Monday, May 30, 2011

hello ST--remember me??!

ok, YEAH, it's been farrrrrrrrrrr too long since i've partaken in the wonderful weekly revels over at sketchy thursdays, but finally here i am and i couldn't be happier. because for one thing this week's sketch (devised & presented by miss heidi) is FAB*U*LOUS, see?!

and thus it was merely the work of moments-- (ok, well, probably 60 of them, lol!) --to make a card i totally LOVE:

(patterned paper: tim holtz, prima, pink paislee, cosmo cricket, basic grey; eiffel tower tag: k&co; floral & chipboard alphas: recollections; leaves, charm and (partial) pearl flourish: prima; rub-on: american crafts; inks: ranger; adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu gluestick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)



i stuck pretty faithfully to the sketch. i swapped the two square photos for one rectangular tag, and i compressed everything a bit, but other than that, it's all there-- well heck, how could i improve it right?!

so if you have a chance between now and wednesday night, why not swing on by the sketchy thursdays blog and test drive this baby? ...you can thank me later... ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

happy birthday ♥KIRSTY♥!!!

as you may have guessed from the title, it's my dear pixie-in-chief, kirsty vittetoe's birthday today, and the lovely miss ros and the gang at city crafter challenge blog have arranged a little bit of a surprise shindig for her!

so without further ado may i present this card i made as a token of my considerable affection:



yeah, it's pink and it's frilly and it's got a lot of shabby chic style layers, because that's the sorta thing we pixies love!

and now i will once again say,


*HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIRSTY!!!*
i hope this is the first day of your very best year yet!
xoxoxo
lauren

Friday, May 27, 2011

JB22: we three kings

happy friday everyone! this week's prompt over at jingle belles, WE THREE KINGS, invites us to use three or more different patterned papers in our design. do i even need to tell you this was right up my street??! more on that in a minute, but first, the really exciting news: we've got a sweet little prize this week for a random card-maker, courtesy of our lovely sponsor NIKKI SIVILS SCRAPBOOKER!



yes, there's a gorgeous nikki sivils 6x6 holiday paper pad and LOADS of awesome stickers, and one lucky cardmaker is going to be randomly selected to win! plus, this week we have very special and very lovely guest star, julie tucker-wolek! so we're reallllllllly excited and we hope you'll head over and say "HI" to her!

ok, so now, my card: you know i ♥LOVE♥ combining loads of patterns, and often use holiday items with regular stash to stretch my crafty budget. i'm pretty excited this time, though, because i think my card might just be a new record for me: i've got SEVENTEEN (17!!!) different papers on this baby! can i get a "WOOHOO"?! :)

here's the reason i was able to pull this off... it just so happens i was cruising the round up of sketches on allison fillo's blog, stampin' when i can, and the very first thing i saw was this week's waltzing mouse sketch, by edna morrisedie:


could there *BE* a more perfect sketch for combining patterns? i think not! i was able to use mostly scraps, as well, which is always a good thing, right?! here's my card:


(patterned papers: basic grey, sweetwater, daisy d's, anna griffin, dcwv, k&co, love elsie, we r memory keepers, making memories, cosmo cricket, creative imaginations, doodlebug; cardstock sentiment sticker: little yellow bicycle; holly sticker & ribbon: michaels; ink: colorbox)


ok, so you will probably *NOT* combine 17 different papers to make your card... or heck, maybe you will! maybe you'll beat my record and use 18?! but you only need THREE to play along with us, so head on over to JINGLE BELLES and check it out before 6pm next wednesday, june 1st! ♥

Thursday, May 26, 2011

if blogger's being run by CATS...

...it essplains *EVERYTHING*!!!


i don't know if you're having the same problem, but over the last few days i have intermittently been unable to leave comments on blogger posts with word verification. what happens is: i type my comment, the form insists i need to SIGN IN (even though i know i've already done so b/c i've edited m'blog!) but i sign in again, (successfully, they assure me!) and go back to the comment, and AGAIN it asks me to sign in!!!

duuuuuuuude! how SIGNED in do you want me to be??!?!

once again i reiterate my appreciation of, and respect for, blogger. it's FREE for pete's sake!!! it gets more features every year... and STAYS free! it almost always works so seamlessly that i take it for granted. obviously, it's the height of bad manners to criticize a *gift*, but then something as goofy as this happens, and after a couple of days, i get frustrated, and start to whine. things we can learn from this post:

1. lauren is as spoiled as any other 21st century american, which is saying something!

2. it is wise not to leave things until the last minute, to back up one's posts and ideas, and have a "plan b" for when technical issues happen.

3. word verification is occasionally more trouble than it's worth.

4. the LOLcats can provide one with an illustration to cover pretty much ANY situation! :)

...so... it's not ALL bad news then, eh?!

♥happy thursday, darlings♥!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

flowery ring-bound pixie notebook

today's project, made from this month's pixie dust paperie kit, LA DOLCE VITA is a pretty fancy little notebook i made from scratch!

i love how it looks... well heck, it's covered in sassafras "sweetly smitten" goodness, so how could i go wrong??! as for the experience of building a little book from the ground up using a tim holtz ring binder mechanism, i'd have to say my bottom line is: it was not realllllllly worth the time and engineering involved. i think i'd've saved a lot of time by starting with an ugly little blank book from the dollar store, actually, and just making cosmetic changes; and henceforth that is what i'll do! but i'm happy to have *TRIED* it once, and can now file it under "lessons learned"! :)

there's more detail and loads of photos on the pixie blog, so do feel free to hop over and see 'em! ♥

ETA tuesday morning: sorry, folks, this is embarrassing; the lovely notebook you see above is actually the featured post at PDP *tomorrow* wednesday, may 25th! i got myself a little muddled there, sorry for the confusion!!! do stop over today and see kirsty's fab card, however; and then mine is on in the morning!

Monday, May 23, 2011

a SUPER-easy card!

sometimes it's all about letting the PRODUCT do the work. case in point this "my mind's eye" paper with the stars on it?


all that thing needs is some SUPERHEROES to stand in front of the stars, lookin' super and heroic, dontcha think?



(superhero photo downloaded from t'internet and printed on staples plain white cardstock for a "comic book" look; patterned paper: mme, cosmo cricket; glitter paper: dcwv & best creations; star dies: nestabilities; alphabet stickers: american crafts; labels: dymo; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

yeah. a bit like that! wow. that was easy. anybody got a a dragon that needs slaying, or perhaps a metropolis that needs to be freed from a ruthless (but for some reason jauntily *costumed*) crime syndicate?

...'cause i've got a bit of free time now... :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

pixie dust sketch challenge!

our dear pixie-in-chief, kirsty vittetoe, has become quite the dab hand at creating fabulous papercrafting sketches for us to try out at pixie dust paperie, and here is her latest effort:

awesome, am i right? i love that it has loads of detail to get me started, but it's still totally flexible. so helpful, in fact, that it inspired one of the fastest cards i've ever made!!!

(patterned paper: tim holtz, prima; florals: recollections; diecuts: k&co; cardstock sticker: sass; rub-ons: ki + american crafts; pearls: prima; seam binding: pixie dust paperie; pen: copic outliner; inks: colorbox; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, glue dots)


i am LOVING kraft as a background right now, and my tim holtz paper pad is officially an indispensible "go to" for card bases. the scalloppy sticker was leftover from the giant 12x12 sheet of sassafras that was in this month's LA DOLCE VITA kit, the seambinding is from the same source. the frame, tag and butterfly are all from a pack of diecuts i bought at michaels like a year ago; i still have plenty left, and i still ♥LOVE♥ them! and of course once i had assembled the "bones" of the sketch, it only needed a few finishing touches: a couple of florals, some tiny rub-ons, part of a pearl flourish, etc; and i was DONE!

if you don't believe me, have your own go with this lovely sketch, i BET you will have something awesome finished in no time! and then c'mon over to the pixie blog and share it with us for a shot at the prize!!! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

JB21: visions of sugar plums

i don't think there's been a week all year over at JINGLE BELLES that i didn't love, but i can honestly say that my ♥FAVORITE♥ weeks have been the ones for which we've had a lovely guest star, one who's helped us think up a fabulous prompt and come along a bit early to make a card with us to feature in our post. those are reallllllllllly fun weeks, and we've been lucky to have quite a few!*

this week, my lovely blogging friend, amanda profumo, was inspired by this style board at paper doll romance:


and thus we're all having VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS!!! this time we're doing a "photo inspiration" rather than a color palette. so you can use ANY bit of the collage you like. you don't have to make a purple card... but hey, if you want to... go for it! i did, see?


ok, so you know i'm a big fan of pink, but i have to say my "purple awareness" was raised a couple of years ago when niece lindsay officially announced she was changing her favorite color from pink to purple.** something i learned pretty quickly is that FABULOUS purple accoutrements do not abound, year in and year out, in the same way that pinks ones do, so it's important to grab them when you see them; and also to stock up on purple paints, copics and spray mists in order to tint things to the perfect shade. i did just that on this card with my fancy gothic thickers (that were originally a dusty pink) and some pink paislee mistable papers that i cut with a poinsettia die and mixed with other store bought patterns.

my inspiration from the style board was pretty thorough: i liked the snowflakes, the flowers, the ballerinas, ALL of the colors, and the gems!!! so i tried to work in a little bit of all of that, while still putting my own laureny spin on the thing, and i'm quite pleased with the results. what inspires you in those photos? maybe it's everything... maybe just one small element... but whatever it is, use that as your starting point and see where it takes you; and then come along to JINGLE BELLES before 6pm next wednesday and share your card with us, because we'd love to see it!!!


*we're still feeling quite greedy for more, however; so if you have an idea or sketch or fabulous color palette to share, email us at jinglebellesrock @ hotmail [dot] com because we'd love for you to join us, too! ♥

**i love being so firmly established as "the crafty aunt" that my nieces and nephews know that this is the sort of thing they should tell me well in advance of their birthdays!!! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

you know you're feeling better...

...when you start wondering if anyone's ever actually *DIED* of boredom! :)

thankfully my neck is calming down; the chiropractor helped A LOT, and will no doubt help even more when i go back tomorrow night. i can now hold my head up unsupported, and move it at least a little bit in every direction. WOOHOO!

but yeah, it's been a slow week in these parts. the other night i waited with great anticipation for jeff to get home from work so we could undertake the highlight of my day: a trip to the grocery store!!! (yes, seriously, that was the most exciting thing i've done all week!)

last night jeff made this luscious chicken peach and gorgonzola pizza from cooking light magazine:



we also got our first strawberries of the season, though, truthfully it's a bit too early and they needed sugar and whipped cream to be tasty.


other stuff i've done this week: watched ARTLAND, usa on the ovation channel; used my digistuffs to make address labels; re-watched both india with sanjeev bhaskar and michael woods' the story of india (whilst fighting serious indian food cravings!); ordered one of these in an effort to tame my die-storage issues:


i've also played waaaaaaaaay too much bookworm; read not nearly enough of graham robb's excellent parisians: an adventure history of paris; polished my afternoon napping skills to olympian levels; and watched out the window while it rained... and rained... and raaaaaaaaaaained all week!


i did also make three cards this week... slowly and intermittently: one for the awesome new JINGLE BELLES prompt that debuts tomorrow; one for the pixie dust sketch challenge that starts on saturday, and one for a special surprise next week.


so what've you been up to, darlings??!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

all white (!!!) bag & card

today on the pixie blog the featured project is this understated and (if i do say so myself) rather elegant card and bag gift set i made:


are you as surprised as i am? there are NO bright colors! not even very much patterned paper, except for two very understated tone-on-tones! so what's up with this? well, as a matter of fact i have an aunt whose favorite color is... wait for iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttt... *WHITE!!!* and it just so happened that the may pixie kit, LA DOLCE VITA, had a whole bunch of glamorous white goodies, like these tim holtz trims and buttons, and some of pink paislee's mistable products, and well, i guess i was inspired! more pics and full details on the pixie blog! ♥

Monday, May 16, 2011

usually...


...but since i woke up yesterday unable to turn my head more than 45 degrees to the left, the only thing that interests me* is my chiropractor appointment at 4 o'clock. until then i can be found lying on the living room floor, researching my hypothesis that daytime television has been developed specifically in order to motivate intelligent adults into leaving their homes between the hours of 9am and 5pm to seek gainful employment. ciao, darlings! ♥


*if you've already fried the bakon... i could probably manage a slice or two... just to be polite... :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

JB20: jolly (& lucky!) old saint nicholas

hello and HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th! or should i say a belated... happy friday the 13th since, like everyone else on the internet, i was battling a blogger outage both here and at JINGLE BELLES. at JB i only had to re-post 2 entries; here in the laurniverse my finished and scheduled post actually disappeared! yikes. i guess we should remember how lucky we are to HAVE all of this technology, how cool that much of it is FREE, and how well it works most of the time, right?!* right! moving on!

this week's prompt, is "JOLLY" because we're featuring images of santa on our cards, and "LUCKY" because we'll be randomly awarding a future "lovely guest star" spot to one cardmaker! she (or he!) will be allowed to set her (or his!) own prompt if she'd (or he'd!) like... OR... could opt to just "guest design" without the pressure of thinking up a theme. so if you've been longing to come along and hang out with us, go make a santa card, ok?! we'd LOVE to have you!!!

here's my card:

(patterned paper: dcwv, sei; santa journaling card: echo park; frame: making memories; small stickers: creative imaginations; chipboard circle: gin-x; rub-on tree: hambly; flowers: heidi swapp and unknown; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)


i am loving that i used up a lot of LITTLE things on this card, in fact there are THIRTEEN embellies in honor of the day. can you spot them? well, there's the cute santa journaling card of course (leftover from the november pixie dust kit, SNOWSHOE!); the ancient plastic frame (that i still love, actually); 3 flowers; 6 tiny holiday stickers; a chipboard circle; and one hot pink rub-on christmas tree! woohoo!

cannot wait to see what YOU will do, and good luck!!!!!!! ♥♥♥


*having said that... secretly, i'm still slightly miffed!!! sorry, mister blogger, i do love you, but yesterday and today you were A PIP!!!!!!!! (k, i'm done now!) :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PDP-make a wish card

having seen the "happy" card and "le petite tour eiffel", i know you'll already be *loving* this month's pixie kit, LA DOLCE VITA, but you could be thinking it seems quite a feminine selection of goodies, and you miiiiiight even be wondering, "hey lauren, can you use it to make a "guy card"??

and the answer to that is: UH-HUH!!!!!! :)


more deets on the pixie blog, where a bit of scrolling will also reveal the outstanding projects made by my fellow pixies... who are ROCKIN' as per usual... check it out! ♥

Monday, May 9, 2011

ou est le tour eiffel?

le tour eiffel est ici!

see??!



it is also on the pixie blog, where you can see a lot more photos from various angles. in fact, arguably, there are too many photos, but this is one of the oddest & (imo!) COOLEST projects i've ever made, so i went a bit camera-crazy, ok?! :)

all ingredients came from this month's kit, LA DOLCE VITA, for which miss kirsty really went to town...you can see a full list of the abundant & fab ingredients in the pixie shop!

lundi heureux, mes amies!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

now we know what they do AFTER easter! :)


rejoice with me, darlings!

the great hard drive migration has been accomplished with only minimal inconvenience! after last week's tech scramble, in which my computer's hard-drive was polite enough to inform me in advance that it was going to fail... (though sadly, NOT polite enough just to keep working!) ...i did everything i could think of to back up my system and files and prepare to switch over, and then held my breath and hoped that the thing would last until friday when lovely husband jeff was coming home after a two week absence.

because OF COURSE jeff wasn't here when the whole brouhaha occurred; nothing EVER breaks when jeff is here--i'm pretty sure all of our electronics and most of the small appliances are afraid of him! except the toaster oven, which foolishly fears no one and burns or undercooks EVERYTHING according to some mysterious agenda of its own. i shall have the last laugh there, however--i've got a kohl's coupon and i'm not afraid to use it! :)

but i digress...

jeff came home, we went to best buy and bought a 1TB (that's one TERRABYTE!!!) hard drive, we had a delicious indian lunch at the restaurant near the best buy, and then we swapped out the old for the new with a lot less trouble than either of us expected. i did lose almost all my email... even though i backed it up in TWO PLACES. i lost my screensaver... of which i was thoroughly tired anyway. i saved my IE bookmarks in the wrong format, and had quite a frustrating time until i discovered you can manually DRAG those folders into the "organize favorites" pane. i still cannot get the new version of IE to display correctly in large format on my widescreen monitor. but other than that things are quite lovely in the tech department of the laurniverse!


can i get a "WAHEY"??!?!

(thanks!)




*i apologize for putting that song in your head for all eternity, if it's any consolation, i've also put it in MY HEAD for all eternity. "oh ohh-oh OHHHHHHHHHHHH!" (karate chop!) (etc!) :0

Friday, May 6, 2011

JB19: the spirit of xmas past

color me happy: this week's JINGLE BELLES prompt is right up my alley! for "the spirit of christmas past" we're asking you to incorporate a vintage vibe into your holiday cards, whether that be in the form of actual antique ingredients... or new stuff with an old feel... or... well, go ahead and be a bit crazy with it; just make something that says "VINTAGE" to you!

i'm guessing that nobody will be surprised to hear i've hedged my bets and used lots of genuine vintage, while also incorporating some new stuff that has the same feeling. can you tell which is which?

(vintage bits from old ideals magazines: angel, poem, starry background; patterned paper & rose rub-ons: basic grey; diecut cardstock crown: fancy pants; ink: stewart superior; other: plain copier paper and white cardstock from staples; decorative scissors; adhesives: uhu gluestick, tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape)


ok, i know to some people, what i do with vintage books and magazines is a form of vandalism, but hear me out: i'm using things that were/are very common, and that usually are in a damaged state. these "ideals" for example, were stored in a damp basement for a number of years, and would have been sent to the recycling center if i hadn't wanted them. this is true of pretty much all my "ingredients". i am careful to look them up online to be certain they are not rare gems that someone might like to purchase and keep. when i am given items, as in this case, i tell the donors, "i am probably going to make cards out of these!" in this case my aunt and uncle, who were clearing out his mother's house after her death, were happy to hear that. miss georgia herself was very crafty and well-known to make very cool things from old christmas cards, discarded garments, and pretty much anything else she could get her hands on; this seems like a fitting tribute to her, imo! i truly love these little bits of history and feel that i am honoring and preserving such treasures by incorporating them into tiny pieces of mailable art.

on the other hand, if the idea of cutting up "originals" bothers you, then scan 'em and make copies; or buy vintage themed digi-kits; or use some of the many fabulous "vintage-inspired" products made especially for papercrafters! that, by the way, is what miss stephanie did this time, and seeing her gorgeous card is yet another reason you should really cruise on over to JINGLE BELLES right now!!! ♥

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PDP-happy stitching tutorial

i must admit to being pretty happy with today's pixie card, made with the treasures of may's kit, LA DOLCE VITA! my favorite part is the hand-stitched "HAPPY"... or maybe the grungy flowers... or possibly the combination of papers from sassafras, pink paislee, glitz, etc.? ok, i guess i have a lot of favorite parts!


but the favorite part i'm going to explain to you step-by-step is the hand-stitched "HAPPY" because it was soooooooo easy to do, and i think you might like to try it, too! (don't worry, you DO NOT need excellent penmanship for this... we're gonna CHEAT!) :)


1. choose a computer font to stitch


a nice simple thin-lined one is good for this; i printed out a few choices and ultimately decided to use this one called "susie's hand", because i like it'shandwritten quality.



2. position the greeting


i cut around the printed word and moved it around on my card until i was happy with it.




3. pierce holes through the printed word

somehow a few years ago i acquired a heidi swapp "petite paper piercer" and frankly, i do not think there is a better tool for doing this. i place an old mouse mat behind my cardstock so it can lay flat while i'm working.



4. check your spacing

if the holes are too close, you can risk tearing through the paper; if they are too far apart, you wind up with something that looks like a dot-to-dot from third grade!




5. stitch the word


i almost always use an embroidery needle, all 6 strands of DMC floss, and backstitch, for a nice thick raised look and a neat reverse side, but there are a zillion ways to do this! the most important thing is to remember that cardstock isn't flexible like fabric is, so you need to take care not to rip or bend your card.


i hope you've enjoyed this mini tutorial and that stitching a custom sentiment will make you as "HAPPY" as it does me! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

torn and layered diecut trees tutorial

these are SUPER-easy, and and totally fun to make! i suppose you could use the same technique with other dies, as well, i might have to have a little essperiment with that later! but for now, here come the ♥TREES♥:

1. cut a cardstock base


just slightly larger than your die; mine is sizzix's "tree #2" which measures about 5x3.5". btw, if you'd like any of your layers of green "foliage" to have stamping or typing on them, you should do that now before you start the tearing process.


2. randomly layer strips of torn cardstock


this is a great way to use up scraps. i am partial to core'dinations, myself, because you get two colors for the price of one. don't be afraid to throw some blue-uish, white or grey tones in; the contrast is very cool. do try to get some different angles as you tear and layer... this will add to the look of swoopy "branches" in your finished trees!

3. sew your snow!


i went back and forth across the torn part of each layer with white thread, to accentuate the color variations. don't worry about being neat... it actually looks COOLER the more wonkily your perform this step! ;) also, don't bother cutting the thread at each level, just sew up the edge--that bit will be lost when you diecut anyway!



4. diecut your trees


this is totally straightforward, the only thing i'd add is that it's nice to cut some trees with your layers face up on the die, and some face down, just to get a very slight variety in the shape of your trees. also, if you have any layered scraps at the end, place them at the top end of the tree die and cut again... even if they are only an inch or two long, you can get some "mini trees" to place off in the distance. (this is how i got the smaller trees on my card!)



5. brush on more "snow"!


i swiped some watered down gesso along the torn edges of my layers to get even more contrast and color tones. you could use unwatered gesso for a more dramatic look, or watery acryllic paint (or chalk or ink); and stickles or glitter is ALWAYS a nice addition, as my friend judy will tell you!!! :)



6. show off!!!


try to finish these early enough in the evening that someone is still awake to admire your cleverness. try to blush modestly when praised for your genius... you can thank me later! :)



7. now go forth...


...and make some FAB♥U♥LOUS christmas cards!


(then c'mon over to jingle belles each friday where we'll do it all again!!!)