Tuesday, June 30, 2015

it's vegas, baby!

ok, technically, this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called, "baubles, buttons and bows" and we want to see-- ok, frankly, you should already have guessed this-- baubles and/or buttons and/or bows. i went with baubles. which is not that unusual for me. i mean, we all know that if i were a bird, i'd be a magpie; but in this case it really was absolutely necessary, because i was making the cover of a souvenir birthday book, for my friend barb, who will be celebrating her *60th birthday* next weekend, in las vegas!

vegas photo collage image trimmed from an outdated travel guide; oversized pink vintage bauble which used to be a clip-on earring (until i ripped the clip thingie off it with a pair of pliers) found at a rummage sale; glitter paper and velvet paper: doodlebug; transparency: hambly; little paper flags: heidi swapp and basic grey; stick pins: making memories and little yellow bicycle; "party" button: october afternoon; florals and scalloppy bling border: recollections; feather (because you really can't say something has an authentic vegas vibe if there are NO FEATHERS, am i right?!) from my stash; ink: stewart superior; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, gluedots, low temp hot glue gun, sewing machine

i know, i know, technically, what happens in vegas stays in vegas, and it's important to destroy the more incriminating photos. but i figure there will be at least some wholesome moments, involving cake and presents and her kids, which she might like to print out and put in a really cool book full of vintage papers, fun patterns and festive transparencies, so i've got her covered!!! :)

i realize it's sometimes hard to figure out what i've done, exactly, when i alter things, so luckily for once i actually remembered to take a picture of my embellishments before i started:

you can see that my two store-bought florals already had gem centers, but they were A) kind of  dinky and B) not at all birthday-related, so i decided to swap out. i used a badge for the smaller one, and a really cool vintage earring (aka BAUBLE!) i found at a rummage sale for the other. it had a clip on the back, as you can see, so i used pliers to pry it apart and then wire cutters to trim it up. under ordinary circumstances, i would've handed this job off to jeff, but recently he found me a pair of excellent spring-loaded cutters at home depot, which make snipping through fairly strong metal about the same effort as cutting paper, even with my weak carpals, so i was able to do it on my own. here's what i had afterwards:

and yes, i am a bit psyched that i still have one whole earring and that cool silver filigree backing thingie to use on a future bling-encrusted project! :)

i was hoping to show the entire book today, but i'm still tinkering a bit with the finishing touches on the pages; plus... this is already a pretty long post, isn't it? so rather than rush, i've elected to come back later in the week with the dramatic conclusion! :) meanwhile, there are loads of fabulously inspiring "baubles, buttons and bows" projects at SOS; why not hop over and enjoy those right now?

Monday, June 29, 2015

EYE- cad??!

the bad news: i got a bit behind again on blogging my cards for the index card a day (aka ICAD) project. the good news: there are lots (lots!!!) to show you now! :)

022: psychedelic
as always, the prompts are 100% optional, but tammy has been especially creative this year, giving each week a theme or a connection to get us thinking. this week it was all adjectives, which is cool, because they are specific enough to get you started, but general enough to have LOTS of interpretations. so ok, yeah, this one is arguably more like psycho-delic, but still...

023: geometric
what's more geometric than vaguely dimensional squares??! i rest my case.

024: romantic
my brain went utterly blank for this one. eventually i thought of doing a rose. i'm not in love with it, but it does pretty much look like a rose, and when you are as new at drawing as i am, producing something at all recognizable still totally feels like a win! yay!

025: botanic or organic
i have no idea why, but i really like drawing food generally and fruit specifically. there's no rhyme or reason, that's just how it is. so why not go with it?  

026: exotic
i had a lot of india-related ideas, and i put ALL OF THEM into a 3x5" space. yeah. ok, so, the thing i like best about this one is actually that i don't like it at all. which is cool because it means i'm being experimental and focusing on process more than outcome. which is-- to me-- kind of the whole point of ICAD. plus... peacock feather!!!

027: academic
if you were to flick through my sketchbook you'd see approximately 40% finished drawings, 10% random jotted notes and 50% that i would categorize as "trying stuff out". the latter consists of rough sketches to get the line of something, paint color tests, wonky attempts at shading, etc. the page below had A LOT of swipes of watercolor from a couple of weeks ago when i was trying to mix a few specific colors. and a totally unrelated half grapefruit, lol. later, when i was doodling, i turned the swipes into books. an idea that came back to me when i read the word "academic" on the prompt list. just another example of the fundamental interconnectedness* of all things! :)

028: dramatic
i had absolutely no thematic idea for this one. at all. on the other hand, i had been wanting to draw some marquee letters for a while. so there ya go. my spacing is pretty wonky... and don't even look at the "I"... (which, ACK, that's totally made you have to look at the "I" hasn't it?! sorry.) but it was fun to draw and color and i don't think anyone anywhere could possibly argue that it's not, in fact, pretty darned DRAMATIC! (woohoo.) :)

*we are watching dirk gently via acorn tv. something i put off doing for a while because the douglas adams books are some of my all time faves and i feel strangely protective of them. also, i frankly didn't love the bbc radio versions, despite harry enfield writing and playing the title role, which really ought to have been spot-on. as it turns out, i needn't have worried; the tv show is really quite different from the books, but it somehow still feels completely right, if that makes sense? the best surprise is that stephen mangan-- who does not look or sound at all like i imagined dirk-- is absolutely perfect in the role. guys, i'm sorry i ever doubted you! now could we get a second series, maybe??

Friday, June 26, 2015

gingerbread... in the house!

for years, at christmas time, i've been saying that *someday* i'm going to make a gingerbread house. of course, i don't bake... i don't even cook... so that's slowed me down a bit, lol. but seeing as we're still rockin' the "no patterned paper" assignment over at ♥JINGLE BELLES this seemed like an excellent time to whip up a bit of a cardstock confection:

colored cardstock: core'dinations; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; flower sequins and brads: queen and co; heart button: doodlebug; snowflake embossing folder: spellbinders (used as a stamp with ranger tumbled glass distress ink); tree die: sizzix; clear glitter: michaels; adhesives: elmers brand glue tape, 3m foam tape, quickie glue pen, sewing machine

ok, i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, you cheated! there's totally a snowflake patterned paper in your background!" but NO, that wasn't a pre-made paper, i stamped that! well... sorta... i loaded up a really cool metal embossing plate with pale blue distress ink and applied it to some glossy white cardstock, so it would look like the house was standing in a snowy landscape.

i was hoping to use a cool digi-kit or template for my design, but i couldn't find anything i really loved, so me being me, i wound up winging it. of course the most fun was decorating the house once i had the doors and windows and things in place. instead of candy and icing i used colorful cardstock, sequins, buttons, brads, glitter and lots of machine stitching.

of course, you don't have to construct a whole scene from the ground up using only cardstock. just think up a fabulous holiday card design that features NO patterned paper and link it up with us at ♥JINGLE BELLES!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SOS207: for the boys

is it just me, or are guy-themed cards a lot more challenging to make than their female counterparts? well, this week at shopping our stash we're taking the bull by the horns and embracing masculine colors, themes and ideas, so hopefully we'll all come away with a few cool new ideas! here's what i made:

patterned paper: my mind's eye, studio calico, basic grey + vintage map scraps; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; alphabet stickers: basic grey, pebbles; ink: colorbox; pen: faber castelll pitt; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i've gone pretty simple with this one, but still managed to work in lots and lots (and lots!) of different patterns. the four rounded rectangles are trimmed-down journal cards, the stars are scraps of vintage map paper, and the sentiment mixes large and small basic grey alphas... because... i didn't have enough of either to do the whole thing. (but i really like how they look!)

there are lots more guy-centric designs to inspire you at SOS where my design team darlings have been creating magic. you know, just like they do EVERY week! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

now even ICAD-ier!

more index cards, anyone? because it just so happens i have a few more to show:

018: treehouse
i was going for something fun and magical, like maybe elves would live in, or fairies, or just very thin people without any fear of confined spaces or heights. however i'm pretty sure that exterior staircase won't meet minimum safety standards anywhere-- probably not even in magical fictional worlds-- so i expect to hear from the elfin version of OSHA any day now.

019: snowglobe
still really loving teeny tiny cities, and also to let my drawings go off the page. fairly proud that after many (MANY!) attempts to draw a simplified version of the eiffel tower, i've actually produced one that's recognizable, wahey!!!

020: color wheel
this one started off with the idea of rainbow colors, and wheels with spokes and trimmings, like on fancy bikes; but i got a bit carried away with the fancifying. ok, yeah, maybe more than a bit. but you know... inna good way, lol...

021: the 1970's
holy moly, what a decade that was for design! it's impossible to draw anything too bright, too colorful, or too crazy... just go back and look at the magazines or tv shows, it was a free-for-all! thus david cassidy and i both fit right in; which is nice because, as a matter of fact, we had the same haircut in 1974 (and at least one of us is still having flashbacks)!!! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2015


that's the sound of me getting in just under the wire for sketch #5 of the crooked stamper sketch challenge, which i will show you in one second, but first here's my card:

patterned paper: glitz design, girls paperie, american crafts (dear lizzy and amy tangerine); stickers: basic grey; feather from my stash; border punch: recollections; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

it's an anniversary card, for my sister and her husband, so of course i chose some super-cute lovebirds, lol! and yes, i used leslie's fab CSSC#5 sketch, though of course, me being me, it's a loose version! :)

leslie's challenge is coordinating with little tangles #57 on the neat and tangled challenge blog, so i'm gonna link up there, too, though i haven't used one of their fab images or even stamped at all... i hope that doesn't disqualify me.

meanwhile there are loads of fab cards in the CSSC#5 gallery, not to mention the awesome versions leslie has made, so why not go and check those out?! ♥

Friday, June 19, 2015

cardstock christmas?!

yes, holiday cardmakers, it's that time again, when we ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ eschew our beloved patterned paper and embrace the joys of cardstock, stamps, stencils, or heck just a very clean and minimal design; there are no other requirements, but you CAN'T use pre-made commercial patterned paper! most everyone knows that i'm a girl who loves pattern-on-pattern, so this is always a hard one for me, but i'm pretty pleased with what i came up with:

two shades of purple cardstock: core'dinations; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; snowflake embossing folder: darice; tim holtz reindeer diecut from super-thin wood veneer; floral and sentiment banner: recollections; music note twill: stampin' up; vintage lace and silver doily; metal snowflake and jingle bell brad: making memories; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape and repositionable gluestick, sewing machine

ok, so, you'll notice that my background is NOT clean or minimal, but i didn't cheat, i swear! i made that fun harlequin background from two shades of purple cardstock. it was a little bit of a fussy process, but here are the basics:

step one:
trim two coordinating panels of 4.25 x 5.5' cardstock, and mark the BACK of one of them with an evenly spaced pattern of diagonal triangles. i did this by drawing a big diagonal "X" that connected the two sets of corners; then placed my 1" ruler against each line and kept marking until the grid covered the page.

step two: 
using repositionable adhesive, attach the piece of cardstock with the grid to your other coordinating piece cardstock. trim the double-thick panel along each line (i like a guillotine trimmer for this) until the entire grid is cut apart into separate pieces. it will really REALLY help if you put each segment back into place on your work table (as pictured) when you disconnect them, so that you'll know which piece fits where. 

step three... times two:
since you will have two pieces of each segment (one of each color of cardstock) you might as well build TWO backgrounds at the same time. starting with the two biggest pieces from the bottom row, glue them into position on a 4.25 x 5.5" piece of scrap cardstock (don't worry what color it is, it won't show!) it *seems* like the most important thing to get straight and even are the edges, but actually, it's the interior diamonds. you need to make the diagonals line up, so that the next row of diamonds will fit without overlapping and without gaps in between. it helps to apply adhesive to the scrap cardstock, dry-fit the diamonds, then press down each row firmly. at the end, the edges may be a little wonky, so plan on trimming up about 1/8" around each side to make it neat. this will give you a finished two-toned harlequin panel measuring 4 x 5.25".

step four and beyond:
place the finished panel inside your favorite embossing folder and run it through your die-cutting machine. sand the raised parts of the design if desired, or highlight with ink and/or glitter. add ribbons, diecuts, doilies, florals, decorative stitching... or... ALL OF THE ABOVE! mount the embellished panel to a folded card and glow with pride! :)

of course, there are loads of other ideas for awesome cards with NO patterned paper, and it just so happens miss stephanie has also made one for you to admire at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

index cards for EVERYBODY!

more ICAD fun is taking place on the daisy yellow blog, in the flickr group, on facebook and especially on instagram, where there is inspiration galore!!! here are my latest cards:

015: route 66
this one really had me stumped, until i remembered a cool map that june drew, with some interstate route signs on it, which looked pretty awesome. since ICAD locks me into the same size and shape for every card, i've been experimenting with the placement of my images; at the moment, i quite like letting them go off the page... especially something like a route sign that really needs to be symmetrical, lol! (there's always a way to "cheat"!) :)

 016: greeting card
i nearly skipped this one because, afterall, my main area of papercrafting is making cards, and ICAD is meant to be a "break". finally i went with a hand-drawn birthday-themed image, that i wasn't in love with, so i decided to add lots of pattern and details. ...and now... ok, i still don't like it, but that's fine, ICAD is about *process* so it's good to have a few clunkers which take us out of our comfort zone!

017: wabi sabi
there's always at least one ICAD prompt that i have to look up. one year it was the ogee pattern; another was payne's grey. this time it was wabi sabi, which is the japanese aesthetic that reveres beauty which is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" and especially celebrates nature, patina, and a sort of rustic vibe. so i went with vines on a brick wall, which i sort of like the look of, but i reallllllllllllly liked the hypnotic feeling of drawing and painting. so i'm callin' this one a win! :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SOS 206: out on a limb

this week at shopping our stash we want to see all things arboreal: trees, forests, branches, foliage... you name it... if it's tree-related, it's fair game! i made a scene again this week; what can i say, i think i'm going through a phase, lol:

patterned paper scraps: k and co, fancy pants, prima, sassafras, 7 gypsies + some old dictionary paper; tiny florals: prima; white foam thickers: american crafts, courtesy of miss leslie, ta v much!; teeny tiny stick-on pearls: recollections; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; outlining pen: faber-castell pitt in xs; cloud punches: ek success; "french pastry" doily die: cheery lynn designs; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

lots of paper scraps in use here, which always makes me happy. the tree is composed of an paper-old piecing pattern-- which i've used before-- for the trunk, and two different sized cloud punches to be the foliage. i really like how this looks, so i'm sure you'll be seeing it again! another new twist is using my favorite cheery lynn designs doily die as the sunshine... i cannot believe that never occurred to me before now!

want to see more cool tree-centric paper projects? look no further than the lovely ladies at SOS who have all outdone themselves again this week! ♥

Monday, June 15, 2015

ICAD uber-post!

for the 2015 index card a day project, i've actually been posting my cards every single morning... via iphone + instagram, which is seriously the most convenient thing ever. on the other hand, it's meant that i've done worse than ever in terms of blogging the cards and putting them into my flickr album, so here's a huge catch up post for both of those! one of the coolest ICAD-related things this year has been having some fellow participants right here in my house to make cards together!!! my lovely blogging friends june and tracy were here for several days last week, which was utterly awesome, obviously! then on sunday, jeff and i hosted our annual big summer brunch, for which i set up my extra-long "art camp" table so that niece madeline and nephew matthew could work on some cards, too. luckily it *IS* an extra-long, extra-sturdy table, because as it turns out many of the grown-ups wanted to sit down for a bit, as well, and paint or doodle or color or... well, just generally get a little bit artsy! so if you want my suggestion for the best party ever: add an art station along with the buffet and the bar and then get out of the way, lol! :)

006: taxi
yes, this one is out of order, which i've done quite shamelessly, so my favorite card (so far!) can be on top. this is also by far the most detailed drawing/coloring i've done,.. there are A LOT of tiny windows. (a lot!) :)

003: map
who's to say a map has to be of a town or a city or a country? how about a map of your bedroom or the setting of your favorite book or maybe... of the side garden in which you've spent the last four weekends digging, planting, weeding and mulching?!

004: mailbox
the best thing that happens in any mailbox is HAPPY MAIL, am i right? yeah. 'nuff said!

005: owl
a sort of doodly, patterny version of an owl. doesn't quiiiiiiiiiiiite look like the picture that was in my head but definitely fun to draw and color!

007: periodic table
this one really stumped me, until i thought of using design elements instead of the chemical kind. specifcally, categorizing different types of patterns. ok, yeah, it's kind of weird. which is probably why i like it.

008: grapefruit and cherry
for this week's prompts, tammy chose a bunch of combinations which can represent foods or colors or just spark you off into some completely different direction. i went with a literal grapefruit and cherry, mostly just because i thought i could draw them! :)

009: carrot and lemon
yes, the prompt was carrot and LEMON, not lime. no, i didn't realize that when i was drawing my adorable kawaii food friends, obviously. but no big deal, i just swapped the lemon to a different day. citrus fruit is pretty easy going, it must be all that vitamin c!

010: eggplant and ginger
this time i just took the colors and played with layers and shadows, an experiment i curtailed a bit early when i realized that multiple coats of watercolor were pilling my paper surface. note to self: index cards are not all that resilliant. duh, lauren.

011: mango and lime
a bit of hand lettering, with a couple of letters swapped out for fruits. my favorite part is the coloration on the mango letters.

012: kiwi and parsnip
well, kiwi, anyway; the parsnips kind of stomped off in protest when they realized the kiwis were turning into stylized flowers and taking over the whole card. ah well, these things happen.

013: blueberry and plum
again, i've taken the colors, and added in a suggestion of the fruits' shapes with a very loose mandala composed mostly of circles and ovals.

014: salt and pepper
a cartoon idea that's been in my head for a bit, i thought it'd look good in black and white.

and thus my delightful mega-ICAD catch-up post is done... for now, anyway, darlings! :) :) :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

claus and effect

we're still celebrating santa OR making holiday shaker cards at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ with our lovely friend marianne's theme, "shake it, santa baby". won't you join us? this week, i focused on the man in the red suit:

i used the current sketch from fusion card challenge; though not the nautically nice theme, obviously:

need a little more xmas inspiration? check out marianne's and stephanie's cards, not to mention the shake it, santa baby reader's gallery at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

oh deer

this week at shopping our stash we're at code red for a cute critter alert! by which we mean: we want to see projects which feature... well... a cute critter. ok, i guess this one was actually pretty self explanatory! for my card, i chose an old favorite i haven't used for a bit, the cute little fawn i first found in the paper-piecing pages of scrapbooks, etc, many moons ago. and wouldja believe that even though that magazine ceased publication years ago, their extensive paper-piecing archive including this sweet little guy are still available for free?! check it out!

paper pieced deer pattern from BHG scrapbooks etc archive; piece of real birch bark that was laying on my lawn after a big rainstorm last week... can't imagine whence it came b/c i don't think anyone anywhere in our neighborhood even has a birch tree, but i was pretty psyched to find it; patterned paper: basoc grey, glitz design, k and co + a bit of index from an old atlas; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; self-stick felt fern: prima; leafy ribbon: may arts; cloud punches: ek success; butterfly punch: martha stewart; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foamtape, sewing machine 

do you see the cool mat that looks like birch bark? well, IT IS birch bark!!! would you believe i found it laying on my lawn last week after a huge rainstorm we had? true story. so of course i had to use it, asap. i've used the faux polaroid idea about a gazzillion times before, and i'm willing to predict i'll eventually use it a gazzillion times more... because it always seems like such a good way to turn a bunch of little elements into a scene.

want to see additional uber-cute critters? there are many awaiting you at shopping our stash right now!!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

shake it, santa baby!

this week's awesome ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ title and idea comes from our lovely fellow belle marianne who came up with "shake it, santa baby" while she was in the shower!* can you guess the brief? you actually get a choice for this one: you can make a shaker card OR make a card that features santa OR... both... which is what i did:

two recycled xmas cards and a piece of (unprinted) inkjet transparency from my stash; red cardstock: core'dinations; tiny clear microbeads made especially for shaker cards that have the price tag from a LSS that closed at least 8 years ago, but somehow do not have a manufacturer's name on them??; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine
apparently the overall theme of my week is "CHEATING" lol. i put it down to the fact that engineering is not my strong suit, so i'm always looking for a way to minimize that aspect of design. in the case of shaker cards, it means that whereas i love the look of a fancy multi-paned window, the thought of cutting one out with a craft knife does not particularly appeal. sooooooooo... i took a pre-existing diecut window from a pretty store-bought card i was sent over the holidays... and i layered it over a pretty snowscape featuring santa and his reindeer from another pretty store-bought card i got last christmas. here's a shot of the two original cards, just so you can see what bits are which:

i used a piece of clear acrylic behind the cut out, foam tape around the window opening to raise the top layer high enough to accommodate the little clear microbeads which fill the shaker, and i machine stitched around the perimeter just to hold things together with extra security. in the closeup i think you can very nearly almost see how the little beads and the glitter on the background layer give the whole thing a really festive and magical shimmer. ok, no, you really can't see that, but trust me, irl it's cool, k?

and now why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ where you can see marianne's and stephanie's gorgeous cards and start planning your own! ♥

*i ~LOVE~ that story b/c i'm always having all my best ideas in the shower, too!!! :)