Saturday, April 30, 2011

...or maybe tomorrow...

...will be a better day for the "torn trees tutorial"!

as it turns out, i've spent a big chunk of today backing up files and researching how to replace a hard-drive, because apparently, mine is on the verge of failing. nice of it to do whatever diagnosical things it did in order to tell me, though, right?! seeing as how i actually hadn't backed up everything super-recently and would have lost a few precious things. three cheers for an external hard-drive that's so easy to use even *I* could figure it out, which has an "automatic" feature i have now engaged. if it's been a while, perhaps *YOU'D* like to spend a little time making sure your system is hunky dory too? just in case??

and then let's all go read some LOLcats!!! ♥

Friday, April 29, 2011

JB18: cardstock christmas!

the rather awesome miss jessica of basic jess wrote in to JINGLE BELLES with quite a radical suggestion for this week's prompt: would we be interested in making cards with NO PATTERNED PAPER??! knowing me, you'll have sussed that this is one of those challenges that i dread and love at the same time; dread, because this is REALLY hard for me; and love, because... this is REALLY hard for me, and so i know that even if i don't necessarily like where i end up, the process of trying something difficult will be cool and valuable!

around the same time, whilst looking for something else, i happened to find a file of photos of cards from the glorious caardvarks era, and saw this baby:

it's the very first "cardstock only" card i ever made, as part of a promotion for core'dinations. and you know what? i still like that thing! it's totally stark and minimal, but also kind of graphic and fun. from there it was not much of a leap to think, "if i were making that card *NOW*, what, if anything would i do differently?" and it turned out the answer was...


(cardstock: coredinations; dies & embossing folders: cuttlebug; snowflake stickers & backing sheet (used in top and bottom "snow" panels, respectively): dcwv; glitter letters: american crafts; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape; other: gesso, manual typewriter, sewing machine)

ok, so it's sort of the same card, but it's also totally different! for one thing, in 2008 i didn't have a cuttlebug, and was only on vague nodding terms with my sewing machine. so i made realllllllly minimal triangle trees, and there's not a whole lot of texture going on, either in terms of stitching or embossing. so this time i might've overcompensated just the TEEEEEENIEST bit on both of those points! :) i've still got the torn layers of cardstock, though, and a palette of blue, green, and white... just in different proportions. i even wonkily re-typed the lyrics to "o tannenbaum", in english and in german, on some of my cardstock layers, just because i still find that fun and funky.

all in all i am quite pleased with this experiment. i thank miss jess most sincerely for thinking of it, and coming along as our lovely guest star this week. do pop over to JINGLE BELLES and see her card, and of course miss stef's masterpiece, and perhaps you'll be inspired to make a card yourself, and see where the "pattern-free" muse takes you!

ps: i'm working on a tiny step-by-step tutorial for making the latter day c-bugged trees from today's card; that'll be running tomorrow, so stop on back if you're interested!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

limelight 72: NAMASTE!

before i show you this week's rather gorgeous new limelight papercrafts sketch, i hope you'll join me in congratulating mandy and her family on their very happy and healthy new addition: young mister jonah, who made his debut just two weeks ago! as you can imagine, miss mandy has quiiiiiiiiiiiite a lot on her plate at the moment, so it is with sadness i must announce that this will be the LAST limelight sketch... or at least... the last one FOR NOW, anyway! so let's send it off with a big blast, and in the meantime, you can see a lovely picture of the handsome little dude, and send his mama a bit of love, over on mandy's blog!

and now, here's the sketch:

talk about "going out on a high note", eh? what's not to love about *THAT*?! it's round, it's beautifully proportioned, and you could pretty much take it anywhere, am i right?! so in honor of the fact that my lovely (non-blogging) friend deborah just sent me a positively astonishing horde of handmade papers from her trip to thailand, i decided to take mine a bit east!

oh yeah, i almost forgot the "product feature" for this one is to incorporate our favorite flower stamps, which was a super-easy call for me, since the amazin' mari not only found this lotus for me, she taught me the best ever way to use it: with watercolors on sticky-back canvas! (thanks, m!) ♥♥♥

(patterned paper: pink paislee, basic grey + handmade mulberry paper & script paper from thailand (thanks, deborah!); studio g flower stamp & claudine helmuth sticky-back canvas (thanks, mari!); clipart mandala: anahata katkin; diecut lace tape: basic grey; tissue tape: tim holtz; alphas: lil davis; watercolors: grumbacher; india ink pad: stewart superior; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape & doublestick tape, sewing machine)

i know, i know, you're shocked that i didn't stop at the circle shape for my card, and actually i'm a bit surprised, too. but i really wanted to use this as my thank you to deborah, and... here's a dirty little crafting secret for ya... i RARELY take the time to "put a back on" my round cards! since i knew i had more to say than the back of this not-quite 6" circle would hold, i decided to pop it onto a square card base. what can i say, every once in a blue moon i come over all practical like that! :)

and now i bet YOU'd like to have a go at this awesomely well-rounded sketch, so i'll get right to the point with what you have to do, and then ask you to go say "hi" and "ciao for now" to the lovely sketch mistress, ok?!

**Use the sketch provided and your FAVORITE FLOWER STAMPS!
**Key word for SCS upload is LLPC072.
**Post a comment with a link to your card on Mandy's Blog by Sunday, May 1, at midnight (or before winner is drawn Monday afternoon).
**PRIZE-a Basic Grey accessories prize pack--woohoo! The winner will be chosen randomly from all participants!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i call him...

...*SAD* WICH!!!

and i'm not entirely sure what the problem is...when i saw him right before lunch he seemed perfectly happy! :)


ok, so a quick poll: hands up all adults who secretly still love a peanut butter and jelly sandwich once in a while? i suspect this is mostly an american thing, but you're welcome to weigh in, wherever you are, with thoughts on the issue. feel free to delve into creamy vs. chunky peanut butter... jam vs. jelly... type of bread... anything goes! personally, i favor chunky reduced fat pb, jam with bits of fruit (any flavor but grape) and a hearty wholegrain, but i'm pretty flexible. if you don't dig pb&j, what sort of childhood foods do you still crave? discuss. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

fresh picked birthday card

have i mentioned that april's pixie dust kit, COUNTRY FARM STAND is full of delicious homespun delights?! well, it is! see?

websters' pages "spring market" papers, girls' paperie alphas, baker's twine, and graphic 45 cardstock stickers are just a few of the fabulous elements i think you will enjoy; there is a full list with photos here in the pixie shop! i've used these fresh picked ingredients to assemble this country style birthday card which can be seen on the pixie blog today; i'd be pleased and proud if you were to wander over there and check it out! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

JB17: happy earth day!

since this week's JINGLE BELLES prompt happened to fall on earth day, our lovely fellow belle kathe deck thought we should do something special to celebrate, so she wrote in* to suggest that we "re-use, re-cycle, and re-JINGLE" by incorporating into our cards something we might otherwise be tempted to throw away, whether it be a pretty picture out of a catalog, some ribbon or giftwrap from the last present we received, cool motifs cut from last year's greeting cards, or heck, these days even some of the packaging in which our favorite embellishments are sold can be fashioned into elements for our cards! plus i think we all have paper scraps a-plenty, right?! look around your desk, your stash or your trash and see if there isn't something fun you can "re-purpose"!

being a magpie of some repute, i tend to save anything pretty, shiny or cool that comes my way, so i was READY for this one. in fact, i decided to challenge myself to how many off-cuts, leftovers and even a bits of "garbage" i could work into one design... and i think i did pretty well. in fact the only brand new product on my card is the base of kraft cardstock. everything else is green as can be!

my handsome metallic reindeer is cut from a flattened-out soda can using a tim holtz die and this method; he is mounted on a circle of basic grey patterned paper adorned with snowflake stickers that i planned to use on this card, but it didn't quite work out! the base of my card is new patterned paper from tim holtz, but all of the frills, scallops, and lacy strips are fashioned from a zillion scraps that i just kept layering until i had filled the 6" square... some of the bits are even cut from prima packaging, plus there's vintage sheet music in there from a falling-apart old book which i think is a nice way to "rescue" cool old stuff that's seen better days. the fun sparkly snowflake icon is cut from an old xmas card--and YES, it already had the fab rhinestone center! my sheer white wired ribbon was wrapped around a christmas gift, and the dark blue scalloped circle mat is an off-cut of non-holiday paper i used for nephew matthew's birthday card last september. other than that i've used inks, adhesives and my (second hand 1970's era) sewing machine.

yeah. i think i've got this one covered!!! :)

i am thrilled with how many fun things i was able to pull together for this, and i have to say that it was utterly painless since i also LOVE how the finished product turned out! so what have you been saving because it was too pretty to toss away and "might be good for something"?! well, go get it out, dust it off, and see if you can't make it a bit christmassy between now and 6pm (EST) next wednesday, april 27th... then come on over and link it up at JINGLE BELLES! *do YOU have a great idea for a JINGLE BELLES prompt? would you like to come along to help us host it?? then why not write in and share your idea, sketch, fabulous color combo or whatever else is inspiring you?! our email is: jinglebellesrock @ hotmail [dot] com and we'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

i'm home!

having had an amazingly--almost overwhelmingly--great trip to california, i am now in the process of adjusting back to "real life" here in new jersey. (this may take some time!!!) i have loads more photos to show you, but for now, here is another one of me... or at least, of my shadow... on moonlight beach in encinitas.

if you're within hailing distance of the pacific ocean, wave hello to the waves from me, ok?! tell the pelicans i miss them already, and i'll be back soon! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

happy birthday tag card

i think this might be a *FIRST* for me: a "guy card" made with *floral* paper??! but the flowers are quite stylized, and the colors are very muted, and the coordinating embellies i've used from the april pixie kit COUNTRY FARM STAND are quite masculine, so i think it works.

i'm happy about that since it means once again i have met my self-imposed goal of making at least one pixie card per month suitable for sending to a gentleman! :)

more details, as always, on the pixie blog, not to mention loads of other projects made by my fellow pixies who are, as i believe i've mentioned before, GENIUSES, so you'll definitely be inspired seeing their work... i know i always am! enjoy, darlings!

Monday, April 18, 2011

jingle belles are *BUZZING*!

hi and welcome to my post for JINGLE BELLES card #16, in which we're having fun with diecuts! these include the store-bought chipboard or cardstock variety, as well as custom ones you make using a cuttlebug, cricut, silhoutte or other machine.

this week, we've teamed up with the lovely and creative honeybees over at betty bee's buzz, where i was most honored to be featured guest in their regular monday motivational spot. on wednesday we'll see cards by the other designers in the honeybee showcase, and finally rounding out the week, you're invited to post about ANYTHING fun or positive you'd like to share for buzz, brag and bee happy friday!

so first, here's my card:

(patterned paper: basic grey, tim holtz, paper company + vintage sheet music; diecut circle sticker: creative imaginations; diecut sentiment: fancy pants; diecut border & butterflies: k&co; rose & border punch: recollections; pearls: kaiser; christmas tree die: sizzix; fabric: from the quilt shop; inks: ranger; adhesives: xyron, tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, gluedots; other: sewing machine, plain white cardstock)

you can see i've used a number of store-bought diecut elements in this not-very-traditional holiday card, many of which are not even officially "christmassy"! but my very favorite thing is the diecut pink paisley fabric tree! this was my first attempt at diecutting fabric, and it turned out to be totally straightforward, but i did discover a few tips for optimum results!

1. back your fabric with cardstock

i had no trouble cutting the fabric on its own, and can forsee using diecuts made of fabric in a sewing context, but for a card i found it easier to use a sturdier piece. i ran plain index stock through my xyron, laid it adhesive-side up on the counter, and placed my squares of cotton quilting fabric on top, smoothing and burnishing them to get a nice adhesive grip.

2. chop stiffened fabric squares to size

i started my fabric experiments with sizzix, thinking i'd need the weight and heft of the steel-rule dies; in fact i found that backed and un-backed fabric cut perfectly well with nesties, too. but in this case the tree was sizzix so i used it!

3. cut as usual

in a cuttlebug, you use two B plates on top of the A, place the die face up on top, and the cardstock-backed fabric square above that. i tried it with the fabric side facing up and facing down and it worked perfectly, but if you're making a few trees for the same card, it's nice to vary them.

4. adhere to card

in this case i cut an extra tree from white glitter paper to use as a sort of "drop shadow" to make my fabric tree stand out even more. i inked the edges of both, bonded them with gluedots and used dryline adhesive to attach the entire thing to my card.

bonus (unpictured) step:

go back and trim up the tree-shaped "frame" left where the diecut was taken out, and make ANOTHER card with that fun piece!!!

(stay tuned for that one, i think i have a few ideas!) :)

many thanks to betty brett, june houck, and all the honeybees at betty bee's buzz for teaming up with us at JINGLE BELLES this week, and i hope you will all check out their super-fun and highly inspiring site!!! ♥

Saturday, April 16, 2011

PDP-lunchbox minibook

last month, along with april's fabulous COUNTRY FARM STAND kit, pixie-in-chief kirsty vittetoe sent me a neat lunch-box-shaped maya road chipboard tin, asking if i had any ideas of something cool that could be made from it. at first, i was actually completely BLANK... (not a promising start!) ...but that night when i was trying to fall asleep it hit me: OF COURSE it wanted to be the carrying case for a school-themed minibook!!! luckily the april pixie kit had absolutley everything i needed to make one!

recruiting niece madeline as the supermodel for this project, i got straight to work, and i think the results are pretty cool. this was such a FUN AND EASY project and the best part is, whereas i often go "out on a limb" creatively, a tiny lunchbox filled with school pictures is an utterly practical thing to make as either a gift or a special keepsake!

there are lots more photos, and some details on constructing the custom-sized album over on the pixie blog, i'd love for you to see them! ♥♥♥

Friday, April 15, 2011

where's lauren's JINGLE BELLES card?!

it's friday, so of course the new prompt is up over at JINGLE BELLES, but if you go there, you won't see my card! why??! because this week we've teamed up with the lovely & creative ladies at betty bee's buzz for a special "crossover"!

Betty Bees Buzz

so what does that mean? well, today at JINGLE BELLES you can read about this week's theme... for which we are using diecuts on our holiday cards... and see stef's gorgeous card and also a totally amazing one by lovely honeybee (& my dear friend) june houck! then as part of betty bee's regular monday motivational post on 4-18, you can see my card, but just in case you can't wait here's a little peek:

on monday i'll also have a little mini-tutorial here on my own blog, with a few tips on how i made the very cool die-cut element i used on my card! (it's not visible in this "teaser" photo, but trust me, you'll like it!)

you can still link up your card at JINGLE BELLES any time between now and 6pm next wednesday (4-20); but this week you'll also have additional time to link it up between wednesday and friday as part of the weekly honeybee showcase post at betty bee's buzz! gotta love it any time you can make one card and link it twice, right?! so i'll see you on monday... in the meantime...

prepare to die-cut, darlings!!!!!

:) :) :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

limelight 070: vintage inspired & scalloppy

hooray for another fabulous limelight papercrafts sketch, by the delightful mandy: this time the additional "challenge" that goes with the sketch is to incorporate scallops into our card design...something i am never opposed to doing! ok, actually i don't think that's what mandy meant, but don't they look YUMMY*??! not particularly useful in a papercrafting context though; maybe these work a bit better:
(patterned paper: prima, hambly, doodlebug, pink paislee; vintage image: the ephemera book; florals: prima; tissue tape: tim holtz; inks: ranger; embroidery floss: dmc; adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu gluestick, gluedots)

a few other things i am always happy to include on my cards are: vintage images (whether real or, as in this case, faux), musical notes, text paper, prima florals and hand stitching... so just to be on the safe side i added ALL OF THOSE as well! :)

but how can YOU play along with the limelight sketch??!

here are THE DETAILS:

**Use the sketch provided and try to incorporate some SCALLOPS!

**Key word for SCS upload is LLPC071.

**Post a comment with a link to your card on Mandy's blog by Sunday, April 17th, at midnight (or before winner is drawn Monday afternoon).

**PRIZE-winner is chosen randomly from all participants to receive a lovely treat!

*please note: no mollusks were harmed in the making of this greeting card. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

wordless wednesday!*

one jammy so-and-so, half an hour after arrival in ca, on the municipal pier, oceanside

*if i had to add words, i'd probably say something like, "california ROCKS!!!" but i think you can kinda see that in the photo, so nevermind. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

butterfly buddha digi-collage

good morning, darlings!

as you are reading this, i *hope* i am safely on the plane on my way to a fabulous fun-filled week in southern california visiting with friends! i am not entirely sure what the logistics are going to be as far as my computer and time to use it; my sense is i'll be able to check email, and probably not do much else, but we shall see! i have some "pre-scheduled" posts coming up later in the week for you, including a great limelight sketch on thursday, an awesome jingle belles prompt on friday, and one of my most favorite pixie projects EVER on saturday! and who knows? if i get some fabulous photos on my trip, i might pop in to share those, too!

in the meantime, have a lovely week, and i will leave you with a little digi-collage i made using some of the inspiring photoshop tips and ideas from my new favorite book!*

(buddha image:; concrete and water texture photos:; butterfly brushes: lifted wings by katie pertiet, designer digitals; frrame: inverted hipster plumes by anna aspnes, designer digitals; flower swirl brushes: travel the world-india kit by julia makotinsky, little dreamer designs; software: adobe photoshop elements)

*digital expressions by susan tuttle is by far the best book i've found for composing and combining digital images, and learning the basics of collage and artwork in photoshop elements, as illustrated by the piece i made above. however, if you are merely looking to edit, crop and improve photos, to print or upload, a basic p-shop manual like this one (made for the version you have) is probably more helpful!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

altered ♥PIXIE♥ dress form

i am more than usually excited to present today's project made with this month's pixie dust paperie kit, COUNTRY FARM STAND! the base of it is one of those cute papier mache dress forms they sell at michaels, and i have always wanted to try my hand at altering one of those! so i did:

i'm pretty pleased with how it came out generally, and specifically how well the graphic 45 stickers, the tim holtz trimmings and my own stamping and hand made "grunge flowers" coordinate. in fact i am SO PROUD, i've decided to give it away! if you'd like a chance to win... or would just like to see more photos and read a bit about how i concocted this frilly bit o'goodness... tune in over at the pixie blog for details!!! ♥

Friday, April 8, 2011

jingle belles: the ghost of xmas present

over at JINGLE BELLES we are on card *15* and it's a goooooodie, which i will tell you about in a minute. but first: i know i say it every week, but the sheer ♥FUN♥ of having a brand new inspiration each week, and of making one unique card to fit it, is just unbelievably cool to me! plus, when you add in the excitement of meeting new friends, connecting with old ones, and seeing the fabulous cards everyone makes... well, let's just say i'm having a blast with this!!!

if you make your christmas cards, or indeed have ever considered making them but were put off by the fact that you don't actually HAVE extra time in december, making one per week is (in my opinion) SOOOOOOO the way to go, and i would encourage you to drop by and try it!

one of my favorite parts of this whole adventure is the fact that many of our weekly prompt ideas come from our fellow JINGLE BELLES! this week's is particularly clever and original and came from the lovely clare of miscanthus crafts. she gave us our first "recipe" prompt, with a list of things to include in our cards. she calls it:
the ghost of christmas present


1. as white as a ghost

2. a touch of traditional christmas colours

3. a present

4. a bow or knot

how fabulous is that?? i was totally inspired! and totally wigged out because this is quite minimal, isn't it?! but that's why i ♥LOVE♥ having other people's input and ideas because i already know how to do what i already know how to do!!!

here's my card:

(patterned paper: basic grey, doodlebug; stickers: kelly pannacci/sandylion; coaster frame: gin-x; letters: american crafts; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, gluedots; other: vintage ribbon, sewing machine)

i discovered that the way for me to comfortably go "mostly white" was to make sure i had a lot of different shades of white, and to pile on the texture! i think i did pretty well, actually; and the great thing is, i have an aunt who's favorite color is *WHITE*, for whom i've never felt i've really made the perfect xmas card; but this year...i'm ready! :)

why not stop over to JINGLE BELLES and see clare's and stef's amazing cards, and maybe leave them a little bit of love? oh and if you decide to make a card, you've got until next wednesday, 4-13

Thursday, April 7, 2011

head's up!

here's a little something i've been working on here and there and i finished up while i was laying in bed earlier this week: a new blog header made with a soon-to-be-released digikit i LOVE!

the kit is called "writer's block" and it's the first by the uber-talented EMMA of just a girl with ideas! em is an amazing scrapper, blogger, designer, crafter and brand new mum (!!!) who is just starting to make her own vintage-inspired kits that she will be selling. my lovely friend linda saw this notice looking for people to "test drive" the kit and of course KNEW how much i would love it, i wrote in to volunteer and em was kind enough to send me a preview version to play around with, and it's a DREAM: the images are beautiful and sooooooo easy to use both technically and aesthetically.

i've been whipping up a few hybrid projects that i'll be showing off in a bit when the kit officially debuts, so stay tuned for those, i think they are kind of cool. in the meantime, i couldn't wait to give you a little "preview"...especially since it meant i could have a bit of a play at the same time.

a tiny little milestone note for me: this is the very first all-digi project in which i have used 100% photoshop for EVERYTHING... (instead of hopping between photoshop and my old standby broderbund printshop!) ...a feat which i attribute to this inspiring book that really helped me understand the tools--and the "layers" system--of photoshop a lot better, giving me waaaaaaay more confidence!!! ♥

ETA friday, 4-8: please note that i was test-driving a prototype version of the gorgeous "writer's block" kit; the actual kit may vary slightly when it goes on sale, i will keep you posted! xolb

Monday, April 4, 2011


i got the stomach bug. i feel like i got hit by a truck. i'm sure at some point i will feel like doing something besides sleep...and eating something besides saltines and ginger ale...but in the meantime, please accept this lolcat in lieu of an actual blogpost. and now if you don't mind there's a very important episode of shaun the sheep i need to finish before my next nap. xoxox darlings.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"note-able" pixie cards

yes, it's a brand new month and thus time to debut another gorgeous pixie dust paperie kit! april's is entitled COUNTRY FARM STAND and goes on sale tuesday, april 5th! it's full of webster's pages "spring market" goodness... not to mention additional papers from glitz, american crafts, and pink paislee; we've also got tim holtz trimmings, graphic 45 cardstock stickers, and, well, LOTS more; just click the link above for a full listing with photos!

today's project is mine:

a little set of notecards with a sort of elegant homespun charm...why not drop in on the pixie blog to see them, then stick around to see what gorgeousness my fellow pixies have whipped up.?! ♥

Friday, April 1, 2011

jingle belles: batman smells

happy april fool's day!!!!!

can you believe the year is already ONE QUARTER finished??! nor can i, but thanks to JINGLE BELLES i have a growing stack of festive cards for next december, which i have enjoyed taking my time and making every one separately, so that each is unique & (i think) rather fabulous...

but now in honor of today's holiday, it's time to have a little fun: so this week we are setting aside all things beautiful, elegant and glamorous in favor of HUMOROUS greetings: make a christmas card that's zany, silly, or even downright goofy if you like; anything goes as long as it's funny and festive!

would anyone care to guess what i have done?!

(kitteh pic: resized from ideals magazine and printed on kodak premium photo paper; patterned paper: echo park, love elsie; rub-ons & chipboard button: love elsie; tag: my mind's eye; baker's twine: pixie dust paperie; inks: colorbox; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape; other: lace-edged vintage bias trim; sewing machine)

ok, no surprise here, right? two of my all-time favorite things being "vintage" card ingredients and LOLcats, it didn't take me much time to convert a photograph from an old ideals magazine into a fusion of both! :) whereas i usually use my "found" illustrations as is... (i love the color and texture of the vintage paper and printing) ...this time, since the photo was nearly 8x11, i scanned and shrank it to a more card-friendly size. a funny sentiment, loads of "love elsie" goodness, and a bit of stitching later, i was ready to ROCK our special april fool's edition of JINGLE BELLES...and i hope YOU are, too! ♥♥♥