Monday, January 31, 2011

sew much fun!

you know how sometimes there's a challenge that doesn't sound very "you"...but you give it a go anyway, and surprise yourself by actually coming up with something cool? well, i think i've done the opposite: taken a challenge that was sooooooooooooo obviously me, that i've sort of "choked"!

the challenge to is city crafter week #41: SEW FUN. (told *ME* is that, right?!) also, i've had the idea for this in my head ever since i saw this AMAZING card that kirsty made! and still, somehow, the finished product is just NOT what i was going for.

(patterned paper, diecuts: k&co; blue trimming: pink paislee; lace & fabric flowers: michaels; inks: colorbox; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape; other: image of woman's head & torso cut from a costume book; vintage lace & buttons; hindi newspaper; sewing machine)

i love the "paperdoll" i made from an illustration in a costume book and layers of newspaper, lace and ruffles. she did turn out a bit *BIG* though...which made my card kind of grow and grow. maybe at some point i will have a brainwave, and "re-locate" said costumed beauty onto a base i like more...or maybe not...

at the end of the day, a unique handmade card by definition is never a BAD thing, is it?! and i did seriously have "SEW" much fun! thanks, CCCB! :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

love the birds, hate the photos

it's the sad story of my papercrafting life: the cooler & more unusual of a project i make, generally speaking, the harder time i have trying to photograph it! and anything 3-D (seemingly... for me...) is just totally impossible! so if you'll all just write in with your addresses, i will be happy to come round to your homes and SHOW YOU this cute set of "lovebirds" in person, ok? :)

failing that, i suppose you could just hop over to the pixie blog, where the (low) quality of my photos is inversly proportionate to the (high) quantity of them!

but i cannot help going slightly overboard...or in this case overBIRD* when all of the ingredients used to make 'em came from the january pixie dust kit, MY FUNKY VALENTINE!

and they really are the cuuuuuutest little birds, honestly! ♥♥♥

*ok, sorry...worst pun EVER...but it put the photos into proportion, now didn't it, lol??!?!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

jingle belles: CARD FIVE

am i the luckiest papercrafter in the blogiverse, or what??! i'm partners with the amazin' stephanie on our very own christmas card inspiration blog, JINGLE BELLES...loads of lovely friends have come along to make cards with us...and now this week, the fabulous ♥amy tsuruta♥ made us a sketch! yep. the luckiest. definitely! :)

but let's get right to said sketch, because it's AWESOME!
see? told you! i realize you want to go make something with that baby RIGHT THIS SECOND, but first i'll show you my card, ok? (thanks!)

(patterned paper: we r memory keepers, october afternoon, daisy d's, sei; xmas light stickers: recollections (i used 2.5 packets!!!); puffy alphas: sei; ink: colorbox; adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu gluestick, 3m foam tape; other: jukebox graphic from t'internet & santa cut from a catalog)

i was going in a totally different direction until i saw this fabulous christmas jukebox graphic* that stef found; and then i remembered the fun santa illustration i cut out of a catalog, and thought "AHA! those would go realllllly well together!" a few glittery xmas lights and some puffy alphabet stickers later, i had myself the fun & festive greeting you see before you.

so NOW you should definitely hop over to the JINGLE BELLES blog, see amy and stef's gorgeous examples, and then plan your own version of world domination via the medium of christmas sketch cards! oh yeah, and while you're there be sure to leave a comment on ANY january post, because the big giveaway is ALMOST at an end, and you'll want a shot at that prize pack, right?! :)

*something that may well turn up later as the inspiration for a future JINGLE BELLES prompt; in which case, act surprised, ok??! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


the other day i showed you one of my experiments from a session inspired by my girl gina's USE, PRACTICE, CREATE play-long. as it turns out, i was having so much fun with january's focus--acrylic paints--that i just kept going.

again, i used some tim holtz masks. this time, mindful of the fact that masked letters become hard to read if you try to put too much detail around them, i placed "HAPPY" by itself on a glossy sheet of chinese text from an architecture book that i backed with cardstock for strength. i squeezed a small drop of 4 or 5 shades of blue randomly on the surface, and then i used a foam brush like a squeegee...and just spread the paint in one long line across the masked letters to get this really fun "striation" effect:

(patterned paper: hambly, basic grey + text from a chinese book; black glossy cardstock & masks: tim holtz/ranger; alphabet stickers: k&co; bling star: mambi; "!" paperclip: from staples; rubber stamps: hero arts, tim holtz, stampin' up, cherry pie; inks: ranger, martha stewart, stewart superior, colorbox; adhesives: uhu gluestick, tombow monorunner; other: folk art acrylic paints, sewing machine)

as a result of the above precautions, this time my masked letters were so clear and so uncluttered that i really didn't even NEED to outline them with the sewing machine...but...i did it anyway! :)

i also had the "don't do TOO MUCH overstamping" lesson firmly in my head from last time, so you can see that i added a lot less detail generally, and kept it ENTIRELY off the white masked bits! i could not resist, however, having a little fun with leftover paint and the bottom of my soda can! (see, those things are not just for reindeer, anymore, lol!)

i was so pleased with my painty effects that i only added minimal "finishing" to the card: patterned paper mats, a "birthday" to follow the "happy", a bling star and one of the verrrrrrrrrry cool typewriter key paperclips that leah and i found on clearance at staples last summer. and that's it. i don't think i've ever been so happy to be BLUE! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

UPC & me...perfect together!*

i know i've mentioned gina's USE, PRACTICE, CREATE "play along" project already, but other than making a fun painty card for our UPC/jingle belles crossover last week, i haven't really had a chance to do the "playing along" part yet...until now!

for january the focus is on acrylic paints; which i definitely don't use enough. (that's what i love most about UPC: the chance to re-discover & play with stuff I HAVE, as well as learning and trying new things!) so the other day i got out a bunch of blue shades, and commenced to essperimentin'.

this would be a great time to have step-by-step photos, right?! i agree! which is why it's such a pity i don't. have any, that is. because frankly i was only looking at this as a creative exercise that MIGHT give me some ideas for later on. so imagine my surprise when an experiment with clearance-acquired tim holtz masks resulted in a use-able card background!

(patterned paper: house of 3 for pink paislee + vintage sheet music; black glossy cardstock & masks: tim holtz/ranger; alphabet stickers: making memories; epoxy arrows: recollections; rubber stamps: hero arts, tim holtz, stampin' up, cherry pie; inks: ranger, martha stewart, stewart superior, colorbox; adhesives: uhu gluestick, tombow monorunner; other: folk art acrylic paints, sewing machine, dymo labels)

what i did (the SHORT version): i placed the gear and "happy" masks on a piece of white sheet music backed with cardstock. i squeeze small random blobs of 4 or 5 colors of blue acrylic paint onto the paper, and brushed them around really loosely, letting them overlap & mix in some places. when the masks were off & the paint was dry, i over-stamped the whole panel with this hero arts "birthday text" stamp (thanks, JUNE!!!) and few other pattern stamps, in various shades of blue and black stamping ink.

the masked "happy" letters weren't as clear as i wanted, so i decided to outline them with the sewing machine. i'm not sure when "outlining" turned into "filling in entirely", but i love how it looks...even on the BACK!

at the very end i added the grid rub ons to the corners and those ancient fabric letters to spell out "birthday"...which i think look surprisingly cool here. :)

the other reason i wish i had step-by-step photos is: the step BEFORE this one was actually a bit cooler! in retrospect, i wish i'd left more of the gears white, but i got carried away with the overstamping. also, i wish i'd thought about a finished card size when i laid out my masks. because i lost even more when i trimmed the panel to it's finished size of 7x6".

but as i said, i really didn't expect to come out of this with anything except messy hands and a feeling of the card is a really nice "extra" anyway! ♥

*bonus ninja points if you are a new jersian old enough to remember tom kean and his catch-phrase. basically, in a blogging context, this is tracy and me; but WE are smiling right now. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

flower show!

judging by the amazing cards i've seen on everyone elses' blogs this week, i'm assuming absolutely everybody knows that the current challenge at city crafter is called FLOWER SHOW AT JERSEY CITY and kirsty has given us this lovely photo for inspiration:

and she's additonally added the challenge of incorporating some handmade flowers into our design. hmmmmm...both those things remind me of someone...who can it be??!?!

oh wait it's *ME*! :) :) :)

ever since making last week's painty card for the combined UPC/jingle belles prompt, i've been wanting to get a bit messy again, and this seemed like a fine time to do that; so a few short, fun, paint-n-ink-stained hours later, here's what i came up with:

(patterned paper: american crafts & sassafras + vintage sheet music all from the MY FUNKY VALENTINE kit at pixie dust paperie...along with the "indie girl" stickers and the dear lizzy rose brad; sticky-back canvas: claudine helmuth; acrylic paints: folk art; watercolors: grumbacher; spray inks: glimmer mist, maya mist & diluted ranger re-inkers; ink pads: colorbox, ranger, stewart superior; rub ons: basic grey, fancy pants, american crafts, recollections; white mini-brads: oriental trading co; HAPPY letters: recollections (outlined w/sharpie); adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu gluestick, 3m foam tape)

yeah. i went a little bit nuts. first on the hand-made flowers, and then on the card that would hold them. i've used my last few bits of pink paper, sheet music, and a dear lizzie flower brad from the pixie dust MY FUNKY VALENTINE KIT... some flowery chipboard letters that i bought at full price in michaels even without a coupon... (unheard of!!!) and about a zillion tiny stickers and rub-ons. i was going for "a profusion of flowers". i think i may have overshot the goal somewhat! :)

the hand-made flowers are scraps of sticky-backed canvas cut with the sizzix layered flower die. they are sprayed and brushed with various spray inks, watercolors and glitter glue, they are stamped with acrylic paint and stamping inks, they have white rub-ons applied randomly on top of all the other bits. when i had an effect of color and pattern i liked, i applied the sticky-back canvas to scraps of tissue paper, crumpled and rumpled them into shape and fastened them together with decorative brads.

were they quick to make? nope. do i ♥LOVE♥ them??!? quite deliriously. (mission accomplished!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

you're just my type... of card!

today's project on the pixie blog is my favorite card (that i made)...

...using my favorite element (the sheet of october afternoon "thrift shop" stickers) in my favorite pixie dust paperie kit* MY FUNKY VALENTINE! i hope you'll hop over there and see not just more of this, but all the amazing & jaw-dropping projects my fellow pixies have made this month, because they have really OUTDONE THEMSELVES...which, trust me, is saying something in this talented group!!! ♥♥♥

*ok, it's not really possible for me to have a FAVORITE pixie kit...because they are all EQUALLY awesome; but i got to pick the stuff that went into this one, so yeah, i'm a little biased!!! :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

kirsty gets sketchy!

in addition to her many other talents, pixie-in-chief kirsty vittetoe is quite the dab hand at papercrafting sketches, see?

and how cool is it that in addition to inspiring all sort of fabulousness in our heads, that lovely sketch can be used for a shot at pixie prizes??! yeah! 'cause it's the starting point for this month's play-along inspiration challenge on the pixie blog, where you will find more DT takes as well as all the details of how YOU can enter...and what you've got a chance to win when you do!

i made a card, because that's what i do...

all supplies pictured are from the january pixie dust paperie kit MY FUNKY VALENTINE, with the exception of the alphabet stickers (webster's pages) and the plastic doilie (cut from prima packaging), which were leftover from other pixie kits! :)

...but you could make a scrapbook page or a piece of wall art or a fancy gift-bag or...well...whatever you'd like; just use the sketch and then head over to PIXIE and link up your entry! ♥

Friday, January 21, 2011

jingle belles: CARD FOUR

there's a brand new prompt up over at JINGLE BELLES today, and this week we've got a fabulous color palette devised by the amazing miss stephanie!

i know, i know, it TOTALLY looks like something *I* would choose, doesn't it?! after all, there are TWO gorgeous shades of pink...and the fabulous inspiration photo has a "shabby chic" style, with roses and chenille and...well, it is definitely VERY laureny; but i promise it was the choice of m'colleague!!!

i don't think anyone will be surprised to hear, however, that i did not argue AGAINST such a palette. not even a little bit! :)

(vintage: holly--cut from "ideals" magazine; patterned paper: little yellow bicycle, creative imaginations, love elsie, dcwv, basic grey, prima, the paper co; chipboard alphabet: target; pearl flourish (cut down): prima; chiboard snowflakes: we r memory keepers; diecut snowflakes: dcwv; snowflake punch: ek success; snowflake stickers: recollections & jolees; heart button: doodlebug; adhesives: tombow monorunner, gluedots, uhu gluestick, 3m foam tape)

now of course, this is a *COLOR* inspiration, only; so you definitely DO NOT have to use any flowers, or incorporate the style of the photo at all. but me being me...and loving roses and swirls, and texture and romance and alllllllllllll that good gloopy stuff...i went all the way!!!

i only used a couple of specifically "christmassy" things in my design: holly sprigs (cut from a vintage "ideals" magazine) and some snowflakes (in chipboard, diecut cardstock, punched patterned paper & acrylic stickers); everything else came from my ordinary everyday stash of papery goodness. but i'm pretty thrilled with how this came out, and sort of pleased that christmas is a lonnnnnnnnnnnng time i can hang on to this one for a bit before mailing it to one of my lovely friends in december!

speaking of lovely friends, do drop in to the JINGLE BELLES blog at any time and see the amazing cards our fellow belles are making, it's definitely worth the trip, and i think i can pretty much GUARANTEE you'll find inspiration! ♥♥♥

Thursday, January 20, 2011

limelight sketch 65

hooray! it's limelight papercrafts sketch day, and yet again, miss mandy has done us proud!

this time the product focus is on CHIPBOARD and i knew right away what i would use on my card. i've had a pack of these basic grey chip stickers from the "lemonade" line since they first came out, and i'd only used ONE; so it was definitely time to change that! and i did:

(patterned paper: basic grey, house of 3 for pink paislee; chipboard accents: basic grey (circle & flowers), k&co ("wish"); felt cupcake: american crafts; ribbon: american crafts, doodlebug; letter stickers: making memories; butterfly diecut: k&co; inks: martha stewart; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)

i remembered the pack had that nice round flowery shape, which was perfect for the sketch; and then i couldn't resist adding the cheery sprig of flowers, too. the word "wish" is also chipboard, and came in a verrrrrrrrrrry cool crafty care package from the lovely miss leslie recently! (ta v much, missus! see, the "fussy gene" is payin' off already, lol!)

as usual, everything is on various layers of foam tape, either for support, or dimension, or both; and i've done a bit of machine stitching both for security (the layers of ribbon) and as a colorful accent (around the white panel); and that's about it, really, except of course you'll want the challenge details so YOUR card will have a shot at the *prize*...and here they are now... :)

**Use the sketch provided and try to incorporate some fabulous CHIPBOARD!
**Key word for SCS upload is LLPC064.
**Post a comment with a link to your card on Mandy's post by Sunday, January 23, at midnight.
**THE PRIZE: a pack of fabulous Basic Grey "Woolies" chosen randomly from all participants...details on Mandy's Blog!

givin' away stuff that doesn't belong to me!

i believe i've mentioned that for the last few weeks pixie-in-chief kirsty vittetoe has been on a prize-giving spree? well, we're going into the third week of giveaways, and it just keeps getting better! this time it's my turn to be the hostess and tell you that if you hop over to the pixie blog between now (1-20) and next thursday (1-27) you can snag multiple chances at...wait for it... the entire october kit, FALL IN LOVE!!!

what all is in that kit, you ask??!
why, i just so happen to have a list!

the October Kit -Fall in Love contains:
10 patterned papers (12'' x 12'')
Melissa Frances - Kayla
Melissa Frances - Esther
Melissa Frances - Jackie
Melissa Frances - Fiona
Melissa Frances - Order
Melissa Frances - Joanna
Melissa Frances - Amanda
Melissa Frances - Leah
American Crafts - Abode Maple Drive
American Crafts - Botanique Patsy Glitter

4 cardstocks (12'' x 12'')
American Crafts Pastels: Pink, Cream, Light Grey & Earth-tones Brown

Webster's Pages - Nature Trim
Webster's Page - Lullaby Image Stickers
Maya Road - Noah Alpha Mini Chipboard Set
Maya Road - Kraft Journaling Tags Scrolls
Maya Road - Ruffle Blossoms, Pink and Yellow
Maya Road - Crowns Mini Chipboard
American Crafts - Dear Lizzy Fabric Buttons
American Crafts - Glitter Buttons Baby Girl
Recollections - Rhinestone Stickers

Pixie's vintage findings and Handmade by Pixie
Pixie's hand dyed crinkled seam-binding ribbons in Rosy Pink & Brown Bird
(2 yards each)
Manila Tags

having been so fortunate as to have worked with this kit myself, i can tell you definitively: YOU WANT IT! seriously. there's not a bit of it that isn't beeeeeeautiful, cool, and completely use-able! here are links to a few projects i made last autumn: an embroidered thank you card, a layery baby book, and a fabulous cupcake giftcard holder! which, frankly, hardly scratches the surface, because the pixie kits are generously over-stuffed! we pixies did a WHOLE MONTH of projects to inspire it's use, actually! :)

but if you don't win the main prize, there's also a bit of a runner up selection: yep, it's a MINI pixie crown--a scaled-down version of THIS PROJECT--which i've made specially for one lucky pixie blog reader:

this mini-crown stands just about 6" tall at its flowery pediment...

...and not only would it look pretty cool as a decoration on your desk, or the shelf beside your vanity table... will also serve the useful purpose of reminding everyone who sees it just WHO IS THE QUEEN of your domain!!! :) :) :)

so now i know what you're thinking. you're thinking, "hey lauren! how do i become eligible to win these lovely prizes?!" well it's pretty easy, actually; all you have to do to enter our random drawing entry is ......

1. Become a new follower of the PIXIE BLOG (not my blog, though obviously you're quite welcome!) and you'll get one chance

2. Post on your blog about this giveaway with a link back to the PIXIE BLOG, then leave a comment over there saying you've done it, and you'll get another chance

simple, right? told ya! but remember, this is all happening on the PIXIE BLOG, not here, so what're you waiting for?! ciao, darlings! ♥♥♥

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

thank goodness for thickers!

and other "pre-made" products that look great right out of the package! because for someone who spends such a large amount of her time making greeting cards, it never fails to amaze me that i can still COMPLETELY SPACE on an important this case that of TWIN friends of mine...yiiiiiiiiiiikes! but with the help of the aforementioned letter stickers, some diecut shapes, and a few other bits & bobs i was able to whip up a couple of fast cards last night! behold!


(patterned paper: mme, basic grey; glitter paper: dcwv, best creations; letter stickers: american crafts, making memories; circle sticker: memories complete; other: dymo labeller, colorbox inks)

...and *HERS*!

(patterned paper: fancy pants, prima, basic grey; letter stickers: american crafts, making memories; circle sticker: memories complete; flowers: prima, making memories; brads: my mind's eye; bling: recollections)

phew. now has anyone seen my pen and my postage stamps??!? :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

reindeer: prepare to die(cut)!

possibly the coolest thing that's ever happened to me whilst shopping was the day last december when i popped into my (semi)-local scrapbook store, creative inkling, and the lovely edie explained how i could use my cuttlebug on flattened-out soda pop cans*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! needless to say, i RUSHED home and tried it and she was sooooooooooo right: it's super easy to do, it looks AMAZING, and it's basically FREE!!! (if you'd like to see additional examples, there are some here!)

now, when i say, "i tried it" what i actually mean is: i drank the soda, i washed the can, i got a very sharp knife, and i prepared to plunge it into the side of the can... at which time, lovely husband jeff, his head filled with flashback images of my well-known klutzery & previous trips to the emergency room for stitches, stepped in and shouted, "NONONONO! I will do that!!!" and then later, when i decided i needed elebenty million more for mass-production of xmas cards, he did it again, and i photo-ed the steps! :)

#1: puncture the can with a razor knife

#2: use stout kitchen shears or tin snips to cut the ends off
#3: BEWARE!!! you've just created a weapon!!!
#4: beware the tiny razor-sharp splinters of metal that are everywhere you've been working!!!
(please refer to overly dramatic photoshopped illustration below!!!)

#5: use a paper towel or cloth to smooth and flatten the can
#6: adhere the flattened cans to a sheet of cardstock you've run through an adhesive machine(this is an optional step, though we discovered that it makes for much safer & sturdier metal diecuts!)
#7 (not shown!) do the actual diecutting!!!(this is done exactly the same way you diecut anything else, which is why i didn't take a photo; in the cuttlebug, with a tim holtz/sizzix steel-rule die, you use only the two "B" plates (without an "A" plate) for your cutting sandwich; the only other tip i have is to place the metal side down on the die, the edges will curl under slightly which looks better and makes for a smoother/safer diecut reindeer edge.)

#8: enjoy a lovely snack! reindeer chips, anyone??!?! :)
and there you have it, the complete (& overly illustrated) directions for lovely (& economical) recycled reindeer! as you can see in the illustrations below, i used soda cans plain:

i used soda cans with some clear stickers (when the cans had dents or scratches that showed):

i used some shinier crafting sheet metal:

and i even tried using copper alcohol ink (with a sponge dabber) as a tint, which was a bit fiddly...but looked WONDERFUL!

in addition to using this technique with the sizzix steel-rule dies, i also tried it out with a nestie (quite carefully, fearing it might blunt the more fragile dies) and it worked perfectly! be sure to read the directions for YOUR diecutting machine, and make sure you're using the correct sandwich for thick materials like chipboard, but otherwise it's pretty straightforward!
i hope you'll try out this technique and leave me a link so i can come and see YOUR essperiments! :)

*if you are virtuously soda-free like some people, you can also use thin sheets or rolls of craft metal, like this kind from ten seconds studio; or perhaps a neighbor or friend will save cans for you?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

it's like a valentine...on *STEROIDS*!

today's project on the pixie dust paperie blog is made from january's MY FUNKY VALENTINE kit, the one miss kirsty gave me the privilege of designing! needless to say, while i was putting it together, i was thinking of things i'd like to make for my favorite valentine's day birthday girl--niece riley!

this particular project started as an oversized card, but somehow it kept GROWING to accomodate all the embellishments i wanted to add! at some point i had to concede that it outgrown all consideration to card status... (the largest heart is nearly 9x9") ...which is when i gave in and decided to call it a "wall hanging" instead!

loads more details and pics on the pixie blog! while you're there, you definitely wanna do some "scrolling down" since we're in our SECOND week of giveaways! but also, i have to say that this month, although my projects are perfectly fine, it is my DT sisters lori, jessy, kirsty and zielonooka who are ROCKIN' the PIXIE CASBAH!!! ( to speak, lol...) ♥♥♥

Friday, January 14, 2011

jingle belles: CARD THREE

wow, did this week go by at regular speed or did i accidentally hit "fast forward"??!?! on the other hand, the sooner our snowy northeastern united states winter is *OVER* the happier i will be! :)

anyway, it's friday again and thus time for a new JINGLE BELLES prompt. one of the highest priorities stef and i have isto make the blog as collaborative as we possibly can, because more is definitely ♥MERRIER♥! we want all of our old friends to come hang out with us...and we want to make loads of new ones, too! and we plan to tap EVERYBODY for prompt ideas!!! so this week we've got our very first GUEST STAR* and if you know me at all you won't be at all surprised to find out it's my girl gina!

i know a lot of you already read gina's blog tyggereye arts and thus are aware that this year she's hosting on a medium-per-month "play along" called USE PRACTICE CREATE, about which i am very excited, so we're doing a little "cross-over" special. thus, for CARD THREE, to match up with UPC's january focus, we're getting out ACRYLIC PAINTS, brushes & dabbers so we can

USE, PRACTICE, CREATE ...and jingle!

here's my card:

(vintage: children's book illustration; patterned paper: melissa frances & american crafts (also seambinding...all leftover from the october pixie dust paperie kit...which had a "baby" theme...but it works realllllllllly well for xmas too! ;) plus mme & best creations paper scraps; "merry" rub on: mambi;acrylic paint: folk art; snowflake punch: martha stewart; edge punch: recollections; dies: nestabilities (label shape), tim holtz alterations (reindeer), sizzix (xmas tree); ribbon: making memories, michaels; inks: colorbox; adhesives: uhu gluestick, 3m foam tape, tombow monorunner; misc: recycled soda can flattened and used with the reindeer die, sewing machine)

you may or may not remember this little mini-tutorial i made in november when i used the negative space from some snowflake punches to make this card with the december pixie dust paperie kit! well, i had fully intended to play around with that technique again, but when my christmas card making process turned into "beat the clock" for the tenth consecutive year** that kind of went out the window; so i was really thrilled to have another chance to try it without the holiday pressure attached!

you'll notice that i've used my tim holtz reindeer die on another flattened-out empty soda pop can, as i showed you in december... (and YES, i am going to finally show the step-by-step process of that this week!***) ...and thus i'm going to pop this into crafty hazelnut's christmas card challenge #2: "use a freebie or recycle" since the lovely hazel has made some very cool JINGLE BELLES cards & i'd like to reciprocate!

so now it's YOUR TURN! brush or brayer it, splash it, splatter it, stamp or stencil with it, dab, drip or drizzle it; make it the centerpiece of your card or merely an accent...but get hold of some acrylic paint so you can USE, PRACTICE, CREATE...and JINGLE!!! :)

*do YOU have a great idea for a prompt, or a fabulous technique you'd like to share, or a sketch you're dying for us all to try out? we'd love to hear from you! email us at !!!

**which lead directly to the JINGLE BELLES idea: 'cause i am NOT missing another december!!!

***sorry for the delay, but see, smack in the middle of getting ready for christmas, m'friend & i decided to start a NEW BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes. we are crazy. thank you for noticin'!) :) :) :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

what happens in vegas...

...sits and stays in vegas!


(i've bedazzled the caption for you up there, see? all part of the service!) :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

two headers are better than one!

in the last month i had the honor of being asked by not one but *TWO* of my very favorite ladies if i would make them new blog headers. which, of course i said yes, because i am always willing to help a friend...especially when the word "help" is defined as, "play about happily with digi-stuffs"!!!

i know you'll be surprised to see a much more minimalist vibe than i usually go for... or at least... a much LESS maximalist vibe! both of these were collaborations with the ladies in question, because of course a blog header should reflect the AUTHOR and not the designer...but i think there's a bit of me in there, too! ;)

(patterned paper: faux bois wild by andrea victoria, designer digitals; flower brushes: paper meadow by jofia devoe, after five designs; fonts: "cafe rojo" & "plastique"; created in broderbund printshop & edited in adobe photoshop elements)

ok, so the first one is for my very very dear friend trish's blog. in addition to being one of the smartest and most thoughtful people sho's ever been born, trish is an amazing knitter & quilter, full-time career-woman AND mom to the cutest kids on the planet who are not actually related to me. she writes about all of those things (& occasionally about the search for LUSCIOUS yarn at discount prices...which she usually FINDS!) quite hilariously on her blog, ONE MOM'S UNBALANCED LIFE. if you are a crafty working mom, you will definitely recognize the feeling of being pulled in a zillion directions at once, and be amazed by HOW MUCH she gets done on any given day!

(this is the first time i've made a background from scratch in photoshop: i wanted those nice overlapping translucent layers of circles, which coordinate pretty nicely (if i do say so myself!) with amy's existing blog badges; there are no designer product here, just shapes from photoshop, sparkles from printshop, and a font called "ck nitelite")

if you're a papercrafter, you may recognize the second header already: yes, it is the banner above the brand-new blog for the already awesome series of "look how far we've come" challenges that the amazin' amy tsuruta was hosting on her own blog TSURUTA DESIGNS during 2010; that feature became SO very popular that this year she's fired it up in its very own corner of t'internet, the FLASHBACK FRIDAY CHALLENGE blog!!! if you haven't been there yet, you should *definitely* check it out because the premise is quite brilliant: every two weeks or so, amy dares us to share something from our own personal creative time capsules; the first cards we ever posted publicly, the first layouts we ever shared online, etc; and did i mention there are PRIZES??!?! version 7.0 is going live this friday, 1/14 and you don't want to miss it!

Monday, January 10, 2011

a crowning achievement

i've always wanted to make a crown. i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "well of course you have, lauren! afterall you've got three princess-obsessed nieces!" which is true, of course, but here's a secret confession for you: three-princess obsessed nieces were not the INSPIRATION for making a crown; in fact, they're really more like an excuse, by which i figured i could get away with making one! :)

so there i was sort of vaguely thinking to myself, "someday i WILL make a crown and give it to one of the girls!" but there was no PLAN or specific occasion attached. then, a few months ago, i saw this glorious crown that heidi swapp made, and i thought "oooooooh!" and sort of had more of an idea *HOW* i might set about it. then, shortly after that, miss kirsty asked if i'd like to try my hand at kit-designing, and i began to select the items for the MY FUNKY VALENTINE kit, which i knew would be in the pixie shoppe before niece riley's birthday...on february 14th!!!

dontcha just ♥LOVE IT♥ when everything lines up neatly like that?!

there are A LOT more details of the crown's construction, and A LOT more photos, too, on the pixie blog today! i hope you'll stop over there and have a look because i think it came out rather well, actually.

in the meantime, if queen elizabeth calls, tell her she can place an order any time!!! :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

jingle belles: CARD TWO

if you've talked to me this week in real life, via email or comments, you've already heard me say this a zillion times, so i apologize, but i'm gonna say it once more:

i am shocked, thrilled, overjoyed, overwhelmed, and just plain BLOWN AWAY by the response to the very first JINGLE BELLES prompt, something old, something new. our fellow belles made *37* absolutely gorgeous holiday cards!!! and also extended to us--and each other--a seemingly unlimited supply of enthusiasm, kind words, and good wishes for this new venture that miss stephanie and i are so very proud to be hosting! to everyone involved, may i please say one more massive & heartfelt


now let's make go some more cards, ok?!?! :)

(patterned paper: love elsie, basic grey, autumn leaves + vintage sheet music; rub-ons: love elsie; stickers: paperchase, recollections; flowers: michaels; brad: doodlebug; sparkly embroidery floss: fuzzy stuff by rainbow gallery; ink: colorbox; white pen: uniball; colored pencils: prismacolor; adhesives: uhu gluestick, tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape; other: sewing machine)

the prompt for CARD TWO is "have yourself a merry LITTLE christmas"! by which we mean: incorporate inchies (1x1 inch) or twinchies (2x2 inch) into your design. they can be square or round...they can be your own, or some you've gotten in a trade...they can be stamped, collaged, painted, printed, embossed or hand-drawn. anything goes! just make, buy, or borrow some teeeeeeeeny little pieces of art, then make a card what holds 'em!

this prompt will be live on the JINGLE BELLES blog until 6pm EST, next wednesday, january 12th. i cannot wait to see what everyone will make!

(ps: there's a giveaway is going on all month...for ONE chance to enter, leave a comment on any january JB post! for TWO MORE chances, make & link up a card to any january JB prompt! there's a pretty nice prize pack involved, so you miiiiiight like to check it out!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in the limelight!

HOORAY! it's the day i've been waiting for ever since the lovely mandy honored me by asking if i would join the limelight papercrafts sketch design team. a request to which i immediately said, "YES, PLEASE!" because i looooove mandy's sketches! this one is especially good. see?

uh huh. told ya!!! technically speaking, this is sketch 64 and the product feature for this one is to incorporate some yummy RIBBON into the card's design! i am proud to say that i am quite pleased with the card i made using the sketch:

(patterned paper: ALL prima...most unusual for me, eh?!; ribbon: may arts (vine) and k&co (felt); chipboard letters: heidi swapp; rub-ons: basic grey; stick-on pearls: recollections; circle punch: ek success; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, glue dots, sewing machine; computer generated greeting formatted in cafe rojo font and printed on an avery clear inkjet label)

you can see i've gone VERY LITERAL: for one thing, for the spot that's represented on the sketch by a butterfly inside a circle, on my card is embodied as a butterfly inside a circle!!! (well, hey, it wasn't BROKE...why on earth would *I* want to fix it??!?!) :)

my circle is punched out of the front of the card, and the pretty prima butterfly paper has been punched once and fussy cut once for extra depth. but my very very ultra-favorite part is the may arts leafy ribbon, of which i was given AN ENTIRE ROLL for christmas by the divine miss stephanie, who just knows me way too well! i swirled and swooped the ribbon to fit in with the flowers and vines on a different sheet of prima paper, tacking a few leaves here and there with gluedots before securing the entire length of each piece with the (slowly & carefully hand-cranked) sewing machine. a fiddly thing to do?? yeah. definitely. took longer than everything else on the whole card... but (i think you'll agree?) ...WORTH IT!

if you're already a limelight fan, you'll be aware that sadly, the store is in the midst of closing down; on the other hand, there are sales, savings and specials galore, including THIS ONE which lasts through sunday, january 9th--same as the sketch challenge! for full details, including the prize that's up for grabs and how to submit your card, please check out mandy's blog, where there are also many lovely paper-based projects for your enjoyment! ♥♥♥