Tuesday, December 30, 2008

smashing orangey card*

it's been so long since i made a non-christmas card, i think i kind of forgot how to do it for a minute there. eventually it came back to me, though. see??!

(patterned paper: IOD; cardstock: core'dinations; journalling card: teresa collins; chipboard tag: rhonna farrer; gem flourish, florals & lace: prima; stick-on ribbon: amanda blu; epoxy stickers & decoupage butterflies: michaels; rub-on: american crafts; other: colorbox inks, foam tape)

actually, this was the second post-xmas card i made; the first is for the new CAARDVARKS challenge which starts on thursday. yeah, i know, usually the 'varks rock the 5th and the 20th ofthe month...but since we have a very special event, we chose a very special date: january 1, 2009! so c'mon back and check it out!!!

*does anyone else love jaffa cakes as much as i do??! YUM!

Monday, December 29, 2008

christmas 2008

consisted of:
too much food...
too many presents...
not enough photos...
and not enough time to enjoy it all.

(in other words, it was PERFECT!!!)

nieces riley & lindsay were our lovely hostesses

and so much the grown up ladies, one would never suspect that 3 minutes before the above photo was taken they were 2/3 of a giggle pile with their cousin jillian. (unless, of course, aunt lauren took a photo...which she did!)

when cousin maddie arrived she immediately donned a snow white costume (avec accessories, naturellement) from the dressing up rack. because let's face it, however beautiful one's christmas dress, it is EASILY trumped by a princess outfit!

young matthew, who had been poorly the week before actually slept through most of the festivities, but did enjoy some quality cuddle time with his aunt sandy

lest you think that such quiet moments are representative of our family's holidays, lemme just set you straight on that. really, it's more like THIS (by which i mean chaos theory...as enhanced by small sugar-filled children and lots and lots of stray bits of giftwrap!):

just in case the gap is blog-surfing, looking for its next set of all-singin' all-dancin' sweater models, here ya go:

here is probably my favorite pic from the night, mostly because it represents the holy grail of niecely photographs:
all three girls & their grandmother
facing the camera
**in focus**
complete with pleasant facial expressions

amazingly, not only did i remember to hand someone else the camera so they could snap jeff & i...but the one photo taken actually came out!!! (i'd like to figure out how to color correct it just a bit...we look very slightly as if we've contracted jaundice here; but hey--i'll take it!)

by the end of the night, i think we all felt a bit like this:

...which of course is the universal sign of a perfect christmas, come to an end.

hope that your day was equally merry and bright!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

pay no attention to the blurry lady

she's just gonna be my new avatar, i think. for a bit, anyway. i really like this photo niece lindsay took of me on christmas day. (after the discussion about not touching the lens...but before the discussion of how you have to hold the camera still) though she subsequently took some that were technically better, i sorta think she has captured my essence pretty well on this one: happy...but sort of in perpetual motion. yeah. that'd be me. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

papercrafting scientists prove existence of an "embellishment gene"


exhibit a: festive evergreen bag designed by niece madeline,
aged 4 1/2 (tree outline drawn by mommy)

my sister amie--who of course has seen me work--could not wait to tell the story of this giftbag: having discovered rather late that she did not have a christmas bag big enough to fit my present, she asked if maddie (dead keen to "help" in the wrapping process) would color in the large tree she drew on a plain white bag. please note this was the extent of motherly instruction. after the tree was colored, madeline decided that it needed lights, and remembered these diecut ones leftover from a nursery school project. and of course a lit tree without a star is just ridiculous, right?! later in the day, several hours after the bag had been...seemingly...finished, the artiste decided it really needed some ornaments, too (can you say "allergic to white space"?!???!) and at this point the sticker-adhering process (which apparently took quite some time) began. finally the angel tag was added and the piece was pronounced complete...but possibly only because the divine little miss m. has not yet heard of "rub-ons"?!!!!!!!!?

xmas round up... (avec adorable niece-based photos, naturellement) ...to follow tomorrow or monday!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas to all...

...and to all a good night!

UNLESS of course,
you've done *this* to a kitteh:

in which case, i'd recommend sleeping with one eye open...
...inna locked room...
...under an assumed name provided by witness protection.

to everyone else i wish
and the

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

...not a creature was stirring...

...not even a...

ok, possibly there were a few monstacards stirring, afterall. but don't tell the mice, ok? not to mention those flippin' hyperactive sugarplums...once they start, we'll never get rid of 'em!

(supplies used for all 3 cards: monstas cut from paperchase giftwrap; patterned paper: love elsie, scenic route, dcwv, ki, basic grey, anna griffin, paper co + sparkly giftwrap & vintage sheet music; cardstock: core'dinations; word strips & elves sticker: 7 gypsies; epoxy hearts: sandylion; other: dymo labels, colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape)

i hope that whatever is dancing in your head, it is lovely and pleasant and entirely stress-free!

therefore, may i be so bold as to wish
a very VERY happy christmas eve to all who are celebrating

a glorious 4th night of hanukkah, if that applies instead

perhaps just a particularly nice wednesday, if holidays are not your thing!

xoxoxo lauren

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

putting the MENTAL in "ornamental"

that'd be me. :)

still more artisan labels...fussy cut baubley bits (& a few diecuts)...a plethora of (potentially) pleasing patterns...so forth and so on...lots of pinks & greens with a little blue, too...inna song that goes something liiiiiiiiiiiike

(supplies for all 4 cards: ornaments & diecuts: k&co; patterned paper: love elsie, rhonna farrrer, basic grey, k&co, dcwv, prima, doodlebug; cardstock: core'dinations; vintage: sheet music, silver rickrack; glitter alphas: american crafts; xmas sticker: provocraft; other: colorbox inks, zig pen, michaels' ribbon [which IRL matches better than it looks here}, foam tape)

sorry, it seems i am running low on snappy holiday patter...do feel free to talk amongst yourselves!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

roundin' off the xmas cards

(patterned paper: basic grey, dcwv, love elsie +vintage sheet music; glitter snowflake stickers: martha stewart; snowflake rub-ons: american traditional designs; other: basic grey chipboard reindeer used as template, vintage gold metallic rickrack, colorbox inks, foam tape)

yes. MORE circles. which-uh huh--needed to be sent in special oversized envelopes. have i mentioned how lucky i am to be married to a man who never ever says things like, "how much will THESE cost to mail?!" or even, "do you seriously think you NEED more supplies??!?!?" for that matter.

yep, LHJ is the kind of guy who, when he sees you warming up to write out 50+ xmas cards, he'll go and get a tiny piece of wet sponge so he can seal your envelopes. (without being asked, i might add; he just does it!) and he'll affix all your stamps and mailing labels realllllllllly neatly, so they are parallel to the edge of the envelopes. even though he personally does not need such things to be lined up parallel to the edge of envelopes. and if it turns out some of your cards DO need to be mailed in bigger envies...or just that they seem slightly heavy...he will go & get the postage scale out and weigh
(just in case!)

and that, darlings, is just one teeny tiny reason he is known as
(tho as a matter of fact he IS rather handsome, also!)

(patterned paper: basic grey, makng memories + vintage sheet music & poinsettia picture; fancy tag & noel sticker: making memories; rub-ons: basic grey other: colorbox inks, foam tape)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

(i stole this from the muppets)

this card's sentiment, i mean. the character of animal (from the muppet show)

says it, in muppet family christmas...a favorite holiday special of mine which i discovered upon looking it up on amazon is sadly out of print. ah well. at least its spirit lives on in monstacard form! (the ultimate tribute, right?!)

(monsta cut from paperchase giftwrap; vintage items: sheet music, silver metallic rickrack, awesome slidemount (thanks, debb!); patterned paper: love elsie, dcwv, making memories, basic grey; cardstock: core'dinations; dimensional sticker: k&co; bling frame: heidi swapp; red fibers: basic grey; other: dymo labeller, colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ok, i'm flat-out cheating now

but desperate times call for desperate measures. last weekend i found a few leftover cards & envelopes from an old chatterbox greetings kit i used for thank you notes last year. and since i still had plenty of fussy-cut bits*...and embellishments...i decided to do stuff like this:

and these:

and this guy, here, who is my favorite of the batch:

(supplies used on all 4 cards: chatterbox cards with diecut windows; large poinsettias: imaginisce; small poinsettias & leaves: prima; cardstock and laminated diecuts: k&co; sparkly rub-ons & jewel brads: making memories; sentiment stickers: chatterbox, 7 gypsies; chipboard word: ek success; other: vintage sheet music & poinsettia pictures, colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape)

happy weekend-before-xmas, darlings!!!

*the hand-cutting phenom is not QUITE as nuts as you think: seeing as how it is torture for us hyperactive types to just sit, this is one of the things i do during long car rides. on the way to and from the movies** the other weekend i got through a whole sheet of little ornaments and an enough monstas to menace the entire xmas tree population of new jersey!

to answer amy's cutting question: i use regular old goodish, nice-n-sharp, only-used-on-paper, full-sized fiskars. (i am 5'10" with hands & feet to match...teeny scissors DO NOT help me!) the secret to cutting small things with big scissors is to A) move the PAPER, not the scissors ...and... B) use the *fulcrum* part of the scissors--the part waaaaay in towards the handles, rather than the ends of the blades. years and years and years of practice does not hurt either. although you may well get carpal tunnel. but that's another story, kids!

**(forty-five minutes each way) (...this is not the closest theater, but it's the one closest to a good indian restaurant...and if you don't think those two things are related, all i can say is you clearly DO NOT know lovely husband jeff!!!) :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

the second bird was detained...

...earlier this week, that is. onna mission for future former president bush...or something...i wasn't really paying attention. anyway. he's here now, though i am hoping that he and his brethren (&...ummmmm....sistren??) will ALL be at the post office later this morning.

i have to say that i am not thrilled with this card. i love the spot-laminated patterned paper...and the glitter mat i made from wrapping paper...and of course the feathery one himself is from some of my very very favorite basic grey xmas paper *EVER*...but the whole thing just doesn't quite gel. or possibly, at this point, i just have a serious case of christmas card fatigue. but it is still a handmade festive greeting, so BY JINGO it shall be sent off to greet someone, festively!!!!!!!!!!

(patterned paper: basic grey, k&co + red glitter giftwrap; cardstock: core'dinations; diecut sentiment: k&co; other: colorbox inks, foam tape)

i *think* i am finally done making xmas cards. however, as i have already (quite wrongly, it turns out) thought so once this week, i am trying not to tempt fate with hubristic overconfidence. but this time i am pretty sure. not to worry though: i still haven't posted them all, so there'll be festive blog-based cards galore, right up untill the big day! of course, you could always go and look at silly cats, instead; or MHTDC* for that matter! we must each celebrate the festive season in our own manner, dontcha think?

*my heart throb daniel craig...so named by miss june. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

don't worry miss kitty...

...even if cats COULD be tried for homicide, no jury in the world would convict you!!! :)

(this musical interlude brought to you by i can has cheezburger guaranteed to reduce your holiday stress by 117%...temporarily, at least!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a bird on the blog...

...is worth two in their envelopes on their way to the post office!


no...wait a second, i think that might be the other way around. (dang!) ah well, for this morning, all i've got is the bird on the blog, so we'll go with that, ok? he *IS* a rather handsome fellow, however:

(patterned paper: basic grey, k&co, love elsie, sei; cardstock stickers: 7 gypsies; flowers & leaves: prima; gems: kaiser; other: colorbox inks, foam tape)

in other news, the united states supreme court has entirely rejected my request for an injunction which would delay christmas to the more convenient time of mid-february, so i am cracking on with the (increasingly frenzied) card-production!!! (where the heck are those ELVES when one really *needs* them, eh?!)

happy wednesday darlings!

Monday, December 15, 2008

please no one explain *COOKIES* to them, ok?!

so i've been making sensible xmas cards all week...and i've even been semi-mass-producing (well...ish!) ...but the idea for this one literally WOKE ME UP as i was falling asleep the other night, and ever since it's just refused to leave me alone!

what's a girl supposed to do??!

(monsta cut from paperchase giftwrap; patterned paper: love elsie, flair designs, anna griffin, dcwv, doodlebug + vintage sheet music; cardstock: core'dinations; other: dymo labeller, colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape)

have a
happy *HAPPY* happy
monsta monday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

double header

you've probably noticed that i've finally stepped up xmas card production a bit...now i am making them TWO at a time...which is twice as fast as previously...but still about 1/10th as fast as i need to go! ah well. timely-ness is SO last year!!! (whereas the arrival of my holiday cards & prezzies may well be a bit NEXT YEAR...go, me!)

anyway, here are today's cards...more artisan labels...and some ornaments cut out of patterned paper...and...ummmmmmm...other stuff, some of which is shiny (shiny is GOOD!):

(patterned paper: k& co, dcwv, basic grey; cardstock: core'dinations; inks: colorbox; other: fiskars border punch, vintage metallic rickrack, foam tape, zig pen)

speaking of timely-ness...you'll have noticed that i am even worse than usual at blog-commenting...please bear with me...i miss everyone, i LOVE to come and see your creations, and i will catch up eventually. actually, on a scale of, say, geological time, i am hardly behind at all!!! when's the last time you saw a GLACIER, eh??! huh???!?!? yeah...that's what i thought... :)

(♥sorry, darlings!♥)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


i've been trying all week to get over to 2S4Y seeing as how it's my friend and fellow caardvark heidi van laar's turn to do the "bonus sketch"! she did a fabulous job, too--see?!

i finally got there last night. (nothing like the last minute, right?) i intended to do kazan's sketch AND the bonus...but somehow, at the end of the evening, i wound up with *two* heidis...and zero kazans. not sure how that happened, but i like 'em!

(patterned paper: basic grey; velvet paper: sei; cardstock: core'dinations; dimensional sticker: k&co; flowers: prima; brad: making memories; inks: colorbox)

(patterned paper: basic grey; velvet paper: sei; cardstock: core'dinations; flowers: imaginisce, prima; brad: making memories; inks: colorbox)

has anyone else noticed how there's less than two weeks left until christmas? no seriously...there's less than two weeks left until christmas!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

...not that i'm panicking or anything...


happy saturday, darlings!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

true love...

...you are here:

(and now you see how i got re-hooked on making circle cards again...they're kinda like popcorn...you can't stop at JUST ONE...or i can't, anyway!)

(patterned paper: basic grey, american crafts, love elsie + butterflies & flowers cut from giftwrap; lace cardstock: ki; velvet words & hearts: making memories; felt hearts: american crafts; gems: kaiser; other: colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape, typewriter & white correction sheet thingies)

this is a sort of engagement card for my lovely blogging friend the vicious chicken who recently became betrothed to her true love, the northern baking monkey! v.c. sent me the MOST AWESOME BOOK which came wrapped in some very very pretty pink-n-red-n-orange giftwrap, and of course i just had to glue some of its butterflies and flowers to cardstock and cut them out...because, you know, i don't really HAVE any decorative paper or diecuts of my own!!! :) this is yet another example of me almost totally obscuring my carefully chosen background paper (in this case american crafts' argyle hearts) by adding soooooooooo many embellishments... (coulda used plain brown, really, for how much of the print you see!) ...but other than that i am really pleased with how this turned out!

once again may i extend my congratulations to the lovely couple, along with my best wishes for a very long and blissfully happy life together!!!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

reindeer round-up

'member the round cards i made with those cool "ring" stickers? well, i was kind of bumming that i used up all the nice big ones...but then i realized i could make my own using one of these:

ok, i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren! why does a woman in her forties without school-aged children even *have* one of those?!" and i have to say i am wondering exactly the same thing. also, i have no idea whence it came. but for some reason i do have one, and it's great for making really nice rings of patterned paper...also...i no longer have to search my entire kitchen for a cup or bowl of the correct size when i want to draw a circle. HOORAY!

here's a card i made using said device of mysterious origins:

(patterned paper: basic grey, rhonna farrer, prima, vintage sheet music; snowflake stickers: martha stewart; rub-on sentiment & gems: mambi; flowers: prima; other: colorbox inks, decorative scissors, foam tape)

and here's another!

(patterned paper: love elsie, prima, vintage sheet music; blingy snowflake stickers: k& co; glitter letters: mambi; word strips: 7 gypsies; other: colorbox inks, fiskars border punch, zig pen, foam tape)

the reindeer are from a basic grey xmas chipboard pack...if y'all thought i was nuts to trace & cut artisan labels, you will be downright hysterical when i admit that there are certain chipboard shapes which i buy intending to just use but windup keeping as templates instead. this guy is one of 'em! i traced him once and then held a few patterned papers together and the above are two of the results. i suspect there will be a few more before the big day arrives!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was tagged by:
lovely blogging friend
(ta v much!)

Here are the rules...

Welcome to the 2008 edition of getting to know your friends! Try not to be lame and spoil the fun! If you get tagged, copy this entire survey and paste into your own blog, change all of the answers so that they apply to you. Then visit the profiles of some of your friends and "Tag" them by simply leaving a comment, asking them to visit your blog, and state that they have been Tagged! The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends that you might not have known! Some of you may get tagged several times, so they can always refer back to your blog for your answers.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:30...i hardly ever sleep later, even when i WANT TO!

2. Diamonds or pearls? both, totally!

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? quantum of solace (hubba, hubba!)

4.What is your favorite TV show? life (on nbc...the very best show that no one has heard of!) (i assume we mean "current" here)

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? either plain yogurt with fruit & granola or oatmeal with soymilk, dried cherries & golden raisins

6. What food do you dislike? beets! and ummmmm...herring! i'll pretty much try anything...but then i will be picky about having it be a nice version of whatever it is...and cooked properly...and so forth. (my mom calls us the food snobs and it's hard to argue!)

7. What is your favorite CD at the moment? i'm pretty much of an ipod junkie...but there are some xmas cd compilations i made which i am currently diggin' in the car!

8. Favorite sandwich? cubano...arguably the best of which can be found at the museum cafe in homosassa, florida!

9. What characteristic do you despise? lying

10. Favorite item of clothing? well-cut black tops...and jeans... (that's 90% of my wardrobe right there!)

11. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? OOF! everywhere??! ok, ok, choose one: paris!

12. Favorite brand of clothing? don't really have one...old navy has good jeans for talls...chico's has A LOT of black tops and jackets...i mostly catalog shop...

13. Where would you retire to? HA! tonight i shall retire to my bed...that's probably as good as it's gonna get!

14. What was your most recent memorable birthday? hmmm...we don't make a HUGE deal over birthdays...but the last few years jeff & i have both taken a day off on or around mine...and gone to a museum, had a nice meal, etc...that's what i like best!

15. Favorite sport to watch? the nieces, playing soccer in the backyard...with various levels of understanding as to what exactly constitutes *SOCCER* and whether those silly rule thingies actually mean anything!

16. Furthest place you are "tagging" this? the entire interwebs...so quite far, potentially!

17. Person you expect to send it back first? the pope is quite good at these...also dubya should have a bit o'free time these days...

18. Are you a morning person or a night person? night...i've spent my whole life trying to acclimate to a daytime schedule...

19. What is your shoe size? 10 (i'm nearly 6 foot tall, folks...if they were smaller, i'd be fallin' over even more than i do now!)

20. Pets? amusing and hypothetical

21. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? daniel craig is moving in!!! (they did say, "LIKE to share"!!!)

22. What did you want to be when you were little? big!!! :)

23. How are you today? FABulous, obviously, darling! and yourself?!

24. What is your favorite candy? chocolate...dark...not too sweet...

25. What is your favorite flower? ummm...they're all pretty nice, really...

26. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? jan 20th should be pretty nice! :)

27.What are you listening to right now? me, typing

28. What was the last thing you ate? i had some dried fruit last night after dinner

29. Do you wish on stars? daniel craig!!! :) (mmmmmmmmmm!)

30. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? black, so i could OUTLINE EVERYTHING!!!

31. How is the weather right now? grey...cold...meh...

32. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? nobody...yet

33. Favorite soft drink? love diet coke...loved diet cherry coke even more...till they RUINED it!!! (& cherry coke zero is an abomination, imo; don't get me started!)

34. Favorite restaurant? oof! too many to choose! bocaccio in baltimore is pretty amazing. the restaurant at MOMA in nyc is beyond awesome...with prices to match! there's a falafel place near work that is starting to know what i'm gonna order... :)

35. Real hair color? oh right, like i can remember THAT far back! (darkish brown, i think)

36. What was your favorite toy as a child? art supplies...same as now!

37. Hugs or kisses? BOTH!!!

38. Chocolate or Vanilla? probably chocolate, 'cept for ice cream

39. Coffee or tea? coffee!

40. Do you want your friends to email you back? sure!

41. When was the last time you cried? election day!!! (and quite misty for several days after...in a good way...)

42. What is under your bed? those rubbermaid thingies for storing stuff under beds...with extra blankets & so forth... (probably surrounded by a world-beating collection of dust bunnies; i should clean under there!)

43. What did you do last night? chiropractor/saladworks takeout/ncis (tuesday night excitement, folks!)

44. What are you afraid of? how long do you have??! something happening to jeff is probably the biggie, though!

45. Salty or sweet? depends on the time of the month...but mostly sweet!

46. How many keys on your key ring? which one?? i have three: work, car, home...they all have multiple keys

47. Favorite day of the week? friday's nice...friday night...with the whole weekend ahead of ya...

48. If you can choose your talent, what would it be? oh this is so easy: i'd be able to DRAW!!!!!

49. Do you make friends easily? pretty much, yeah, i am lucky that way!

50. How many people will you tag this to? the entire interwebs!!!

51. How many will respond? the entire interwebs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

no, seriously, this was REALLLLLY fun, so i urge anyone with the time & inclination to have a go!

thanks, amy!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

more fun with artisan labels!

some days a gal is just brimmin' with snappy blogpost titles...and some days not...clearly, today was a "NOT"! (sorry about that!) i do have a couple of moderately nice xmas cards to show ya, though. 'member hanneke's sketch from last week...that i said i thought i would use again? uh-huh: i was right!

(patterned paper: love elsie + red glitter gift wrap; cardstock: core'dinations; dimensional stickers: k&co; word stickers: 7 gypsies, ribbon: michaels; other: colorbox inks, zig pen)

(patterned paper: love elsie, basic grey; cardstock: core'dinations; cardstock diecuts: k&co; velvet scallop ribbon: american crafts + vintage teeny rickrack from the lovely debb; other: colorbox inks, zig pen, foam tape)

somebody (possibly june?) asked me how i (a non-diecutter-owner) do my nested artisan labels. the answer is that i trace a k&co label tag onto some patterned paper or cardstock (usually i hold several pieces together to get a few done from one cutting) and then i glue my cut label to the next layer and cut that one about 1/8" around the first. generally i just do that by eye--i am a decently even cutter, and also nothing i make is ever going to be so precise that it will matter if it's a teeny bit wonky--plus you know inked edges and charmingly not-quite-even outlining compensate for a multitude of sins!

happy tuesday, darlings!

Monday, December 8, 2008

we've been!

to quantum of solace, i mean.

LHJ and i blew off everything big & small* we were meant to accomplish yesterday in favor of seeing a movie and scarfing up indian buffet. and you know what? it was SUCH a good call: sometimes even a really really busy girl just needs to spend quality time with her husband, her cinematic heart-throb, and some samosas, ok??!

you don't have to run, honey...i'll wait! :)

i know the film has gotten quite mixed reviews, but having seen it, i'm not totally sure why. it's got something for pretty much everyone: car chases, boat chases, foot chases, motorcycle chases, airplane chases...at least 25 gloriously exotic locations...characters that cross and double-cross and even triple-cross each other...and lotsa stuff blows up reaaalllllllllll gooooooooood! :) ok, so it's more actiony than the traditional bond film; and there's not a lot of witty banter or romance. but when you realize that it picks up 30 minutes after casino royale left off, and is basically the story of bond trying to find the baddies what killed his girlfriend...well it'd be kinda weird if it *was* a traditional old-school 007 adventure. jeff & i liked it. a lot. and not just because it stars a certain someone i'd pay $9.50 to watch reading the phone book... (which yeah, i totally would!) ...i was a bond fan long before daniel craig came along and i have to say i like the way they are updating the franchise without (to *me* anyway; i know there are those who disagree) ...sacrificing the things that made it popular in the first place. roll on bond 23!!!!!!!!!

*i am considering converting to the eastern orthodox church in order to snag that extra two weeks of card-making...if your holiday greeting arrives on january 6th...you'll know what happened! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

core'dinations, part 2

so yesterday i was talking about how many cool shades and color combinations were in the rather gorgeous, super-huge assortments of paper we caardvarks received from the lovely folks at core'dinations*. did i mention that the prize for the current challenge is a totally craveable core'dinations prize pack??! kinda makes you wanna make a card for the flickr gallery, doesn't it??! ;)

we're concentrating on cardstock...but technically the challenge is just to make a new card without any patterned paper. for example, you could make something like this:

"beyond b-leaf"
there are certain motifs i go back to again & again; particularly when i am feeling out of my depth. cupcakes are one. birds are another.
(tho i've been monsta-based of late, i still love my little feathered friends!)
i'd call this a "patterned paper step-down card": i used a mcgill leaf punch on a whollllllllllllle lotta scraps of green from the 12x12 and 4x6 super assortments and then stamped them in dark brown ranger distress ink with a stampendous stamp called "swirl motif". i colored a maya road chipboard tree with a sharpie and gave it some interest with a stampendous wood grain stamp. i traced a small maya road chipboard bird & wing onto scraps of blue which i stamped with a sassafras swirl. the background is constructed using sheets of vintage collection which i outlined with a zig marker and inked the edges with a few colorbox shades. cardbase is a piece of williamsburg blue from the large super assortment.

and now let's talk texture! because the realllllllllly cool thing about core'dinations is that the inside isn't white...it's a coordinating color to what's on the surface! so if you tear it, sand it, distress it or antique it, suddenly you have TWO shades for the price of one. niiiiiiiice, no??! the other caardvarks did some FABBBBBBBBULOUS stuff using cuttlebug embossing folders... (it's the EF's which are gonna eventually land me at michaels, droolin' in the c-bug aisle!) ...i used our old friend the scor-it board to make a few versions of plaid...and then played around with some other ideas. basically, there's not much you can't do to this stuff...it'll NEVER fall apart...and it'll always look great!

"new mary janes"
you may've already guessed this from yesterday's post, but i'll say it again anyway: i looooooove the "black magic" cardstock! in this case it's black with a pale blue core...to go with my multi-layer "fake patent leather" flower.
i cut some freehand flower shapes and a big circle from some scraps. i wet & crumpled & sanded each piece, and then i used an embossing ink pad to apply and heat several layers of judikins "amazing glaze" and then when it had cooled completely i cracked the glaze in a bunch of places to make it look like leatherette. (you can't entirely see the results in the photo...but IRL it's pretty cool!) i layered the results with a doodlebug fabric flower and secured the whole deal with a junkitz brad to which i had affixed a michaels $ spot epoxy sticker. a bit o' queen & co felt fusion for an accent...et voila!

this was probably the fastest card i made in this whole assignment. which is cool, since i think it looks kinda sophisticated.
again, i made a "scor-it special" plaid background, this one oriented diagonally, and placed it on a darker blue cardbase. i traced one of my fave k&co artisan labels onto the same dark blue cardstock from the 4x6 assortment and stamped & white-embossed a rhonna swirl in opposing corners, before outlining the whole thing with white signo pen. i affixed the cut-out shape to burgundy and cut the second shape by eye about an eighth inch bigger. a few k&co xmas diecuts, some new prima slightly-sparkly poinsettias (can you say YUM?!) & leaves, (affixed with making memories jewel brads) millinery pearls from the lovely debb's care package, and i called it a reindeer day!

"a giftbag i'm keeping"

in the course of my distressing experiments (ok, but you know what i mean!) i came up with a texture that both lovely husband jeff and i thought looked quite a bit like old worn leather...and what better project for "leather-look" than a little purse??

using a sheet of black magic with a pale pink core, i dampened & scrunched & flattened & re-wrinkled & sanded & generally beat the heck out of it until i liked how it looked. then i flattened it back out and fashioned it into a bag that is 5" x 5.5" x 2". for the "trim" i took a strip of vintage collection dark pink, martha stewart border punched to make it lace-trimmed and used the scor-it to simulate some pleats before sanding it to get a nice aged look. i made handles of jewelry wire & some pearl-ish beads from michaels. i lined the purse's interior with the same pink (for decoration & stability) and topped the whole thing off with another stamped & distressed compound flower. other supplies: cherry pie crackle stamp, heidi swapp bling circle, amanda blu fabric flower, cloud 9 brad, colorbox inks, paperchase tissue paper.

*please see yesterday's post for descriptions of the exact products and appropriate links to the relevant core'dinations pages!

Friday, December 5, 2008

taking stock...

...CARDSTOCK, that is!

it is caardvarks challenge day, darlings, and this time we are eschewing the joys of patterned paper in order to see what kinds of creativity we can unleash using cardstock! "why?" you ask? well, aside from the fact that it's a good idea to occasionally step away from all the amazing variety of prints out there and really focus on design*...the very good and very generous folks at core'dinations sent each of the caardvarks' dt a selection of their quite astonishingly cool products.

and when i say "a selection" what i actually mean is pretty much sent us each a
rainbow inna box
(a box that weighed eight pounds, might i add!)
wanna see??

are you drooling yet?! thought so. ;)
from top left: black magic in "spellcaster"...it's black on one side and a color on the other! PERFECT for distressing...or even just for making a card that's black outside and light-toned within; super assortment in "nostalgia"...there are 80 sheets in FORTY--yes, four-zero--shades!!!; vintage collection in "retro mod squad"...it's got a slightly glossy two-toned texture on one side--like beautifully hand-dyed linen--and a lighter shade inside and on the back ; and 4.5x6.5" super assortment in "so mod"...i love this smaller size for guilt-free punching and cutting and using a whole bunch of colors at once!

but wait, because it turns out that this stuff doesn't just loooooooooooook good...it does, of course...but looks are *almost* the least of it.

(having said that, can i just say three words here? range of colors!!! holy moly...the large assortments have shades that are like a half-tone apart! there had to be a painter involved in developing these; even LHJ was seen flipping thru the larger assortment pad going, "wow! the colors are all different...but so close!" when you can impress husbands with your art supplies, you've done all right, i'd say!)

really, though, it's the quality... (heavy & solid; yet malleable to folding/tearing/distressing/playing!) ...the color core... (it ain't white inside...there's a perfectly coordinated, just-the-right-amount-of-contrast inner layer!) ...the creativity of the products... (can you say "black magic"? hellllllo, gorgeous!) ...the practicality... (every sheet is textured on one side, and smooth on the other; so if you want to stamp, or write smoothly, just flip that baby!) ...that impressed me the most. it's good stuff. so much so that i will seek it out in future. seriously. i'll even pay retail!!!

we made an extra-large inspiration gallery this time, so i'm going to split my contributions into two posts. for today, i'll show the projects where i mostly focussed on the multitude of color choices, and the way the various lines coordinate and enhance each other.

when in doubt, start off with a cupcake; that's my policy & it serves me well.
i mounted a pale pink 4x6 sheet on a black magic cardbase with pale pink interior; (the scallopped white layer is a slight cheat; i used staples' cheap glossy photo paper for a teeny bit of sheen that's much more apparent IRL) the cupcake top is vintage collection dark pink with heidi swapp fuzzy rub-ons as icing (again, the texture is rather cooler than in the photo) the black magic cupcake wrapper with a pale brown interior is scored and sanded to be chocolate-cake-ish; the dark pink heart on top of a texturey prima in my head looks like one of those edible glace flowers! other supplies: prima crystal flourish, ek success glossy chipboard word, colorbox inks, foam tape.

"monsta notes"
yes i've made an attempt at monsta design! (it had to be done) mostly i used punches and chipboard shapes as templates; the squiggley bits i drew myself. the green one is secretly my favorite, but SHHHHHHH don't tell the others!!!
the cards are constructed from black magic and each has an interior shade which coordinates with its exterior. each features a vintage collection panel thinly matted on a slightly lighter bit of 4x6 super-assortment paper. the monstas are made of tone-on-tone 4x6 shades with black magic accents. the making memories silver brads which attach the michaels' zebra ribbon did not photograph well, but look cool IRL. other supplies: googly eyes from michaels, colorbox inks, zig & signo pens, foam tape.

"mod & merry"
apparently i was feeling the pain of patterned-paperlessness on this one...i actually used the solid cardstock to make my own pattern. if you know of a 12-step program in central nj, please email me. :)
again, a black magic cardbase... (sheesh i LOVE that stuff!) ...this one has a green interior. i used 3 sizes of ek success & marvy square punches on multitudinous shades of pink & green scraps of all the collections. (there were even some mid-tones i left out rather than start a whole sheet!) i layered them quite wonkily, but lined them up straight. i can think of A LOT of other shapes this same idea would work with, and at some point you'll probably be seeing some! other supplies: ki chipboard tree, heidi swapp chipboard letters, karen foster gel sash & slide, making memories brads, foam tape. (yes, i DO use foam tape on every single thing i ever make, actually. no, i am not interested in a 12-step for that, but thank you for asking!)

"torn-ament of christmas trees"
i flat-out stole this idea...at least the torn layers part. the problem is, i have NO idea where or when i saw it. if it's yours, you have my apologies and thanks!!!
the dark blueish green cardbase is from the 12x12 super assortment (yes, i know it looks black in the photo!) again i used scraps of pretty much every color of green from every collection, typed bits of the lyrics of "O Tannenbaum"... (in german & english, obviously!) ...on some of them, then i tore & layered, tore & layered until i got some decent sized pieces and ONLY THEN (this is the crucial part) made them into triangles using my guillotine trimmer. the yellow stars are more misc. scraps from different collections which i crumpled & distressed & sanded & inked & cut into shape. other supplies: white sparkly dcwv cardstock (yes, a TOTAL cheat, and i admit it; trouble is, SNOW needs to be **SPARKLY** folks!!! if core'dinations make sparkly stock i will happily convert, ok?!!!)

here endeth the first lesson from the big book of cardstock. tune in tomorrow to see more cards, which feature tearing, sanding, scoring, wrinkling, distressing and other fun stuff!!!

*yes, i know, i gasped too, at the very idea. no patterned paper??! MOI???!?!? but i genuinely do feel like the scariest challenges are the ones i most NEED to at least attempt. and while i will probably never turn into a solid-color clean-n-simple zen mistress, this was a valuable exercise in re-thinking habits...and i am even somewhat proud of my results! why not make a card and upload it to the 'varks flickr gallery on or before 12-18??!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

(my apologies to nancy reagan)

...but you know monstas...

on the plus side: they're great at lookin' cute and conveyin' holiday greetings

on the minus side: they'll steal catchphrases from absolutely ANYONE; and you definitely don't want to leave your xmas cookies unattended...or your socks...or your smaller furry pets...

anyway here's the latest card:

(monsta cut from paperchase giftwrap; patterned paper: basic grey, mustard moon, dcwv + vintage sheet music; cardstock: core'dinations; bling circle: heidi swapp; letter stickers: 3 bugs; cardstock sticker: 7 gypsies; epoxy sticker: michaels $ spot; other: fiskars border punch, dymo labeller, colorbox inks; zig pen; foam tape)

tune in tomorrow for a very special caardvarks gallery in which lauren is thrown UTTERLY out of her comfort zone...with verrrry different...but still quite interesting...results!!!