Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween, darlings!

here on the east coast we decided to start our celebration a little bit early by throwing a halloween hurricane!


no, seriously, lovely husband jeff and i are fine, though along with most of new jersey we're without electrical power for the immediate future, and thus my internet presence may be seriously limited for the next few days. luckily we have email via our i-phones, and a gas stove for heat and food preparation.

luckier still, my mother (who lives only 30 minutes away) still has electricity, and yesterday afternoon we were able descend upon her in quest of showers, electronic-device charging, blog-post-writing, and storage for some of our frozen foods. her rates for that sort of thing are pretty reasonable, too! ;)

in the meantime, as LHJ points out, this is a bit like camping!!! i agree totally. unfortunately, i happen to really *HATE* camping. :0 which is not to say that i don't realize that we are VERY fortunate to have gotten off as lightly as this, and i hope, if you were affected by hurricane sandy, you're doing ok, too.

if you weren't affected by the storm, g'head and take an EXTRA hot shower, in my honor, ok? thanks!

ciao, darlings!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

vive les fleurs!

if you happen to like flowers, this week's brief at shopping our stash is a slam-dunk!

Challenge 75: Flower Power
Use your handmade or 3-d flowers! 
 (your project can include stamped images but it also needs to have at least one flower that is either handmade or a 3-d flower you bought. Think Wild Orchid Crafts, puffy stickers, Primas, etc.)

i am a sucker for dimensional items, generally, and florals in particular, so my only problem was deciding which, of my considerable stash, to use. i went with pink velvet. because, well... why not, eh?!

(patterned paper (all scraps, woohoo!): crate, pink paislee, glitz; pre-folded, but unused (woohoo!) cardstock card base: core'dinations; diecut frame (dating from the civil war, i think--woohoo!!!): k and co; velvet flower (ok, not thaaaaaat old, but still stash, woohoo): petaloo; fabric tape: love my tapes; "thank you" formatted in "manuscript" font and printed on a staples brand inkjet clear label; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)  

i used this sketch from raise the bar

and i'm still quite clearly "thinking pink" as they suggest, but i have not actually stamped at all on this card, so i might not technically qualify for the challenge. that's ok. it's a brilliant sketch and it totally HELPED me speed up my "process"!

i went quite simple-- well, simple for ME! :) i actually came very close to running out of time completely this week, which is sometimes a good thing, as it forces me to pare down, use ready-made items, and stay focused. i made a thank you card because i already have sufficient "girly" birthday cards for the rest of the year. what i don't have is enough "guy cards" but i couldn't quite see a *QUICK* way to incorporate dimensional flowers into one of those; maybe next time, lol!

why not drop in at SOS and see what my fellow designers have done with this fun challenge?! ♥

Monday, October 29, 2012

and a very merry monday to ♥YOU♥!

i'm already having one, thank you very much, since the lovely lesley croghan and the merry monday gang very kindly chose this monsta xmas card as their winner for last week, and invited me along as guest artist today! of course i was excited, especially when i saw the gorgeous sketch!

awesome, am i right? so it was no problem at all to whip up a little something special with such a helpful and inspiring road map:

(vintage: birch tree illustration from an old copy of "ideals" magazine + square doilies + funky dogwood flowers; patterned paper: pink paislee, basic grey, crate paper, ki memories, crafty secrets; brads: my mind's eye; reindeer die: tim holtz; snowflake dies: spellbinders; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine)

i went with a reindeer not only because that MIGHT be my all-time favorite tim holtz die; but also, i wanted one more shot at our "holiday creature feature" prompt over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥; there's still time for you to get in on it, as well, it runs through6pm (est) on halloween!

something else that's well worth doing by wednesday night is making something inspired by laurel seabrook's current challenge:

how gorgeous is that ♥PINK♥ vintage royal typewriter?! are you swooning, as i am, just at the thought that some of those still exist somewhere in the world? i think my inspiration was quite clearly-- and quite literally-- EVERYTHING about this, from the colors, to the flower details, to the rounded corners on the photo itself! 

and of course the  sketch is soooooooooooo very fab that i followed it straight down the line... though obviously in my own laureny and super-embellished sort of way! i hope you will hop over to merry monday and see the rest of the amazing DT's lovely creations, and then start planning your own holiday sketch card, i can't wait to see what ♥YOU♥ will make!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

there's really NO bad time to visit the high line!

case in point: yesterday was overcast, and autumn is not necessarily even the ideal season (i'd have to go with late spring) for the actual gardens in new york city's most innovative and awesome (imo!) public park.

the high line was built on the dis-used railway freight line above tenth avenue, originally built to serve the meatpacking district.

i've been there at least a dozen times, and yet, whenever i find myself near that part of town, i'm always willing to walk a couple of extra blocks, if necessary, so that my trip from 30th to 14th street (or vice versa) can be made through the park instead of at street level.

i allow extra time because despite numerous trips, i still ALWAYS want to take photos! there are new plantings or bits of art being added... whether "official" or not...

...and then there are certain things i snap away at EVERY SINGLE TIME, regardless... frank gehry's IAC building being foremost in that category. i bet i've taken a hundred shots of it, and it still fascinates me.

on the way to or from the high line, you might see some cool street art...

...and there are starting to be some high-end designer shops in the area, as well. of course chelsea market is always fun, as well as offering a lot of quick and cheap (ish... by nyc standards...) lunch options.

don't fill up, though, because grom gelato is only a few blocks' walk from the southern end of the park... and trust me... you'll want to have that virtuous feeling of having got some exercise, so that you can indulge, guilt-free, in the best ice cream to be found outside italy. if you'd like a bit of an alibi, tell your compnaions they just have to see the lovely neoclassical building which houses our lady of pompei catholic church on the corner of carmine and bleecker streets... and then suddenly "notice" the gelateria across the way! ;)

as long as you're this close to soho, you might as well keep walking, and check out a few galleries. i like the campton a lot, one reason being that my favorite collage artist, jane maxwell, shows there semi-regularly.

the exhibition that is on right now is her best to date, which is saying something! (i believe it ends on halloween though, so you'll need to hurry! if you're not local, robert mars has a few lovely photos here!) btw, purlsoho (for fabric and yarn) and kate's paperie (for... well... paper, obviously!) are literally just around the corner from the gallery, and worth the trip!

finally, if at any time during your day, you find yourself near a reflective surface; for example, a window, a shiny building, or perhaps the mirror in the ceiling of an elevator (seriously... whose idea was this...?!) be sure to take a cheesy self-portrait for your blog!  preferably one in which you are making as goony a face as possible, lol! :) :) :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

flamingo christmas

just when you think that monsta christmas could not be beaten for sheer random laureny weirdness, i present my second card for our ♥JINGLE BELLEScreature feature prompt, a little thing i like to call flamingo christmas!
(patterned paper: love elsie, we r memory keepers; flamingo: meri meri; letter stickers: love elsie; sentiment rub-on: tps; pearls: kaiser; brads: queen and co; flower beads: toho shoji bead shop, nyc; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

i'll have you know that this is not the first flamingo christmas card i've made! no sirree, bob! this is... ok, it's actually only the second flamingo christmas card i've made, but i'm definitely going to make more in future, because they are FUN! in case you're interested, the first one was made right around the time of the first monsta xmas card; which is how i found it again, whilst looking for the links to the early monsta cards. and once i found it, i remembered how much i loved it at the time, and also how much i loved this flamingo one that gina, and i thought, "it's been too long"!

it's not especially christmassy, really, is it? but then, not everyone celebrates christmas, and i like to have a few cards that are more of a generic winter/holiday season so as to include everyone. BY FAR the most time consuming part of this was stitching those letters on; that took ages, and it took almost as long to fish all the thread ends to the back of the panel. because i knew there were going to be serious amounts of those dangly accoutrements at the end of the process, i did my sewing (except for the outline around the edge of the card) BEFORE i attached the center panel, so that they'd be hidden in the space between the two squares. given the serious commitment of time and fiddling with thread, why did i bother to sew the letters on? well, for one thing, i knew the pop of white would make them stand out just a little bit more prominently, and that stitching would be both more textural and more fun than pen; but mostly: these are older stickers that no longer had as much stickiness as one might wish, and frankly, they were just NOT going to stay on long enough to make it into the envelope, much less their final destination. for the record, they are now my FAVORITE part of the card. so there.

one of my favorite parts of friday morning is heading over to the 52-card-pickup linkfest, where i am always blown away by what patrice has made; care to join me? then you really must pop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see stephanie's card, and peruse the creature feature gallery so far, it is already most impressive!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ok, i admit, this does SOUND crazy...

...earlier this year, i spent quite some time knitting a cashmere cabled cardigan... for one of niece lindsay marie's barbie dolls!

 what, you mean YOUR nieces' barbies dress "off the rack"??!

some of the people who saw me doing so, on various airplane journeys this spring, just sort of looked at me sideways; others came right out and asked, "WHY??!?!" weirdly enough, it's other knitters who are most freaked out, and don't mind mentioning that fact; because i'm *wasting* time and high quality supplies!

the purse is filatura di crosa superwash merino. the tiny snap closure inside was the most difficult part of the entire project!

and i see their point. i really do. but a couple of years ago i had a series yarn-craft epiphanies which went a bit like this:  i really only knit or crochet whilst traveling; if my project isn't small enough and light enough to fit in my purse, i won't take it with me; i get bored if a project isn't challenging enough to hold my interest; i really reallllllllllllllly like super-premium yarn, and have quite a few leftovers that even taken all together aren't enough for a "real" project.

can't remember who makes this yarn, but it's hand-dyed and has a tiny bit of silk in it.

how i got from there to high-end designer barbie clothes is nicky epstein's fault. she wrote this awesome book a few years ago, and suddenly all of those things came together in my mind. and afterall, it's MY yarn, and my time, and i looooooooooove using both of them for this!

alpaca cardigan with patch pockets and a picked-up-short-rows shawl collar; every second of knitting this was heavenly!

the nieces love it, too! they've started to ask how one does various things yarn-related things, and how long it takes, and can i teach them?! we had some crocheting lessons over the summer and i have a special little custom scarf "kit" planned as part of their christmas present. 

so if you're on an airplane, a train, or a bus and you see a contented-looking woman knitting something tiny and crazy, stop over and say hi, okay? i'll be happy to see you, darlings! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

thinkin' outside... or inside... the jar

hooray for tuesday, and another fabulous challenge at shopping our stash!

Challenge 74: Out of the Jar
Use anything that came in a jar: flower soft, glitter, perfect pearls, embossing powder, etc. 
Use a jar image: whether stamped, cut from patterned paper, in a vintage photo
Make something using an actual jar: decorate it, fill it with treats, make it into storage... it's up to you!

i hope you're not getting tired of seeing my beloved dear lizzy mason jars, cut from american crafts' twinkling lights paper; because i still have about ten of those babies left and i'm planning to use every single one!!! starting now:

(patterned paper: american crafts, echo park, crate paper, prima; cardstock diecuts: echo park; decorative scissors: ek success; other: doily; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, scotch gluestick, sewing machine)

can you believe how amazingly well the "happy day" cardstock label fits on the heart-festooned jar? all i had to do was trim the edges a teeny bit et voila instant focal point! a couple of mats, part of a doily, and a few fussy-cut butterflies later, i had the PERFECT summery card; just in time for... (sigh) autumn.  ah well. apart from my timing being off, i am really pleased with this one.

at the moment, i am really into using white as my anchor color; a bit odd for me, usually i like black. but as long as i keep my inkpads and pens firmly capped, (i am a figure of some repute in the field of unsightly smudges) it's hard not to love the fresh, bright, soft look of the white. remind me of this when it starts snowing here, k? because i think i might tend to forget the feeling, when that happens! :)

and now i hope you'll hop over to SOS and see what my amazing fellow design team-mates have done for this fun challenge... and then link up your own card or project!

Monday, October 22, 2012

is there a 12-step program for instagram?

not that i'd go. because i'm having waaaay too much fun with this! on the obsession scale i'd say i'm somewhere between dustin hoffman in rainman and glenn close in fatal attraction. of course, i would not boil your bunny! i'd just take his photo and then apply a variety of artistic filters and actions to it before sharing it with the world. :) :) :)

here are some of my recent faves:

my friend trish and i went yarn shopping this weekend, though one of us probably spent as much time photographing yarn as buying it, much to the amusement of the lady at our favorite local shop, twist!

usually, on sundays, we do an extra-long exercise walk, lately we've been favoring washington's crossing state park, where again, one of us tends to stop to take pictures rather often.

on saturday night jeff and i got takeaway from the best church supper either of us have ever attended--and we've been to a few, i assure you!

this year i am obsessed with autumn foliage; i've photo-ed the trees in my backyard:

the ones in the parking lot at the gym:

the ones surrounding my favorite apple farm (manoff's, where friday is pie day, as LHJ will attest!):

and when the leaves fall off, i photo them on the ground:

of course, flowers are nice too; in a vase:

on a fence:

and even riding their bikes!

so do you instagram, too? if so, leave me a link to your feed, so i can come and visit! mine is viewable online to instagram members via gramfeed, or if using the regular app, my user name is llaurenb happy snapping, darlings!!! ♥♥♥

Saturday, October 20, 2012

here's something you don't see me do very often...

...i've made an entirely ~FLAT~ card!*

 (patterned paper and alpabet stickers: basic grey (+ a few teeny scraps of authentique); star dies: nestabilities; ink: colorbox; pen: copic multiliner; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner)

yeah, i know, i can hardly believe it, either! but i simultaneously fell in love with this week's basic grey card sketch:

and also with the quite fabulously vibrant palette (#159) at colour q:

and that limitation of stash-usage meant that i basically had just paper and stickers to work with, lol, so i went with those! on the other hand, you don't need that much if it's all reallllllllly great, right? luckily there's a TON of color and pattern going on here; plus old skool BG alphas automatically make everything look cool, imo, so i'm pretty happy with the results. not sure i will know how to act when mailing a card that only needs ONE first class stamp... holy moly... what a CONCEPT!!! :) :) :)

*yes, it IS still really me. yes, i can prove it: i have already watched this elebenty zillion times. and that's just TODAY!!! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

it's beginning to look a lot like ♥MONSTAS♥!

which, for me, means that it's really starting to feel like the build up to the official holiday card-making season has begun. ok, yeah, granted, i've been making my christmas cards all year long over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ but this is the first official monsta card of 2012-- made in honor of our "creature feature" prompt that will run for the next fortnight-- so it's quite a special day! for the record, YOU do not have to make a card with a monsta on it! in fact, ANY living creature will qualify, from reindeer to elves to penguins to angels to moose to... well, heck, i s'pose you could even put PEOPLE on there, in a pinch!

but i like monstas. i might have mentioned that before. maybe even a few times. like, for instance, here and here and even waaaaaaaay back here! :)

(monsta cut from a roll of (sadly discontinued) "mini mutant" giftwrap by paperchase; vintage: ledger paper; patterned paper: echo park, love elsie, basic grey, dcwv, bo bunny; glossy black cardstock: ranger; pearls: kaiser; labels: dymo; santa hat: recollections; ink: colorbox; pen: copic multiliner; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine; other: typewriter)

ok, yeah, there's A LOT of color and pattern goin' on here; and, i mean, it's a lot even for ME, which is already a lot, isn't it?! but what can i say? monstas enjoy a lively environment! actually, if you place a monsta in a dull environment, they will immediately want to liven it up, in quite spectacular ways, so really you're better off not fighting it. they also enjoy a tasty christmas tree from time to time, although apparently, the trouble with evergreens being so... ummmmm... GREEN, is that it makes it harder to tell which ones are ripe. occupational hazard.

i'm quite proudly linkin' this little dude up at 52-card-pickup; (hi, patrice!) and i've used this week's rather fab  merry monday sketch, which is #37 and looks a bit like this. actually, it looks EXACTLY like this. go figure:

i hope you'll hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's card and link up your own "creature feature" between now and halloween, because i cannot wait to see what you will make! ♥

Thursday, October 18, 2012

meet PUG-sley!

he's the latest of my amigurumi friends, i made him as a birthday gift for gina (a serious pug-fancier) although it was also a bit of a selfish act on my part, really, because when i saw this adorable pattern in the gurumiorama etsy shop, i just COULD NOT resist!

something which made this little guy even more than usually fun to crochet is the fact that whereas i make most of my little dolls from ordinary lion brand acrylic, i just happened to have some "leftover" yarn in the perfect shades of tan and brown, which just happened to be the remnants of some rather luscious blue sky alpaca. so this is what you call a luxury pug!

by virtue of his coloring, i've decided he's eligible (in a totally tangential and laureny way) to be linked up at the anything but a card challenge blog, where the current brief is for autumnal-themed projects OR things with autumnal coloring: golds, rust, reds, browns, deep green, etc; i'm not sure miss carla envisaged anyone submitting a tiny crocheted dog... (which, me being me, is reason enough to do it, lol!) ...on the other hand, her blogging name is "scrappypug" so i'm quietly confident i can get away with a bit of cheekiness on this occasion!!! :)

i haven't showed off my little playing-card-sized ami photo album in a while, and it's got quite a bit fuller than when i first put it together, a couple of years ago:

this might be my all time favorite minibook project, only because i do tend to give away my amigurumis, and it's nice to have a little keepsake album in which to remember all the ones i've made. it serves a practical purpose, also; the back of each photo not only has "adoption" information as to where each one ended up, but also practical details such as what yarn and pattern i used, in case i (or a crocheting friend) would ever like to make a similar creature in future. it's also one of the few times i really put much thought into the "staging" of my photos, and thus they are faves just in themselves for that reason. for example, i'm not sure i'll ever be able to cut into the 12x12 sheet of dear lizzy paper with the trees and hills i've used behind pugsley... i mean... what if i want to crochet more puppies? where would THEY play??! ♥♥♥

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

birthday "SPACE-out"!

i'm embarrassed to say that i have need on a semi-regular basis for the "belated" sub-division of birthday cards. it's usually not that i've forgotten the date, just that i've been too busy or too oblivious to get my act together. which seems *worse* somehow, doesn't it? ah well. if i can't be on time, at least i will try to be stylish, lol!

(spaceman card, ticket strip, label and word border: october afternoon "rocket age" miscellany; patterned paper: amy tangerine, crate paper; rub-on and sticker sentiments: EAD designs... who will be SORELY MISSED in these parts!; washi tape: love my tapes, recollections, bazzill, crafty basics; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape)

i was super-excited to have won (by random draw) a 2peas gift certificate for this card in last week's saturday cardmaking challenge; but i'd've had to come back and play in any case because kimber mcgray has drawn one of my all-time favorite sketches this week! i am quite sure you'll be seeing this again in future, so i hope you're enjoying it so far!

most of the time i am quite shockingly lazy about decorating the INSIDE of cards. in fact i'm embarrassed to say that sometimes i leave it soooooooo close to the last minute that there isn't even a stamped or rub-onned sentiment, just my own handwritten greeting; but the great thing about using a black card base is that it sort of forces you to do something to the inside, and for once i actually bothered to make it coordinate. go, me! :)

hope this week is treating you well so far, but if not, take heart... it's halfway over! happy wednesday, darlings! ♥

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

best witches for a happy halloween!

i was too lazy to take a photo of the inside of my card, but i wanted to make sure i told you the *FAB* sentiment i used on what is, for me, a very rare halloween card. i don't know WHY i seldom make them, i quite like halloween, and i love all the goth imagery and colors and things, but somehow between my family's over-abundance of autumn birthdays and the fact that halloween tends to fall in the space where christmas card and project production steps into high gear, it just never seems to happen. but this week's challenge at shopping our stash is trick or treat AND i stumbled across this adorable richard scarry illustration in one of my falling-apart booksale books, so i was doubly inspired! just in case you are not keen on the holiday aspect, the alternate route for this challenge is to make a card which features candy, cupcakes, or any other "treat" item on it... so it really is trick OR treat! cool, no?!

(vintage richard scarry illustration from a damaged library-used-book-sale-aquired children's book; patterned paper: authentique; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, scotch gluestick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

another thing that tipped the scales for me in favor of a halloween card this week is that i have a fabulous (but neglected) authentique paper pad that miss stephanie gave me a while back, which is in the black, creamy/yellowy and orange tones that so artful challenges (where my lovely and vivacious blogging friend electra is on the dt!) would like to see for their harvest moon challenge; you don't actually need to have a MOON in your project for that; in fact it doesn't have to even be halloween-themed, butas soon as i have a witch on a broom, i immediately want to position her in front of a big full moon, so i was more than halfway there already! :)

i used last week's mojo monday sketch, even though it IS last week's mojo monday sketch, because for one thing, i just LOVED the sketch itself; but also, that lovely large circle element is just PERFECT for the aforementioned witch-enhancing moon, don't you think?

i'm also linking up with the autumn/halloween challenge at challenge up your life and the time to get spooky challenge at card makin' mamas so i send a hearty "HELLO" to the lovely ladies on those sites!

speaking of lovely ladies, there's a whole gorgeous bunch of 'em at SOS and they've ALL made utterly fabulous things they'd like to show you this week, so why not hop over and visit them now? it's well worth the trip, i promise you!

Monday, October 15, 2012

i'm not sure if this is an art journal page... or a card...

at the moment it's the former, but if my main idea for my friend paul's annual birthday collage doesn't pan out, then i think it might turn into a card, sharpish!

 (vintage bits: time card, ticket stub, book paper, sheet music; other bits: my photoshopped hibiscus photo, part of a calendar page, scraps of hindi newspaper; patterned paper: sei, basic grey; tape: heidi swapp; brackets: cosmo cricket; rub-ons: autumn leaves, basic grey, 7 gypsies; quote formatted in broderbund printshop using sidewalk and bohemian typewriter fonts and printed on a 3m inkjet transparency; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, scotch gluestick)

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. 
Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. 
Do, every day, something no one else 
would be silly enough to do. 
It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
-Christopher Morley

i used an old sketch from scrap friends which i had printed out when it was current-- at the beginning of september-- but which got snowed under a pile of other stuff on my desk. as many things do. though frankly, you should really dismiss those pesky rumors about the lindbergh baby out of hand, they are completely untrue!

nonetheless, having unearthed said sketch yesterday, i remembered how much i loved both it, and this amazing layout my lovely and inspirational blogging friend sandi taloumis made from it. you'll notice that my interpretation is, alas, really nothing like either of those. but it's kind of fun, anyway, i think. and the main thing is, it uses that totally brilliant christopher morley quote which i just found recently and could not wait to use in the current city crafter challenge (#130) to impart inspiring words or advice. speaking of city crafter, you really ought to hop over there and see the DT projects because they are even more stellar than usual, which, believe me, is SAYING SOMETHING.

and now it just remains for me to send a very, VERY happy (and only sliiiiightly belated!) birthday wish to my lovely friend linda robinson, who just happens to be on the aforesaid CCCB team, and who is being celebrated HERE, if you'd like to join in!

(and many more!)