Sunday, August 30, 2009

how is it possible...

...for life to be madly busy...and yet completely uninteresting (from a blogging standpoint) the same time??!
yeah, i dunno either.
but at the moment mine is.

i've made some pretty cool stuff...
but i can't show any of it yet.
i had an amazingly fun day with niece madeline and nephew matthew...but somehow i contrived during the whole course of it to never even remove the camera from my purse!

thank goodness for hilarious cat pictures from i can has cheezburger, eh?!

Friday, August 28, 2009

52Q: 34 (nest)

it seems like i am doing my 52Q cards in pairs every other week...but hey, i'm pretty much keeping up at the moment, so it's all good!

question 34: how do you create your nest?

(materials: pages from a vintage german-language bird book (ein fugle atlas!!), a scrap of making memories ledger paper, colorbox inks, prismacolor pencils, masking tape, manual typewriter)

answer: "furniture built by jeff & poppa (his late grandfather) & presents & flea market finds...treasures from our travels...books & music...waaaaaay too many art supplies...of course, all we REALLY NEED is each other!"

this one was fun to think about and fun to make. i made a rule for these...ok, not a RULE as such...but when i started this project in january i really wanted to it be something that was fun, uncomplicated, and kind of more raw & experimental that what i usually do. because let's face it: i can think myself to death!!! so i sort of made a mental manifesto to work small (hence the playing cards), work fast (glue-as-ya-go whenever possible), and to KEEP GOING even if the card seemed like it was going to come out "wrong".

in this case, all was well until i got to the back. i had the sweet birds, and i decided to ink out the writing on the rest of the page to make a spot for my journaling. i used dark brown ink. it covered the text easily...and looked awful! but if you can't go back, you kind of HAVE TO go forward, so i masking-taped over it and glued my journaling on in strips. the completed card is not at all how i thought it was going to be...BUT...i really like it now.

sometimes it's sort of a good thing to "roll with it", if you know what i mean. i should probably embroider that on a cushion or something...but for today i'll settle for writing it on my blog. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

52Q: 33 (fingers crossed)

HOORAY for a free evening to watch junky television and make a 52Q card! now if i could just take a decent *photo* of it, eh?! but alas, it seems today isn't going to be the day. luckily, i have no time to worry about it!

question 33: what am i crossing my fingers for?

(materials: textured origami paper, anahata katkin border image, vinyl letters from staples, dymo labeler, colorbox inks, laughing elephant vintage perfume label sticker)

answer: if i tell might jinx it!!! :)

i'm not much of a supply hoarder... (having waaaaaaaaay too much of everything does not count as hoarding. it's just being really REALLY prepared. which is totally different! totally.) ...but i have been known to save something i love for "just the right project". occasionally i am embarrassed at the length of time it can take for such a project to materialize. in the case of the sticker above, however, it was well worth the wait, since this really is *EXACTLY* the right use for it...annnnnnnnnnd...i get to KEEP the finished product!

ok, so maybe i am a *bit* of a hoarder, afterall!!! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

witty blog-title writer wanted, no experience necessary, apply within

because some days, i've got *NUTHIN* darlings...and today is one of them. but wait, there's more: i don't even have a lovely bit of craftiness to show you! so perhaps you'd like to hear about a few things i've been enjoying lately? (or you could just skip over me today, to head right for the cheezburgers, and i will completely understand!)

as is customary on these occasions, i'd like to start off with a completely random photo, that does not relate to the rest of the post in any way:

clematis...on a!

reading: london: the biography, by peter ackroyd. it is very, VERY good. it is VERY, very lonnnnnnng. but since it's organized thematically, you can read a chapter here and there without losing the narrative thread. i suspect i'll be reading this on and off for quite some time, in between other books. which is nice, since it's an extremely enjoyable book!

watching: duplicity (out on dvd today) with clive owen and...ummmmm...some girl...reddish hair...didn't catch her name. :) if you like slick, clever, twisty, big-budget hollywood suspense thrillers with a bit of comedy and romantic entanglements, it doesn't get any better than this. even if you *don't* generally like such films, you might like to give it a try. be sure, however, to pay attention to the time/location captions between scenes. if you're NOT paying attention (because, perhaps, you're making cards at the same time?) you'll either be terribly confused, or find yourself in the company of an increasingly unamused husband. (i speak theoretically, of course!) :)

wishing: i spoke french, so that i would sound as cool and clever and amusant as the characters in the film moliere. of course, i would still need a script-writer, and source material based on the work of a 17th-century genius playwright. but still...

eating: the best chinese noodles i've ever had in the suburbs. at a CHAIN RESTAURANT of all things! nonetheless, i admit freely to being totally impressed by the food at p.f. chang's. enough so that i want go back...for lunch...sort of daily, actually...

dreading: next month's electric bill, which may well be impressive enough to call "william"! the traditional sticky, hot, humid new jersey summer weather has arrived later than usual...and it's making up for lost time in a big, big way! oy vey.

loving: (despite the worst trailers in the history of tv...which is saying something, dontcha think?!) being human on bbc america. the final episode of the first series airs this saturday, but if you've missed it, don't worry: bbca are NOTORIOUS for giving a second chance...and a third...and a fourth... which, in this case, is a good thing because it's one of the most clever, amusing and utterly original shows i've seen in quite some time...and i don't think anyone is watching it! you could be forgiven for thinking it's another twilight/true blood clone based on the adverts, but trust me, it's completely it's own thing!

what's at the top of *YOUR* favorites list right now?

Monday, August 24, 2009

didn't we just HAVE a monday, last week??!

do we really need to have another, already?
surely not.
afterall, in these tough times,
we're all meant to be doing our bit and cutting back.
aren't we?
in that a patriot...
i am willing to give up mondays entirely,
until futher notice.
(you're welcome!) :)

as an additional public service, i shall provide you with this hilarious cat picture from i can has cheezburger:

sometimes i think lovely husband jeff feels
a bit like the lower cat. know...inna *GOOD* way!


♥ happy m-word, darlings! ♥

Saturday, August 22, 2009

same supplies, different sketch

so i had all the leftovers from yesterday's card sitting on my table, when i happened upon kazan's sketch 33 over at 2sketches 4you. which is rather fab. see?

clearly, another card was called for. something a little less minimalist...a little more vintagey...but still pink and and funky. here ya go:

(patterned paper: basic grey, sei; vintage sheet music; corrugated cardboard; diecut: k&co; velvet ribbon: american crafts; inks: colorbox; chalks: pebbles; pencils: prismacolor; pens: copic outliners; adhesives: tombow mono runner, 3m foam tape & double-stick tape)

Friday, August 21, 2009

missus trash will mock me again...

...but i have created another uncharacteristically "minimalist"* card!

first, the story: i've been trying to get over to 365 cards and make a super sketchy sunday card for as long as my lovely blogging friend amy has been on their design team. (this is now a seriously EMBARRASSING number of months! but sadly, the beginning of the week is just never my most creative time!!!)

quite a few times i've saved and printed the week's sketch. several additional times i've also got out the stuff i would have used to make the card based on the saved and printed sketch. this time i actually MADE THE CARD! could i *be* more proud??!?!

(patterned paper: basic grey; diecuts: k&co; gem flourish: oriental trading co; inks: colorbox (plus a dark brown prismacolor pencil to outline the diecut border after it was affixed to the card); adhesives: tombow mono runner & avery gluestick)

and now i shall break my "if you can't say anything nice..." blogging rule, to bring you two small product warnings:

#1) staples has stopped carrying UHU gluestick & now sell avery instead. i figured, "gluestick is gluestick, right?" and bought the 6-pack of large sticks. turns out, all gluesticks are not created equal. some (UHU) give good even coverage and pretty much hold any piece of paper to any other piece of paper without let or hindrance. and *some* do not. anyone want 5 1/2 large inferior gluesticks??!

#2) oriental trading company (one of my faves for discount scrappy things!) now has gem flourishes that are every bit as cool-looking as the prima ones, for a fraction of the price. WAHEY, right??! ummmmmm...not so much. turns out the pricey bit of a gem flourish is the adhesivey stuff that holds it all together and allows it to (more or less) hold its shape when removed from the backing. these DO NOT HAVE that quality. i wrangled and tangled and untangled and flipped and flopped and cursed the one you see before you for AT LEAST 10 minutes. seriously, you could land a mackeral with less trouble! (...though admittedly a mackeral would not look as cute onna card...) come back expensive prima flourishes, all is forgiven!!!

*ok, ok, minimalist in a laureny way, anyhow; but hey! there are single layers of plain cardstock here...without pattern or...well...ANYTHING...on 'em! dude! that *IS* the very definition of minimalist, surely??!?! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

♥robot loooooooooove♥*

lovely husband jeff thinks this card is, and i quote, "kind of strange". bear in mind, lhj has lived with me for close to a quarter you'd think he'd've developed a pretty high "strangeness tolerance" by now, wouldn't you??! i should mention it's an anniversary card for our friends kim and dave, who've also known me for 25 years. and they DEFINITELY have a high strangeness tolerance, so i think it'll be fine!

this is also my card for the brand new CAARDVARKS challenge, which starts today and runs through midnight, august 31st. this time we're sponsored by the lovely folks at my stamp box, who've challenged us to make *new* cards using their logo colors: black, white and hot pink!

of course, this was a very difficult task for me, these being colors i soooooooooo rarely use!** but i muddled through, and strangeness notwithstanding, i am quite pleased with the result!

(transparency, robots, word bubble, bracket & "love": hambly; journaling card: adrienne looman for prima; pink patterned paper strip: doodlebug; ribbons: michaels & making memories; epoxy heart stickers: paperchase; "robot" letter stickers: staples; embroidery floss: dmc; adhesives: tombow mono runner & 3m foam tape)

be sure to bop on over to the 'varks blog to see the rest of the crew's take on the challenge, and cast an eye upon the lovely MSB goodies that shall be *YOURS* if you make the winning card!

*feel free to say this in your best barry white voice. or your best r2d2 voice. or your best marvin-the-paranoid-android voice. all of these are quite fun!...isn't it great to have *OPTIONS*??! :)

**if you are buying this, then you're definitely new here: WELCOME!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

core'dinations blog hop: day three

here's the scoop!

or in this case, the scoops, plural: three luscious dips of distressed, crumpled, sanded and inked core'dinations goodness, that is! vanilla and strawberry are soft tan and pale pink shades from the whitewash collection, while chocolate--& the cone--came straight from the nostalgia super assortment.

(cardstock: core'dinations whitewash collection & nostalgia super assortment; chipboard sassafras; rub-on: carolee's creations; inks: colorbox; pens: zig & copic; adhesives: 3m foam tape and tombow mono runner; other: scor-it board, cotton balls)

my favorite part of this card is how dimensional the scoops of ice cream are! recently i saw (i wish i could remember where, to give credit!) a fabulous card with really puffy, dimensional clouds on it; to get the look the brilliant cardmaker had stuffed them very lightly with cotton!!! it turns out to be a simple process and it pays off BIG-TIME on your card!

here's what you do:

sketch your scoops: use the back of your paper, and don't cut yet; the edges want to rip during the distressment process, so leave a little margin of extra paper

distress your scoops: i dampened mine and crumpled them multiple times; when they were dry i sanded the raised bits from different directions till i had a nice random pattern...when i was completely done, i cut the shapes out and inked the edges

create your cone: i used a scor-it board to create a diagonal cross-hatched pattern on a triangular piece of cardstock, sanding the raised bits of each direction in between for contrast

stuff your scoops: apply small dots of foam tape around the entire edge of your scoop, then cup the edges up a bit so you have a little hollow which you can then fill with a bit of fluffed up cotton ball; position the scoops on top of each other, adjusting the stuffing as necessary.

et voila: a sugar-free treat that won't melt no matter how hot it gets!

for those of you participating in the BLOG HOP, here's a reminder of the order...and remember if you need to consult the full rules and regs, just pop back to CAARDVARKS or CORE'DINATIONS!


Lauren(you are here!)







Jenn B.










♥ ♥ ♥ happy hopping!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

core'dinations blog hop: day two

welcome back, hoppers!!!
hope you're having as much fun as we are!

just when i thought *nothing* could surpass my love of black magic cardstock, core'dinations came out with something new: the whitewash collection! it's a pale toned-downed version of a color on the top, with a darker shade inside. soft, yet dramatic; perfect for the shabby chic vibe...or...a funky grunge look. it's definitely a fun product to play around with...whilst wearing sawdust-proof clothing, obviously! ;)

one of the first things i thought of when i saw the pale blue whitewashed shade was fluffy little clouds. i sketched cloud shapes lightly in pencil; then dampened, crumpled, dried out & sanded them, before tearing around the shapes and finally outlining them. here's the anniversary card i made for my sister and her husband which features my clouds and a few other cardstock bits and bobs:

(cardstock: core'dinations, from the new whitewash collection and 6x6 roy g biv super assorment; glossy white cardstock: ranger; embroidery floss: dmc; inks: colorbox; pens: american crafts, zig & copic; other: dymo labeller & manual typewriter; the hearts say "john" and "amie" respectively)

and now i'll send the BLOG HOPPERS on their way with a reminder of the order:
remember, if you get confused or lost, just pop back to CAARDVARKS or CORE'DINATIONS for the complete info!

Monday, August 17, 2009

core'dinations blog hop: day one

♥ ♥ ♥ W E L C O M E ! ♥ ♥ ♥

if you're here for the first ever caardvarks /core'dinations blog hop, there are details below showing where you are now, and where you go next. there's even more info back at the caardvarks blog, so if you get confused--or just need some caard-making inspiration--head on back there!

but before you go anywhere, why not have a look at a special party hat i've made using core'dinations fabulous new whitewash collection cardstock and a whole bunch of scraps and ribbons and tiny embellishments from my stash!

i used a scor-it board to create a diamond cross-hatch pattern on some pale pink whitewash cardstock, and sanded it a bit to get more dimension and contrast. and then...wellllllllllll...then i went a little bit crazy in the decoration part of the process, because a girl can never have too much pink, too much party, or too much *BLING*!!!

(cardstock: core'dinations whitewash collection; glitter paper: doodlebug; scalloppy edged: deja views; transparency: hambly; large flowers & leaves: oriental trading co; tiny flowers: prima; sticky pearls: kaiser; diecut felt flower ribbon: queen & co; light pink gems & pink daisies on top of hat: heidi swapp; ribbon, pom pom trim & dark pink gems: michaels other: vintage buttons, dymo labeller)

and now...BLOG's a reminder
of the running order:
Lauren(you are here!)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

52Q: 32 (why)

it's questions like this that make me love 52Q! because we have *ALL* been here, haven't we??!

question 32: why did i do that?

(patterned paper: fancy pants & making memories; stamps: stampin' up & provocraft; stars from a vintage board game; dymo labeller; masking tape; colorbox & staz-on inks; stickles; copic outliner)

text reads, "'why did i say that' is usually more my problem! from simple tactlessness, to accidentally spilling secrets, to letting my temper get the best of me...if i am in trouble, there is almost always my MOUTH to thank!"

this was another super-fun, freeform, play-based atc session: i didn't have any stickers i really liked for the front so i decided to make my own using masking tape distressed with inks, stamps, stickles and markers. i was having so much fun, in fact, that i kind of forgot to MEASURE the letters to make sure they would fit. and thus, they did not fit. 15 seconds of judicious pruning & re-gluing later, all was well. you just gotta show 'em who's boss...that's all! :)

hey, do you know what starts tomorrow??! the very first caardvarks caard hop, sponsored by the fine folks at core'dinations cardstock, that's what! be sure to check in at the 'varks blog for all the details...there are some mighty yummy core'dinations goodies up for grabs, i can tell you that! not to mention three days worth of awesome cards and projects from the entire crew!

and if you enjoy that one, just wait until next month! we've got a special showcase of lovely new lines from GCD studios. trust me, you won't want to miss it!

in the meantime,

HAPPY SUNDAY, darlings!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

52Q: 31 (3 words)

it's hard to believe the 52Q project is more than halfway over! on the other hand, i realized the other day i need to get a new ring for my cards ASAP, since the original 1.25" one is now seriously bulgy!

question 31: what 3 words would someone
use to describe me?
(materials: vintage bingo card; illustrations cut from an old children's book; scrapworks metal concho; heidi swapp bling circle; stickopotamus* word bubble stickers; autumn leaves alphabet rubs; colorbox ink; copic outliner pen)

i notice that when i've been making a lot of "product-centric" items...or just loads of challenge-based things that have very specific criteria, i start to really jones for freeform collage and vintagey bits! i also enjoy being messy and working quickly without too much thought or preparation. check, check, check and CHECK! so fun to make something just for me...think i'll go do this week's question now!

*random self-realization moment: it turns out i have made it to the age of forty-five without knowing how to spell hippopotamus! (i thought it was hippopatomus.) good thing i'm not a zoologist, eh? of course the reason this deficiency has gone entirely unnoticed until now is that this is the first time i've ever been called upon to spell hippopotamus in a public forum. and quite possibly the last. interesting.**

**i have a feeling my three words have just changed to chatty, crafty and WEIRD. ah well. it's a fair cop! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

just because they call 'em the "DOG DAYS" of summer...

it doesn't mean we shouldn't make time for
the occasional LOLcat.
(au contraire!)

here's a recent fave from i can has cheezburger:

ohhhhhhhhhhhhh kitteh, *I* understand!
i understand purrfectly!
(which is why many people believe lovely husband jeff is a saint!) :)

ps: today, thursday, august 13th, is
at dairy queen locations across the USA!
so diet-schmiet...
today it'd be downright
un-philanthropic not to get a blizzard,
wouldn't it??!?!
(i'm just sayin'...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

on the twelfth day of christmas...

ok, i think it's actually only been about a week of holiday and winter-themed cards and projects, but we've packed a lot in, dontcha think? here is my final hero arts project for the design team's expanded "winter wonderland" gallery over at caardvarks! (you'll see i've saved one of my faves for last!)

this one is not christmassy, as such; though it would make for a fairly nice semi-fancy holiday gift presentation. heck, if we swapped the little flowers for poinsettias...or threw a few holly leaves on there, it'd "theme up" pretty quickly! but at the moment this one is more valentine's day, i s'pose.*

(rubber stamps: hero arts; pillow box template w/heart window: the cutting cafe; patterned paper: basic grey + some croc-textured glossy black origami paper + some inkjet transparency + some hambly transparency; flowers & gem flourishes: prima (the white flowers came printed; the red i stamped & embossed with my hero arts houndstooth background stamp...sheesh i LOVE that thing!) gem brads: k&co; chipbaord frame (inside card): colorbok; inks: staz-on & colorbox; adhesives: tombow mono runners in regular and "power bond")

to make the stamped transparency in the window i used some of the more generic greetings ("joy", "warmest wishes") from the hero arts holiday sayings clear-stamp set, and then filled in with additional text from the all-occasion sayings set. one of the things i like about BOTH of those greetings sets is that they include a range of sizes and shapes and's so easy to line a bunch of them up together on one acrylic block like i've done here and make a little piece of word art!

the box is of course done with the antique brocade "cling" stamp. i was slightly nervous about lining up the stamp since the "clings" are not clear like the acrylic stamps...but they are so nice and thin...and so neatly trimmed at the edges that i had no problem aligning the multiple images i needed to cover the whole pillow box!

the two hearts on the card are the bits i trimmed out to create the window and frame of the box. as they were sitting on my table when the box was done, practically screaming, "hellllllllllllllo! we'd make a really nice MATCHING CAAAAAAAAARD!!!" it seemed churlish not to make one.

there is still plenty of time to enter your very own freshly made "winter" creation in the current caardvarks challenge, and since the prize is a nice pack of BRAND NEW hero arts golly, what are you waiting for???!?! :)

*in actual fact it will probably hold a gift card and some fancy chocs for my brother and s-i-l's anniversary the day after thanksgiving; by the time i was about halfway through construction, it was so clearly saying "sandy-n-bill" to me that i finished it off accordingly. so not xmassy...but another thing done really EARLY for the busy holiday season...SWEEEEEEET! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

this might be my favorite...

of the christmas cards i've finished so far this year!* it was really fast, as well, seeing as how almost everything was ready-made; but again, only the chipboard pieces are specificially's amazing how well you can adapt ordinary non-holiday bits of your stash to the cause!

my favorite bit is the journaling tag with the sentiment stamped on the "rays". the tag is a newish one from sassafras, the stamp is of course from the hero arts holiday sayings set. (it's one stamp which reads, "peace~love~joy") it already fit almost perfectly in the space provided, and i considered just stamping it and letting it overlap, but then i got a bit fancy and decided to mask (with post-it notes) before stamping so that there would still be a nice crisp edge on the rays.

(rubber stamps: hero arts; patterned paper: rhonna farrer, making memories; black glossy cardstock: ranger; journaling card: sassafras; xmas chipboard: fancy pants; tiny gems: michaels; ink: staz-on)

the best part of all: when finished, this card earned a coveted and completely unsolicited, "oh wow!" from lovely husband jeff. musta been the masking. ;)

*can i just say how *THRILLING* it is to have a few xmas cards done in august??!?! ok, so it's only half a dozen...but still!!! every year i say i am going to adopt the magnificent stef's brilliant idea of making one per week all year...and of course every year i wait till november, then panic. but doing some early feel sooooooooo good...i think i could be motivatin' myself here! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

...and more joy!

because one can never have too much joy, can one??! especially at christmas. or, indeed, whilst making christmas cards in the middle of august, for that matter! so i'm going to show you more hero arts goodness from the caardvarks' winter wonderland challenge you didn't see THAT coming, eh?! :)

this time i've used a bunch of greetings and a tiny snowflake stamp from the holiday sayings set on a pre-made journaling card. i don't know about you, but i have A LOT of cute little lined cards, in all sorts of shapes and sizes; and being that i don't really *scrapbook* as such...well, i don't always have a zillion ideas of how to use them. teaming one up with a bunch of the smaller greeting stamps that hero arts do so well (i have an all occasion sayings set of theirs, also) makes for sort of a cool look, i think? well, you tell me:

the only other thing i'd like to point out about this card is this: how many christmas products do you see in this picture? the stamps we've already mentioned, of course, but the in fact there is only one other, and it's the three chipboard poinsettias. everything else--the paper, the ribbons, the chipboard letters, the journaling card--are just everyday all-occasion products from my stash*! and still looks quite christmassy, albeit in a non-traditional way. and seeing as how i am often unable to find great holiday things around the holidays...this is a trick i will bear in mind!

*some of this stuff is very nearly old enough to qualify for a senior citizen's bus pass, as well! the pink patterned paper is from the scrapbook wizard MEGA-stack to which we all succumbed when starting papercrafts...the ribbon is from michael's finest $1 spool section...the pink letters were from the bargin bin at target at least two years ago. at yet, i was sort of shocked to see that by combining them in a new way with an xmas theme...they all looked kinda fresh and fun and cool again. who knew, eh??!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


oh my gosh! it's *ANOTHER* card from the current caardvarks challenge "winter wonderland" featuring fabulous just-released winter '09 rubber stamps from hero arts!

this card uses *two* stamps...but i'm pretty sure you'll only see one of them until i tell you. ok, so obviously the chipboard letters feature the fabulous antique brocade background "cling" stamp...but what else?? well, i've actually also done quite a bit of distressing using a script merry christmas from the holiday sayings set of clear stamps. granted, the look is subtle...especially since i've added rub-ons and so forth over top; but i really like the effect of stamping the words lots and lots of times...just around the edges of the green panel...with various amounts of a dark brown ranger distress ink on the stamp. i think it goes really well with the vintage-vibe ledger paper, also!

(rubber stamps & pearl bling: hero arts; patterned paper: creative imaginations, basic grey; tag: fancy pants; chipboard letters: amm; rub-ons: we-r-memory keepers, k&co; dimesional holly sticker & ribbon: michaels; inks: color box, ranger;

and now i'm going to interrupt my usual crafty waffling to bring you a tutorial of sorts. (GASP!) yes, i know, i am not big on the step-by-step instructions... (i tend to think anything *I* could figure out will already be well known to the rest of the world; and generally i am right about that!) ...but this comes at the suggestion of lovely husband jeff, because even though he WATCHED ME alter these chipboard letters, when he saw the finished card he was still completely convinced that i'd swapped out my original product choice of bright white letters. so allow me to "show my work" so to speak (i'm using scrap bits of the letter centers for this just to demonstrate):

the ingredients: letters, brocade stamp, various inks

the method: stamp letters with brocade, using distress ink; allow to dry for a couple of minutes.

the edging: use colorbox charcoal chalk ink... (which is a very very dark brown rather than the deep grey one might've expected when buying it!) apply a nice thick coat around the edges and sides of the chipboard.

the distressing: with a VERY light touch, press the flat surface of various shades of chalk ink gently and randomly to the face of the letters, beginning with goldenrod & celery (for shading) and ending with charcoal for an all-over tan effect.

the results: ta-daaaaa! :)
from glaring white to vintage about five minutes!

Friday, August 7, 2009

inchie...& stitchy...& somewhat minimalist this still *LAUREN'S* blog...??!

yes, indeedy...and i have more brand-spankin'-new HERO ARTS winter goodness for ya! on this card i used some words from the holiday sayings set, as well as my favorite little holly leaf from the make-your-own snowman set, and a little heart from an older mini-set called cupcakes to make some inchies. the backgrounds are made from the little squares which show what patterns are in a basic grey paper set...not only are they the perfect size, but you get these adorable scaled-down version of each pattern! i am definitely still into the look of hand-stitching on my cards. this time i used a shade of embroidery floss that's almost the same color as my background for a really subtle--(but in my opinion, cool)--effect. and that's pretty much it really. fun to make...and for someone to receive in december!

(rubber stamps: hero arts;patterned paper: basic grey & dcwv; dove rub-on" we-r-memory keepers; pink rhinestones: michaels; ink: ranger; embroidery floss: dmc)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

snow news is good news!

we interrupt the snowman portion of your week to bring you instead a lovely winter scene from the new CAARDVARKS winter wonderland challenge, very much like this one:

(ok, it's *exactly* like this one!)

(ok, ok, IT IS this one!!!) :)

(rubber stamps & rows of pearls: hero arts; patterned paper: basic grey; snowflake stickers: k&co; teeny pearls: kaiser; ink & glossy white cardstock: ranger; embossing powder: psx; pencils: prismacolor; adhesive: tombow monoadhesive runner)

as you can see, i'm still in sort of the same vibe as my last two projects...and again i've used some of basic grey's fabulously subtle snowy patterns... (i dunno about you, but my first thought for picking xmas papers is almost always BG!) ...but this one is a little more grown up. i've used the tiny holly stamp from HERO ARTS make-your-own-snowman set on a tree cut from a BG holly-patterned paper, one of the greetings from the holiday sayings set, and a small snowflake from the same. to round out the wintery feel i've got some rows of HERO ARTS pearl bling as well as a bunch of teeeeeny tiny kaiser pearls to accent the holly.* some dimensional blingy snowflake stickers to emphasize the snowy theme and we're all set!**

*all right, so technically holly berries are *RED*...but these ones are...ummmmmmm...not ripe yet! (yeah, that's it!!!) :)

**the snowflakes illustrate my "top tip" for economical sticker use: how many white snowflakes do you see? six, right? uh-huh...BUT...i've only used ~three~ stickers! by placing the larger snowflakes towards the edge of the panel, it not only makes the scene look more natural, you can use the bits you trim off one side at the other edge, giving the illusion that the panel is full of all different sizes and shapes of snowflakes!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

hero arts winter wonderland: chill*winter*fun magnet set

woohoo! i am back with a *second* post in the same day! it seems my other snowman project felt a bit lonely up here in the blogosphere all on his i'm sending along a few friends to keep him company!

here's an idea stolen directly from the magnetic princess paperdolls my nieces have! when i saw the HERO ARTS "make-your-own-snowman" rubber stamp set in out design team pack of goodies, the first thing i thought was, "hey, wouldn't it be fun to play with all the snowman parts in a little winter scene?" (this is why my nieces and i get along so well...we are on the same maturity level!!!) :) several hours worth of stamping and cutting later, i had this:

i used a xyron cartridge that puts thin flat fexible magnet stock on one side and clear lamination on the other. each individual stamp is cut separately so you can build whatever size snowman you want and dress him differently. the trees are cut from some rob & bob patterned paper i had...just to pad out the possibilities and fill up the box! there's a little snow scene on top of the box as well as inside, so you can build snowmen where and as you like...then store them inside the lid when you're finished playing!

the hinged-lid metal tin is from some cool cavellini stickers i happened to have. said stickers now live in a baggie, because even though I KNOW i have seen the empty metal cd tins *SOMEWHERE* it was not at best buy, staples or michaels...or at least the ones i checked didn't have them NOW. (grrrrrrrr--doesn't it figure?!) i even think creative imaginations' "bare essentials" line has something of this sort...and probably oriental trading co, as well...but i kind of ran out of time, so i just used what i had! i'm quite sure if you wanted to make something similar, a bit of judicious googling will find you an appropriate product before the holidays!

and now would you like to *SEE* the set i used to make this thingie...and the "snowday survival kit" in the post below?? here it is, "make-your-own-snowman" will be available at HERO ARTS, later this month:

so will the holiday sayings set (i will show some cards which feature this, later in the week!):

the antique brocade "cling" stamp is already one of my *VERY* favorite all-time stamps, and you'll be seeing it quite a bit this week...and in the future!!!

HERO ARTS are showing sneak peeks and previews of their winter goodies all this week on the HERO BLOG...they have contests, techniques, inspiration and all kinds of other good stuff for stampers and paper enthusiasts all year round, so why not drop in from time to time?

and of course be sure to check out the CAARDVARKS CREW HERO ARTS GALLERY over at's positively *stuffed* with gorgeous winter & holiday themed cards and other projects. trust me, it's well worth a look! all of the challenge info is, as usual, available on the CAARDVARKS BLOG where you can enter your own brand new winter creation between now and midnight, august 15th!

(materials used: rubber stamps: hero arts; patterned paper: basic grey, rob & bob, dcwv; lamination/magnet stock + adhesive: xyron 900; ink: staz-on; markers & pens: tombow, zig + prismacolor pencils)

southern hemisphere appreciation week!

yes, it's officially winter in august! we CAARDVARKS have teamed up once again with the fabulous folks at HERO ARTS to help them preview their brand-new, not-even-out-yet winter stamps!!! hero arts generously supplied each member of the design team with a cool "build-a-snowman" set...a set of awesome winter & holiday of their new vinyl cling background stamps in a gorgeous brocade pattern...and some luscious pearl bling! so of course we had to "test drive" all our goodies and we have made an extra-special flickr gallery to show off all of our creations!

since there are so many projects involved, i've decided to spread them over the next week or so, in order to give details on each one. today i'm going to show you my "snow day survival kit"!

it's one of those little 6x4" clear acryllic pails from michael's that i decorated & stuffed with small goodies. it's got everything you need to while away a day of inclement weather: hot chocolate for sustenance obviously, and of course some mini-marshmallows! then there are a couple of little crafty kits & a puzzle book from the $1 aisle, for something to do. it also *had* an emergency candy bar, as well...until about...ohhhhhhhh i dunno...15 seconds (max!) after the photos were taken, that is! (it WAS a genuine emergency, i do assure you!)

i used many of the stamps from hero arts' "build-a-snowman" stamp set on this project. it includes graduated circles for the body and head, a choice of 3 faces, a broom, several hats and scarves, little buttons and snowflakes and holly leaves for decorations, and a few winter words in a fun handwritten font. i used the masking method to stamp my snowman, colored him with markers and pencils and then cut the whole thing out.

you can't have a snowman just standing around all by himself, so obviously i had to make a little winter scene in which he could live: i made some wavy snowy hills out of patterned paper, popped a snow-flake patterned transparency behind it, and cut a bunch of fun trees out of rob-n-bob xmas paper. i made labels for the side and the top in broderbund's printshop and used the "fun" stamp from the hero arts set and that was about it!

i wish it'd snow now......i kind of want to break this baby open!!!

check out all the challenge details on the CAARDVARKS blog and be sure to stop back tomorrow for another fun "snow business" project!

(materials used: hero arts rubber stamps; hambly transparency; patterned paper: basic grey, rob & bob; markers & adhesive: tombow; pencils: prismacolor; lots and lots of miscellaneous ribbon scraps; plastic paint pail from michaels)