Friday, July 31, 2015

cookies 4 santa? now??!

ok, yes, we're moving in to august (!!!) which seems like a funny time to post a picture of holiday sweets; but is actually the PERFECT time to come and get a jump on your holiday card production with us at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! this fortnight we're making cards based on any aspect of this gorgeous photo that inspires you, whether it's the colors, the shapes, the idea of leaving a note and cookies for the man in red... in short, you can use as many (or as few) elements as you find inspiring!

i had been worried i wouldn't have enough relevant stash items to be able to construct anything interesting, but as it turned out, when i really started looking, i almost had too many cool things-- not that i'm complaining, lol! in the end, i focused on the colors and the cookies; added in a couple of ancillary ideas from the picture (white woodgrain and snowflakes); and mixed in a few "extras" (trees, a santa hat) to flesh out my little cluster of elements:

patterned paper: glitz design, october afternoon; stickersand diecuts: pebbles, doodlebug; journal card: crate paper;
santa hat: jolees; acrylic snowflake: heidi swapp; brad: october afternoon; cardstock: core'dinations; adhesives:
elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

the lovely stephanie has taken a completely different-- but very appealing-- approach... why not spend a few moments drooling over that at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ right now, darlings?!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

diamonds *ARE* a girl's best friend

especially on greeting cards, am i right???!!? ok, yeah, i suppose some might argue that diamond jewelry is even better, but it's hard to see how that would add up to an awesome and inspiring challenge for shopping our stash. so instead let's think about the kind of bling that looks good on a card or scrapbook page or... well, whatever papercrafting project you feel like making this week, k?! i made a card. quelle surprise, eh?

vintage dictionary page; stencils: folk art and deco art, both from the decor section at michaels; stamps: crafter's companion, psx, tim holtz/ranger, glitz design, hero arts; florals: recollections, prima, petaloo; black rhinestone flourish: want to scrap; giant rhinestone with a lady's face on it: glitz design; inks: ranger, colorbox, stewart superior; gesso: liquitex; white fine point paint pen: sharpie; black glossy cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, gluedots, sewing machine

ok, so, i know my flourishes kind of look like black pearls, rather than black bling, but they are gems, honestly. by the way, it wasn't until i was writing this up that i noticed i have a second set of "diamonds" on this card, having used a fabulous harlequin patterned stencil from the decor section of my favorite big box craft store. i'm kind of pleased with the serendipity of that! :)

for the colors and vibe of my card i've used my lovely blogging friend becca cruger's birthday bash mood board, which is fairly awesome. you should definitely jump over to her gorgeous blog and check out the details of this challenge because she's made some amazing cards for this. oh yeah and did i mention there are some pretty ♥FAB♥ prizes up for grabs?! ;)

you can see that i've used the colors of that cool pillow, the chippy-peely-distressed looking goodness of the painted wood, and the typography of of the sign... ok, in my case the last part is rather subtle in that it's expressed as text paper which is waaaaaaaay in the back under all the layers of ink and gesso and stamping and stitching, but it's there, i promise. here's a totally gratuitous closeup pic, just because for once, i actually took time to create a background from the ground up and i'm inordinately (some might say obnoxiously, lol) proud of that fact. and before you ask, yes, i machine stitched around each individual segment of the oversized quatrefoil stencil pattern; and YES, i am insane... thank you for noticing! :)

and now why not hop over to SOS, where my design team sisters-- who are diamonds, themselves, actually! --have made some utterly awesome bling-encrusted projects for your delight! ♥

Sunday, July 26, 2015

konichiwa, icad week 8

i can't believe we're moving into the last week of icad2015 already... where the heck has the summer gone, eh?! meanwhile, here are my cards from last week:

050: kimono
i don't draw people, so this one was a bit of a stumper until i remembered the little amigurumi kokeshi doll i crocheted a few years ago, and realized i could do a kind of kawaii version. so i did! :)

051: garden
i love all botanical gardens, and i especially love the new york botanical garden in the bronx. they have two huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge waterlily pools and i can never, ever, resist taking elebenty million pics, of which the one below is an example as well as the inspiration for this day's icad.

052: symmetry
symmetry in drawing is not my favorite thing for the same reason CAS cards are not my favorite to make; in short: it's HARRRRRRRRRRD, people! but i had a go anyway.

053: raindrops
this is wet-into-wet watercolor blending of pencil-outlined raindrops from a julie balzer stencil. jeff made me promise not to outline it in pen at the end, but the subtlety of the colors just doesn't show up in pics very well. irl, i really love this one, though.

054: envelope
i've been very happy with my decision to make this year's icad 100% drawing and doodling, but i'd be lying if i said i wasn't starting to really miss collage. so i drew a collage for this one!!! :)

055: france
trying my hand at some tiny icons, which were incredibly fun to think up and to draw. and yes, before you ask, france is TOTALLY full of gigantic, cross-eyed, beret-wearing cats. totally.

Friday, July 24, 2015

what ho? seriously?!

ok, the coolest thing about older "found" items is they are unique and wonderful; but sometimes, that means they really show that they're most definitely of a different time. like this vintage postcard that i scanned and used as the centerpiece of my second ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ "old fashioned xmas" card:

vintage postcard (scanned and printed on hp semi-gloss photo paper) sheet music and doily from my stash; patterned paper: pink paislee + the paper co; cardstock: core'dinations; florals: prima; brad: oriental trading; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

ok, so, yeah: i'm pretty sure i've never made a card which contained the phrase, "what ho!" as part of the sentiment. very sure, actually; and have no plans to change that policy in future. but just look at the font, and the way the sentiment is set off in its own little rectangle, then there's the beautiful snowscape, the fun skier, the muted impressionist background of the mountains... well, the whole package, really. i thought it'd be hard to pair with papers and things, so i planned to just mount it on some vintage sheet music and maybe a solid mat, but about 10 seconds into my search i found the admittedly elderly scrap of plaid pink paisley paper that literally had all the same shades. woohoo. or what ho, even, lol! :)

i used sweet sunday sketch #278 to guide my layout, because, well, it's totally awesome as you can see:

just in case you need one more look at that sentiment, here you go, in a closeup:

and now i absolutely guarantee you want to hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's card and remind yourself there's a prize on offer to someone who links an "old fashioned christmas" card with us this fortnight! ♥

Thursday, July 23, 2015

pass the (ICAD) ketchup, please!

this last group of cards brings us current to sunday 7-19. meanwhile, i'm still making the cards each evening and usually putting them on instagram before i go to sleep. there's been a really good hardcore group of ICAD participants on IG this year, and it's fun to interact with them and see what they're making!

043: definition
drawing tip of the day: choose the thing you feel like drawing, then figure out how to make it fit the prompt!!! :)

044: focus or blur
see drawing tip above, then imagine my joy when i realized i could pretty much render anything i wanted, just by sticking it inside a pair of sunglasses. hot pink, bling-encrusted ones, obviously!

045: saturday night live
you could argue that i went way overboard with details and flourishes and colors bright enough to singe your retinas. but if you remember the first couple of years of snl, you'd then have to argue that all those things really capture what it was like!

046: album cover
i went with a really stylized version of disraeli gears mostly because of the imagery and colors involved, though actually, i like cream, generally, and this album in particular. (but really... hot pink wings and flourishes!!!)

047: fashion
decided to try my hand at some vintage sewing-pattern-style clothing illustrations. can i just say, this is soooooooooooo much harder than it looks? to anyone who routinely draws clothes, and enjoys it, i doff my (unpictured) chapeau!

048: disco
apologies for what has turned out to be the most persistent earworm of all time: the talking heads' "life during wartime" a song i totally loved until i drew the lyrics for an icad and got it stuck in my head for elebenty consecutive days. :0

049: black and white
i had a hard time narrowing down which of the gazillion ideas i had, so i just used all of them. problem solved! ♥

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

fun and games

this week of (100% optional) ICAD prompts (week 6: july 6-12th) were all related to different games, and i enjoyed coming up with ideas to go with each... some more literal than others!

036: backgammon
obviously a super-stylized take, but seriously, if i ever saw a backgammon set like this in a store, i'd buy it *instantly*!

037: chess or checkers
totally psyched that i was able to produce chess pieces which are somewhat dimensional looking, since shading is by far my worst thing! (but the less said about the background, the better, lol!)

038: mah jongg
i actually thought, going in, that this'd be a slam dunk. for one thing, i happen to own an utterly lovely vintage mah jongg set from which to draw the pieces, which are only dimensional squares and rectangles, for pete's sake! no idea why i flubbed it so badly, but the great thing about doing a 61 day project is that it's only one day; and somehow the ones that don't work out make the ones that *DO* work out seem even better! :)

039: monopoly or bingo
can you say, "comfort zone", lol?! having so thoroughly dis-enjoyed dimensional rendering of mah jongg pieces, i went with realllllllllly flat, doodley, mandala shapes inside the vague suggestion of a monopoly board.

040: yahtzee
again a sort of knock-on effect from mah jongg is going on, this time in the form of my asking myself, "seriously... who can't draw DICE??!" and then sort of sidestepping the dimensionality issue by drawing a dice-based patterned paper.

041: bridge or gin rummy
i traced around a real playing card with a pencil to get the outlines of mine to all be straight and the same size, then drew and painted my suits. and for the record, yes, they're all aces because that's a really good hand... AND... because it's easier and more fun to draw than four eights. 

042: scrabble
again, i've "cheated"-- if we want to call it that --by using a ruler to measure and mark the sections of the scrabble board, before doing the tiles and lettering by hand. i've also fudged a bit with regard to colored squares, to make a prettier pattern, with more pink in it. so there!!! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

don't get stressed, get DE-stressed

this week at shopping our stash we've got a fun one that's a little bit of a different take on the creative process, so why don't i let our fearless leader, leslie, essplain:

Okay, this rang a bell with me. My pal Sandy Allnock made a fun video for OWH for April Fool's Day. It took the Ranger Distress Inks, gave them new names, and she threw in lots of beach themes. So the idea behind this challenge is really to make a card based on someothing that helps you to re-laaaaaax. Could be beach, barkalounger, hot tub, field of flowers, whatever helps you relax.

so as soon as you say "relax", the first thing i always think of is hawaii, which is by far the most beautiful and stress-free place i've ever been. and as you know, it doesn't take much to make me want to head off on an "aloha" theme, so that's what i did:

(mostly scraps of) patterned paper: k and co, melissa frances, scenic route, my mind's eye, doodlebug, prima, fancy pants, sweetwater; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; stickers: creative imaginations, sandylion; deco tape and ancient acrylic letters used as a template to spell "aloha": heidi swapp; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

there are a lot of ways to go with a hawaiian theme, and i've often taken it rather flowery and feminine, but this time i wanted to make a birthday card for my brother-in-law, john, who likes hawaii almost as much as jeff and i do. so i tried to make it a little more masculine with a surfboard, a neutral background and a cool tiki guy. ok, yeah, there's some pink and a few flowers, but those are pretty much EVERYWHERE in our 50th state, so i think it's ok. for the record, my favorite part is the lei sticker which i snipped apart, fasted around the center of the last "A", and re-attached so it was dangly. my reward was that when i showed this card to jeff, it was the first thing he noticed! 

hop on over to SOS to see many other lovely DE-stressful cards made by our DE-lightful DE-sign team! :) :) :)

Monday, July 20, 2015


*how* can i have managed to not post ICAD cards again for like two and a half weeks??! probably because i've been too busy making them, i guess. i really am having a blast this year! i know i say that every year, but it's always true, and this year it feels especially valuable to be drawing every day. since there are so many, i think i'll break them into a few posts and spread them out over the week. hopefully this will also make my poor neglected blog feel a little less unloved, too, lol. ♥

032: the weather
a few days before this week's prompt list came out, i fell in love with a sweet little illustration on instagram by my fellow ICAD-er, kristin dudish, which leapt to mind when i read, "the weather". i put my own laureny spin on the idea, o'course... :)

033: mad men or i love lucy
i hesitate to tell anyone that i don't particularly like either of these shows, especially "i love lucy", because such news often freaks people out. but one of the things i love about using the (optional!) icad prompts is trying to think of what i could draw or doodle that would illustrate the idea. mad men is set in 1960's manhattan... hmmmmmmm... 

034: flag or independence day
on this night we had seen, from the comfort of our deck, the utterly awesome fourth of july fireworks display the local country club puts on each year, less than a mile away from our house. so it wasn't very hard to think up what to draw, lol!

035: portrait
ok this one stumped me a bit because although i knew right away i wanted to draw a fancy frame, i couldn't for the life of me think what to put in it. i don't really draw representationally... especially not in 3D... especially not people! on the other hand i loooooooooove kawaii food! and who says a portrait has to be realistic OR of people, anyway??! i rest my case. (ps: the downside to working in the bound book of index cards this year is that sometimes the day before bleeds thru or the day after isn't quiiiiiite dry when i close the book. so please to excuse the smudgies that occasionally appear, as they do on this page.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

more bells?

ok, yes, you could be forgiven for thinking that we'd extended the last ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ theme (which was to use silver and/or bells) for another week, but actually, it's just a sort of coincidence that sheet music for the song "jingle bells" was what i wanted to use for the new theme. so what *is* the new theme, you ask? it's called "an old fashioned christmas" and involves using vintage or retro ingredients... whether they are actually old, or just one of the many lovely "vintage style" items that are out on the market. or you can split the difference and print out a digital scan of an actual vintage item. which is what i did here:

vintage bits from my stash: digitally re-sized scan of old sheet music, scrap of vintage lace, retro button; new bits: pebbles snowflake paper, core'dinations cardstock, we r memory keepers florals, prima leaf, memory box bell die cut from best creation glitter paper, ek success xl snowflake punch cut from a scrap of basic grey patterned paper; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, low temp hot glue gun, sewing machine
i fell in love with this charmingly illustrated copy of "jingle bells" when i saw it in an old falling-apart children's music book at the last library booksale i went to. the only impediment to using it on a card was that at 8x12" it was a little big... even for me, lol! so i scanned it in at full-size, but printed it out as if it was a 5x7 photo. i also made sure to uncheck the "fit picture to frame" thingie in the printer dialog box so that the computer wouldn't try to stretch it to fit the full 5x7" space. i printed this on regular matte cardstock so that it would have a similar look to the original. here's a shot showing the actual music with my finished card:

i hope you'll jump over to to see stephanie's lovely card and also to link up your own "old fashioned" creation. need a little extra incentive? did i mention there's a prize this time?! and you never know... it miiiiiiiiight just be some vintage xmas goodies from my very own etsy shop, just enough stuff. but you'll have to head over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to know for sure!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

sos-paper piecing

this week at shopping our stash we'd like to see your very best paper piecing creations... sound like fun? yep, i thought so too!

patterned paper: american crafts, prima, love elsie, crate paper, glitz design;
bird stamp: dina wakley/ranger; alphabet stamps: autumn leaves;
alphabet stickers: my mind's eye; cloud punches: ek success;
glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape  

i started out with the intention of piecing the bird and using stickers for "happy" but when i was fetching my beloved dina wakley bird stamps i stumbled upon a very old set of american crafts alphabet stamps and suddenly thought that they might be kind of cool stamped onto a coordinating pattern... a decision i stand by, actually! though for that matter, the bird doesn't look to bad, either, imo.

why not check out the other gorgeous dt cards at sos? as always, it's most definitely worth the trip! :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

thank you, becca cruger! ♥

i've been ♥LOVING♥ the "featured friday" segment on my lovely blogging friend becca cruger's blog, the damsel of distressed, so imagine how honored i was when asked if i'd like to be the featuree for july? of course it took nearly a whole nanosecond of deliberation before i said, "YES, please!" lol. one of my favorite things about the feature is that, in addition to asking crafting-related questions and showing some fun projects, becca chooses a previously-published card, and both she and the featuree do a brand new version of it. in my case, the card in question is one of my all-time faves, a maud-vantours-inspired collection of folded paper scraps that i made last november. i've revisited this idea in several different ways since then, including a tall-card version with a tutorial on the process, an all-neutral take in my art journal and an A2-sized card that was part of a "scraptastic" card class i taught at paper anthology. and yet... i still have LOTS of ideas to try! so i've made two new versions this week: 

scraps of papaya art giftwrap in the "asian peony" pattern; vintage seambinding from my stash

version one uses only one patterned paper, which as you know, is practically unheard of in the laurniverse!!! :) but what a pattern it is! even the scraps of this ethereally lovely papaya art giftwrap are too pretty to throw away, so i've been looking for something cool to do with them. et voila! rather than cover the whole center of the card, i made an asymmetrical cascade, then trimmed the excess backing panel away before affixing it to my folded card. instead of a sentiment flag i wrapped a little bit of shimmery vintage seam binding around the top and called it done.

version two has got my usual gazillion patterns, randomly combined; but in this case, they are all bits of vintage map. where's the photo, you ask? over at the damsel of distressed, of course, where you can also check out becca's awesome take on this idea. actually, you will probably want to check out ALL of becca's beautiful work, which may take some time, so i will bid you a fond adieu for now, darlings! ♥

christmas, with bells on!

we're still celebrating "silver bells" at JINGLE BELLES again this week, by making holiday cards that feature silver... or bells... or both! this week i've gone with just the bells:

vintage sheet music from my stash; patterned paper: basic grey; transparency: hambly;
journal card: jenni bowlin; florals: k and co, petaloo, recollections; leaves: prima;
sentiment sticker: crate paper; kraft cardstock: bazzill; ink: colorbox;
adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i used the latest sketch at cardabilities (#126) for my layout:

why not jump over to JINGLE BELLES to see stephanie's gorgeous card and link up one of your very own?!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

viva las vegas!

last week you saw the cover of the vegas-themed book i made for my friend barb's birthday, but somehow i never got back here with pics of the insides. wanna see them now? cool! but first, here's the cover again... this time it's actually attached to the pages, lol!

i wanted to do something that had lots of vegas-based "content"... but still had plenty of room for pictures and souvenirs from barb's 60th birthday celebration.

my #1 strategy for including vintage paper-- which can be thin and/or fragile-- in projects is to back it with modern-day patterned paper. i use my 9" xyron machine to apply dry adhesive to the patterned paper (NOT the vintage paper... trust me... that'll just peel a layer off!) then i carefully lay the vintage paper on top and smooth it down. this makes a sort of "super page" that is vintage on one side, modern on the other, and most importantly: strong enough to be bound into a book or made into... well, anything you'd use patterned paper for!

i should probably add that i start out with both elements (the vintage and new) being slightly larger than i'd like my finished "super page" to be. i've found you get the neatest-looking results if you trim to size after they've been fused together. also, it avoids the slightly sticky edge you sometimes get from the xyron machine.

throughout the book i varied whether the "vintage" bit was on the right or left; i also included some "extra" pages composed of double-sided, cardstock-weight patterned paper.

for my cover structure i used a pair of zutter's 9" clear acrylic panels. i thought that'd make for a nice big book that could accommodate standard 4x6" photos in either direction, so that you could still see the fun pages underneath. i had "vegasy" stuff from a number sources, and found it easy to make everything 9" tall... but not everything was 9" wide. rather than leave out quite a few things i really liked, i decided it' be fun to have some pages be wider than others, so you get a neat layery effect. it took a bit longer to arrange everything so it coordinated, but i feel like it was TOTALLY worth it!

i wanted to include lots of space for journaling, but let's face it, that prospect can be intimidating, especially to non-papercrafters! since barbara happens to be a librarian, i thought it'd be fun to use library pockets. the problem was that i only have a few vintage ones... and the manufactured ones i had didn't really match the book. so i c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y disassembled one and used it as a template on double-sided papers, so each one would be two-toned AND still coordinate with the design. the cards are from a packet of multi-colored repro-but-cool ones that i got on etsy.

i debated quite a bit over whether to attach photo mats and/or embellishments to the blank pages. on the one hand, it'd give barb a clear cue of where to attach her pics... but it'd also tie her in to *my* ideas of where they should go. in the end, i decided to add some fun transparencies that'd double as extra pages and another layer of color and texture; plus i added in some strips of washi tape throughout the book. another advantage is that this makes for nice flat pages! i did put this fun washi banner towards the back, though... a girl's gotta have some fun, right?

i'm really happy with how this came out, and i can't wait to see it again when it's full of birthday party goodness! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

gingham style

possibly my all-time favorite challenge title at shopping our stash, this week; and not just because i still secretly sort of love psy's gangnam style video, lol. for "gingham style" you don't necessarily have to use gingham as such, but we're definitely hoping to see checks, plaids, or a strong theme of squares in your project. as it happens, i did use actual gingham, but only because this particular yellow from crate paper is one of my all-time favorite patterns and it goes so well with so many other designs.

patterned paper: crate, prima, my mind's eye, fancy pants; sentiment sticker and brad: amy tangerine/american crafts; florals: prima + a very old sunflower with a fuzzy center from bouquet i got for .10c at a garage sale :) glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i used leslie's gorgeous crooked stamper sketch challenge #6 for my layout, though i have flipped it both horizontally and vertically, so i hope you can see the sketch in my card?

there are lots more SOS design team projects just loaded with "gingham style"... why not hop over and feast your eyes upon them right now? (you can thank me later, darlings!)