely! thank you, mother nature, for the unexpected treat! i do hope those of you in carolina...and texas...and the rest of the places it is still 100+...will get your turn at this really soon!

and now, since i agree heartily that, "it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a blog post in possession of a bit o'text, must be in want of a photo", jane austen so memorably never are two of my faves from liz's shanghai postcards:

Friday, August 10, 2007

two posts? in one day?? is that even LEGAL??!

here's a card i have made for my new blogging friend hetty's "jewish card challenge" ...altho, my card is more of a "thank you card that incorporates some hebrew text"...since it has absolutely NO religious significance of any kind... (hetty--does that still count?)

we could use use any jewish theme (i used some travel-related pictures from a hebrew workbook); we were meant to also include: at least one stamp (chinese character for love); at least one embellishment (compound flower); at least two layers (a page of hebrew text & a piece of origami paper); and a handwritten or stamped original title or greeting ("oy vey! are there ANY souvenirs left in china?!")

ok, so it's a really specific card, that hallmark will probably NOT be releasing a version of anytime soon! but my friend liz, who teaches chinese (...and also happens to be jewish...) just came back from shanghai with literally an entire gift bag of presents each for myself and our friend janet...and we were teasing her that there were probably souvenir shortages when she left! when i read hetty's challenge, i thought, "aha! i can make the world's quirkiest thank you card!" ...and so i did... (oh yeah, and i managed to work in a couple of little elsie bits, too!) :)

truly, i *DO*!

LOVE ELSIE, that is!

......even though i did not win any of the cool stuff that she gave away on her blog the other day...... but that's ok. i mean, obviously she will have *wanted* to pick ME for all the prizes! but because she is fair and well as loveable...she just chose names randomly. really, such goodness only makes me love her more!

luckily, after weeks and weeks of pining over the RILEY and LOLA in the hobby-lobby-less northeast...i found a place to buy them online: crafts etc! they were out of the chipboard buttons (which i wanted!) but they had most of the rest of the line. they don't have any other elsie collections, and their inventory is generally somewhat limited (they have half a dozen heidi swapp stamps...but nothing else heidi; not much "designery" stuff at all; pretty much like you'd find at a multi-crafts chain, as opposed to an LSS.)

however, they do have free shipping if you spend $25 and your stuff comes UPS in like three or four days! (niiiiiice.) no offense...but with my new ELSIE stuff sitting right here...i'm trying to figure out: why am i still blogging??! (later, crafty gators!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

ribbon flowers...or flower ribbons?!

'member how we were saying that melanie's cool ribbon flowers would be FAB on gift packages--as a sort of super-souped-up fancy bow?! ...well, we were right... and i made one the other night that proves it! sadly, the photo came out sooooooo horribly dark that i had to lighten and crop it out of all context, but maybe you can still sort of see?

in retrospect, i'd have put another layer of ribbon UNDER the bottom flowers, (it's slightly flat for a bow, i fear) but by the time i realized, i had hot-glued that sucker on, and was thus...literally...stuck with it!

lately i've been taking quite a few photos that don't give a "low light" warning, and which thumbnail as perfectly well-lit-looking in the camera...but then i upload them to my computer and they look like they were taken inside bela lugosi's tomb! i don't know if my digital camera is dying, or just severely depressed... it's 5 1/2 years old, which in digital terms is like...what?...197 or something... quick! somebody call the antiques roadshow!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

*GUESS* what i did yesterday!!!

...i am almost embarrassed to tell ya... (oh right, like that ever stops me!)

i went back to philly and saw the king tut exhibit again!!! i know--g'head and hate me, it's ok. seriously, i feel guilty...afterall, there are art-starved children in wyoming who didn't even get to see it *once*!

this literally fell into my lap: a friend whose husband had to go out of town happened to ask if there was any way i could take a tuesday off (usually, this is not only a "no" it's a "hahahaha no"!) and the one person who might conceivably be asked to cover me at work happened to be available at short notice! i do not know the ancient egyptian word for serendipity, but ii'm pretty sure i have used up my share of it for the rest of the calendar year!

to wit: we did not get lost (wrong turns don't count if you still know where you are!), we did not hit horrendous traffic in or out of philadelphia, we got the last unobstructed spot in the main parking garage, the tuesday museum crowds were slightly thinner than the friday ones, the "mummies" i-max movie still had a couple of seats left in the only un-sold-out show and we finished (our very leisurely) touring in time to use them! the whole day went off like cool is that?!

...and it turns out...the second time is even better! so now i need to amend my previous tut-based recommendation from a simple "GO!" to:

GO *TWICE* !!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

museumy goodness

what can i say about the king tut exhibit that hasn't already been said by everyone who's been lucky enough to see it?

...not a single thing...

afterall, i've only got the same superlatives as everybody else--feel free to pick one--it turns out they're all absolutely correct! breathtaking? uh-huh. magnificent? oh sure. sumptuous? lavish? marvelous? yepper...and then some! all i can tell you is, if you think you might be into it, and it's possible/affordable/convenient for you to get to the franklin institute in the next six weeks (it closes 9-30-07)...


be ready for a crowd. we had advance reservations for 10am last friday (six months into the run) and it was packed. not to a push-and-shove "times square on new year's eve" level, but definitely crowded. we waited in a bit of a line to get in, and then to really get close to most of the items we had to stand patiently behind some other folks until it was our turn. it's beautifully set up, though, so that the descriptions are printed on several sides of the display cases--and up nice and high--so we could use each delay to read them and be ready to really look for the salient details.

and what details they are! the artistry and workmanship of the exhibits would have to impress anyone from any era of human history. the ingredients alone are beautiful: calcite (when did we stop calling it "alabaster"? ...just wondering...), carnelian, crystal, ebony, obsidian, copper, faience, lapis lazuli! stone and gems carved into the the most intricate of shapes, metal engraved with complicated hieroglyphs, wood inlaid with miniscule pieces of ivory and gold to form gorgeously elaborate patterns. you're overwhelmed by the skill and dedication that went into the creation of these fabulous pieces of art...and then you realize every last bit of it was made with hand tools! and it's survived, intact, buried in the desert, for 3,000 years. of course the only appropriate response is awe, and awestruck we were!

here are a few of my particularly favorite objects, as depicted on my tutankhamun souvenir cards (b/c me + paper things = joy, as well we know!) they have photos on the front and descriptions on the back:

so basically i just have one question left: do you think that gold headressy thing is too formal for daywear? (naaaaaaahhhhhh--on me, it works!) :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

i'm rockin'...oh yeah!!!

my fellow jersey girl and all-round good egg laura chose *MOI* as one of her rockin' girl bloggers! thanks, babe--yer check is in the mail! ;) (btw, laura & another awesome jersey girl, gabi, are scrapdragons, and if you don't know i what mean, you should click the link!)

i was actually mega-lucky enough to have been tagged once before (thanks, danni!) but i combined my choices into another post & they slightly got lost in the shuffle, so it's cool for them to be getting a whole post to themselves!

i've met SO MANY fantabulous girlies in the last couple of months thru caardvarks and here, that there it's not humanly possible to narrow it down to only five! because you are ALL rockin' girl bloggers!!!!! so i decided to step outside the scrapiverse and pick five other cool crafty types i don't know personally, but whom i dig on a regular basis:

anahata joy katkin a collage and mixed media artist. there's art you want to look at, and there's some you want to own...i would like to climb into anahata's work. absolutely luminously glorious!

threadbared ok, if you think *I* have a weird sense of humor...well, yeah, fair enough...but these gals......! basically, they collect vintage sewing & knitting patterns, and then they make up funny little stories to go with the (often hilariously inappropriate) pictures.

yarnstorm (don't worry, you don't have to be a knitter to like it!) two friends, who live 3,000 miles apart, started a blog to keep each other apprised of their knitting lives...and i guess it just sort of mushroomed into...well...this! if you're smart & crafty & interested in'll like it.

art tea life the crafts here range from collage to jewelry to...well, she makes a little of everything, really...but the reason to read is just sheer unadulterated the BUCKETFUL!

pam garrison more from the collage/mixed media tip. a place where on a daily basis, i think, "oh my gosh--i wish *I* had made that!!!"

Sunday, August 5, 2007

it's that time again!

CAARDVARKS' challenge time, that is! yepper, the new one's up and the minimalists among us can prepare to rejoice! this time it's as easy as 1-2-3; which means you get to use: 1 embellishment, 2 patterned papers, 3 flowers...and that's IT! the exact nature of prizes have not yet been revealed, but i do know our sponsor is the angel company, and i've heard the word "rubber" mentioned... :)

now, you may have noticed, i'm not really a "less is more" kind of gal! (lol) i'm actually a "more is more...and even more is even better" kind of gal. (i don't believe "maximalist" is a real word, nevertheless, it sums me up pretty well!) so for me this truly was a challenge! but once i got rolling, i really enjoyed the way the strict limitations meant having to carefully consider each added item; and how that helped me be super-selective to ensure all my choices really pull their weight, in a design sense.

before i show my cards, i have a funny (unless you're me) little story for ya: it seems i misread the challenge email (DUH) and instead of 1 embellie and 2 patterned papers, i used 1 patterned paper and 2 embellishments! on four cards. yeah. because even when i am an idiot, i am a scrupulously over-achieving idiot. (niiiice!) :) fortunately, two of them were "on the line" of almost looking very nearly sort of somewhat right, and the lovely jenyfur let me post them anyway! (thanks, jen & sorry!) here they are:

see, this one has an epoxy brad and some heidi swapp decorative tape as embellishments, but the tape kinda *functions* like patterned it slides by...almost fair and square!

this baby only has one patterned paper...but i used kraft cardstock rather than, it's got a strong contrast, anyway! the giant gold bee is obviously the primary embellishement...and, i mean, the ribbon is SO SHEER it practically doesn't exist at all...!! :) ok, ok--it totally *IS* cheating, but i'm glad they used it--b/c i really liked this card! (i don't think you can necessarily tell by my mediocre scan, but the circles are punched thru the front of the card & there's is a strip of matching patterned paper inside, onto which the regulation 3 flowers are glued.)

however, all in all, this is QUITE embarrassing, and i'm soooo grateful that my fellow caardvarks are every bit as kind as they are talented, or i would feel even sillier than i do now!

Friday, August 3, 2007

tut-ward bound!

this morning we are off to ancient egypt, via center city philadelphia! we'll be staying here, dining on delicious regional italian cuisine here, picking up a goodie or two here; but of course the point of the trip, the star of the show, the treat of all museumy this guy right here!!! expect a full report--avec photos with any luck--on sunday night or monday!

ciao, darlings!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

HEY! i'm a micro-challenge!!!

woohoo--it's DA BIGTIME!!! (lol)

no, but seriously, CAARDVARKS is using the "junk bowl challenge" tutorial thingie i posted a week or so ago as a 24-hour super-fast mini challenge...there's a cool prize from club scrap and everything! plus our bety and guest designer jolene johnston have not only shown the gorgeous cards they made, but their own little "junk bowls" too! how fun is that?!

if you've got a minute--and a little pile of leftover scrap stuff somewhere--head on over there and check it out! be dragons...

i hadn't actually intended to make any proper layouts for my little california travel book, but my fellow jersey girls laura & gabi have a super-cool, brand spankin' new challenge website and you know, we jersey girls stick together!!! so i just HAD to make something for the innaugural challenge: all mixed up.

the way it works is, the *SCRAPDRAGONS* have given us three inspirational photos, from each of which we are to take something--an element, a vibe, whatever--and incorporate those things into our own layout. then just leave 'em a comment that tells what bits inspired you, plus a link to your LO, and voila! you've got a chance at fabulous prizes, fame, glory, and a date with daniel craig! (ok, i'm not sure they actually promised that last one...i might've got very slightly carried away just then!)

here's mine:

i was inspired by the funky arrow and the square-n-round letters of the first picture; the horizontal stripes and general color scheme of the second; and the paper placement and cut-out elements from the third.

so guys--what time will daniel be arriving??! :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

...and the DITHERING phase begins...

so much to laura, gabi, june & tracy for the invaluable wisdom! you guys are the greatest & i really REALLY appreciate your taking the time to help me with this!
(definitely one of my "3BT"s for the day!)

i now feel like i've left the "i'm so confused my head is going to explode" phase. which is a relief! :) i read a BUNCH more last night & this morning, including: a slew of manufacturers' pages, a few message boards, some tutorials, a LOT of ebay listings and

...the diecutter master list thread on 2peas that tracy sent...

which is BY FAR the most thorough & comprehensive listing i found in one place online, and which (mysteriously) didn't pop up during any of the aforesaid googling! (ta v much, tracy!!!)

i think i've pretty much narrowed it down to either an original sizzix or a cuttlebug. and it seems like using a 40% off coupon at michaels (i happen to have one for next week) will get me to around the same price as getting one on ebay (when you factor in shipping). i had thought there'd be LOTS of inexpensive older machines available from people who were upgrading to newer systems, but it turns out...not so much...ppl who have an original sizzix seem to hang on to it. which kinda gives me confidence about that machine, actually.

so now i only have to decide if i need a diecutter at all, and if i'll use it enough, and stuff like that. and me being me, this could take some time!!! :) my plan at the moment is to forget all about it until sunday (when my coupon begins; also when we return from our tut-based expedition!) and then see what my gut reaction is at that point.

in the meantime if anyone else has advice, comments, or strong feelings (positive or negative) towards either of my prospective choices, i will welcome & value your input!

...sizzix?... ...cuttlebug?... ...sizzix?... ...cuttlebug?... ...sizzix?... ...cuttlebug?...

(...yeah, this could take a while...)