Friday, March 30, 2012

more hybrid holiday inspiration

over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we are big fans of hybrid cards, generally; and specifically those made with products from this fortnight's lovely sponsor, robyn's fetish digital stamps and more! so we're taking this opportunity to show off a few things we've made using items from that fine establishment!

one of the very best parts of digital crafting is the fact that you can design once... and then use that idea over and over... for as long as you like... to make as many cards as you need! last year i made my nieces and nephews their very own individual christmas cards (which came in the mail separately from the family card!) and this turned out to be quite a popular thing! so this year i knew i needed SIX holiday cards that were all the same, and yet unique to each kid; so of course i immediately thought, "GO DIGITAL!!!" and when i saw these adorable christmas ornaments in the robyn's fetish shoppe i knew i had found my answer! i printed the file out once onto sturdy cardstock at a size just over 4" around, then used the resulting template (plus a compass for the smaller circles) with a 6x6" paper pad to create cards that were "kissing cousins" for the adorable young 'uns in question:

(robyn's fetish digital stamp: christmas ornaments; patterned paper: echo park; kraft cardstock: hobby lobby; ink: colorbox; pen: copic outliner; other: gold floral wire and plastic beads; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, scraps of dcwv fabric paper to keep the wire from cutting through the cardstock hinge) 

there's still almost an entire week for you to get in on the action--and have a chance at the fabulous prize on offer from robyn's fetish--over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ i hope to see you there!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

hope, beauty, joy card

this card contains my favorite piece of patterned paper from the MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY kit... and lots and lots (and lots!) of stacked and distressed flowers i punched from scraps of a bunch of the other lovely papers in the kit:

there are more photos on the pixie blog, o'course; why not go and see them??! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

going round... in circles

woohoo! i'm excited to finally be sneaking in a shopping our stash challenge, after a crazy month of travel and other weirdness! this is a GREAT one, as well, but i will let miss carla tell us the brief:

Challenge 45:
nesties, punches, hand cut, any circle-y stuff will work... 
or polka dots, paper with circular designs etc. 

here is my take on this fun idea, i made a round card, since i love them and haven't done one in a while!

(vintage: birds from a field guide, early 1900's sheet music, russian text paper; patterned paper: basic grey, prima; ribbon: may arts; circle and border punches: ek success; heart die: cuttlebug; pen: copic outliner; ink: colorbox, ranger; adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu glue stick, gluedots, 3m foam tape) 

for added circle-y interest, i've done an "old school" scallop border all the way around which is just 1" punched circles sandwiched between the 6" circles which make up the front and back of my card. i'm proud to say i've achieved 100% stash-usage here in the form of genuine vintage (birds, house, music background) and some really old designer papers! :) the birdhouse is just a sort of truncated kite shape with border-punched strips and a heart added on; various layers are popped up on foam tape for a little extra dimension and i've twisted a bit of my favorite leafy ribbon around the fussy cut branches on which my birds are perched.

this is a thank you note to the friends with whom i stayed in california; and the sentiment--"home is where the heart is"-- i had originally planned to put on the front, but i ran out of room, so it's on the back, instead, along with a handwritten note. because "my process" is sometimes that scientific!!! :)

why not grab some fun polka dots, or your circle punch, or your vintage "spirograph" ('member that?! gosh i loved that thing!) and join the uber-fab SOS team in this awesome challenge, which runs all week!!! ♥

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"love you" card

i believe i've already mentioned how much i love the march pixie kit, MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY, and this my mind's eye "sunshine memories" paper was one of my favorite bits!

as you can see, i didn't have to do very much to it to make a fairly cool card: i just trimmed and matted it, added some "fun day" chipboard pennants with crate paper alphas on top, and then stitched the rest of my sentiment. easy peasy! more photos on the pixie blog... feel free to pop over and see 'em! :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

happy hybrid holidays, 2012!

this week at JINGLE BELLES we are both pleased and proud to welcome back one of our very lovely sponsors from last year, robyn's fetish digital stamps and more

as you know, miss stephanie and i are both big fans of digital images and papers, since they are SO versatile and soooooo economical: you can use them over and over and NEVER run out of copies... or ideas!!! so once again we'd like to challenge you to make a holiday card which utilizes a digital stamp, paper or brush! if you've never tried this, or don't own anything christmassy, not to worry-- the very generous ladies at robyn's fetish are providing a *FREE* image especially for JINGLE BELLES! on the other hand, if you do have some files of your own you'd like to break out, go for it!  

there will even be a prize for one lucky random cardmaker who links up with us this time: *FIVE* (yes, 5!!!) images of your choice from the robyn's fetish shoppe!!! of course, if you win, you can choose whatever prize you'd like, but they do have quite a few lovely holiday images... i'm just sayin'... :) one of my favorites is the very pretty, and quite classic christmas lamp post, which i have paper pieced for my card:

(christmas lamp post digital image from robyn's fetish digital stamps and more, printed several times on avery clear inkjet labels and paper-pieced using scraps of paper; patterned paper: echo park, basic grey, autumn leaves, ki, sei; cardstock: core'dinations; chipboard sticker: october afternoon; label die: nestabilities; border punch: martha stewart; pearls: kaiser; ink: colorbox; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam tape, gluedots)

i used the lovely march sketch from the craft's meow for my design, as you can see, it's quite cool, and there is still a bit of time to get in on the action if you'd like!

here's a more detailed view of that lovely lamp image, you can see i've added layers of foam tape and a few "extra" die-cut leaves for even more texture and dimension:

you have plenty of time to make a digital or hybrid card for JINGLE BELLES... nearly two entire weeks, in fact, since this prompt does not close until wednesday, april 4th! so why not print out a few pretty brushes, or rummage around in your digital files for a favorite holiday stamp, and join us! ♥

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"sweetness" frame

today on the pixie blog, the featured project is this embellished frame i made to hold an easter portrait of nieces riley and lindsay from a couple of years ago. i love the way they are posed in this photo, and the adorable expressions on their faces, and knew it would look even better if i dressed it up with some of the gorgeous soft pink paper and accoutrements found in the MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY kit. so i did! 

there are more photos and a bit about the process over at the pixie blog, i do hope you'll check those out! ♥

Monday, March 19, 2012

more california photos; mostly food, flowers & beach birds

the second phase of my california trip was much more laid back; i stayed with friends near san diego and we chose to put a lot more emphasis on hanging out together than sight-seeing, which is very fun to DO, but not super-exciting to write--or read--about! here are a few random highlights, anyway:

encinitas is one of my favorite little beach towns, and arguably one of the best places in world to while away a lovely afternoon! there is shopping galore (some faves: the artsy gifts at coast highway traders, new age awesomeness at soulscape and sweet treats at chauo) before embarking on any of that there are two CRUCIAL stops:  kealani's for a loco moco bowl (my first since honolulu!)...

and then to moonlight beach for a little pacific ocean therapy. it was too cold to swim-- (although there were actually a few people in the water!!!) --so i contented myself with walking on the beach and taking a few photos. ok, yeah, quite a few photos! :)

luckily there was no shortage of attractive models to pose for me. this guy was so handsome he just couldn't stop staring at his reflection!

whereas these fellas were far more interested in chasing... ummmmmmm... whatever it is that sandpipers chase... little fish? or tiny burrowing crabs?? whatever it is, they must be found near the water's edge, and they must be prettttttttttttty QUICK because these guys never stood still for a minute!

after a while i got tired of panning back and forth trying to get a clear shot and chose models who stayed pretty stationary. rocks, actually. 

another place i (unexpectedly) saw rocks was on this ledge, about 20 feet or so up the sheer cliff that borders the beach. i suppose people toss them up there, like a wishing well? either that, or the beach pebble's lifestyle is far less sedentary than geologists realize! :)

we did spend one morning in balboa park in san diego; one of my favorite places, thanks to the super-high concentration of museums in one spot... (there are a couple of dozen!) ...i always take 9,000,000 shots of the california tower, but i don't think i've ever tried this angle before and i like it:

we visited the mingei international museum; i had never been inside before, it's WONDERFUL! they currently have 5 or 6 really excellent exhibitions on, but two of my favorites were niki de saint phalle's colorful, soaring sculpture, and the ynez johnston retrospective:

my friend cassie loves these neko cats, and since each one is considered good luck, i'm pretty sure we're all set for the year! 

on the way out of the park, i zoomed in and got this shot of downtown san diego, sitting innocently in the sunshine, pretending quite convincingly that it does not hold traffic worries galore:

on another lovely day we visited my friend tim, who is a freshman at UC irvine. the campus there is lovely, but my favorite stop (and his, i think!) was across the street from the dorms:

yep, in-n-out burger--one of my california "must haves"!!! another MUST for me, of course, is taking photos of palm trees. i snapped these two from behind the branches of this cool tree with what look like (but definitely are not) poppy flowers:

back at the beach, i had also taken some "in flight" photos of different birds, which, as you'd expect, were mostly a bit blurry. but some of them look kind of cool when you photoshop them a bit, like, this one:

photos of korean bbq, on the other hand, do not need any kind of enhancement, do they? here is a lovely meal we had at korea house, in kearney mesa:

a few other treats we enjoyed (which i somehow neglected to photograph) included mongolian hot pot at little sheep (a first for me... sort of a cross between ramen and fondue!); superb cupcakes from elizabethan desserts; and totally killer tamales at el callejon! a few other activity highlights included some cool thrift shops, the old barn antiques mall in san juan capistrano (a fave for vintage postcards!), mitsuwa marketplace, and the tiny but awesome cannon gallery; not to mention a hotly contested, week long canasta tournament in which, sadly, your hostess was non-victorious. very non-victorious, actually. ok, i got STOMPED!!! hafta to back next year, i suppose, if only for revenge! :)

my final photo was taken from the sidewalk, near my friends' home. these calla lillies were growing like crazy, and i could not resist snapping away. what the people whose house it was thought, i cannot imagine, but i hope they took it as a compliment to their gardening skills!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

happy birthday to you minibook

hello, darlings! i am back from my western excursion, and today we are driving down to maryland to help my father-in-law celebrate his ♥80th♥ birthday! coincidentally, today on the pixie blog is the fun little birthday book i made for that gentleman, using papers and embellishments from the MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY kit:

i'm quite proud of this project, and pleased it came out well, since it is being given to one of my favorite people in the whole world! i do hope you'll pop over and see photos of the inside, and read about all of the cool ingredients used in its construction! ♥

Friday, March 16, 2012

an even MORE neutral noel!

ok, i suppose that phrase is a bit of an oxymoron, since something is either neutral or not, probably you cannot make something that is MORE (or, for that matter, LESS) neutral, right?! what i should have said is that my ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ card this week is an arguably more literal interpretation of our pottery-barn-acquired inspiration photo:

in that i have used the PALETTE from the picture, as well as some of the elements in the pillows, like the shape, the stitching, and a few "millinery touches" like fabric flowers, and lace!

(patterned paper: tim holtz, crafty secrets, basic grey, my mind's eye; flowers: irene's garden (altered with distress inks and gold distress stickles); rub-ons: basic grey; reindeer die: tim holtz; pearls: kaiser (recolored with copic marker); other: vintage lace "painted" with gold distress stickles; adhesives: tombow monorunner, 3m foam and double-stick tape, gluedots, sewing machine)

this time i piled on as many tans and creams as i could find... and used tiny accents of gold, brown and even black to set them off. i have to say i really ♥LIKE♥ this one, especially because it's not my usual type of card! which is sort of the point of creative prompts and challenges: to think OUTSIDE the box and try something completely different!

there is still almost an entire week for you to get in on the action. why not stop over at JINGLE BELLES and see stef's cards... plus our amazingly gorgeous readers' gallery... for even MORE inspiration!!! ♥

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

despite a puzzling lack of rice-a-roni, san francisco was awesome!*

of course the first thing you notice are the cable cars, which admittedly are just being used to ferry tourists; but the fact that you've never seen them anywhere else--apart from movies and tv shows about san francisco--makes them especially great! 

did you know that san francisco also has street cars?** they've been "rescued" from other cities and lovingly restored, so each one is different and beautiful, and one can get quite caught up in trying to photograph all of them! we enjoyed touring the cable car museum and the railway museum, as well as riding every handsome vintage mode of transport which came our way.

fisherman's wharf is beautiful, if a bit touristy. we explored pier 39 a bit, our favorite sight there was the merry (and noisy!) band of  sea lions who hang out on their own set of purpose-built docks. at one point we got to see in action the special employee whose job it is to chase those mammals off the docks in use by the marina's boats... he had a shield and everything... it was uniue in my experience, as well as pretty comical!***

our favorite waterfront destination by far was the old ferry terminal, which is now restored and revitalized and reminds me quite a bit of chelsea market in manhattan. we lucked into the farmer's market one morning, as well as dscovering the word's best yogurt/granola breakfast parfaits at frog hollow farm.  i'd also highly recommend the astonishing bolognese at il cano rosso.

but then we didn't have a less than stellar meal during our entire four-day stay! from the nouvelle pan-asian treats of e and o trading,**** to the fabulously imaginative lunch menu at the cafeteria of the asian art museum, wonderful grab-n-go sandwiches at la boulange; even our hotel (the marriottt, union square) served some pretty tasty snacks in their lounge bar! a highlight was the over-the-top (in a GOOD way!) polynesian kitsch of the tonga room at the hotel fairmont. the tiki chic decor, superb umbrella drinks, and real "rainstorms" in the dining room would have been enough for us; as it turns out, the food was wonderful, too!

you may recall that the original inspiration for this trip was our desire to see the cult of beauty, a travelling exhibition of pre-raphaelite and other art from the victorian aesthetic movement that only appeared in three locations world-wide, one of which was FAMSF's legion of honor, and it was well worth the trip!

additionally, we were thrilled to discover that san francisco's only art-o-mat was within brisk walking distance of our hotel at the fabulous rayko photo center, who were also having a toy camera photography show that we enjoyed very much. plus, it just so happened that the asian art museum was playing host to TWO truly wonderful special exhibitions: the maharaja: the splendour of india's royal courts and sanjay patel's deities, demons and dudes with 'staches... of which i include a snapshot of a few of the giant, gorgeous colorful wall murals below... next to the chick using the art-o-mat! :)

san francisco is a great place for public art, also, as these giant sculptures in justin herman plaza will be happy to attest!

the ultimate icon may well be the golden gate bridge, and it truly is glorious to see, if a bit difficult to photograph properly with an ordinary point-n-shoot digital camera. of course, that doesn't stop one from trying!

an utterly amazing meal i neglected to mention above was the dim sum we enjoyed at the new asia restaurant in chinatown. when we found it, via trip advisor whilst walking around that fascinating neighborhood, the fact that every single table was FULL and there were entire multi-generational families happily awaiting their turn in the foyer, seemed to bode well for the quality; and sure enough, it was AWESOME! (be sure to try the crunchy shrimp balls!) 

speaking of lovely neighborhoods, pacific heights is full of jaw-droppingly beautiful victorian homes, and you can take a fun walking tour of the area. i don't think tour guide jay personally arranged for the glorious sunshine and warm weather just for us... but i wouldn't rule it out. ;) 

tony bennett famously left his heart in san francisco, and since then many others followed suit, including four artists who left them specifically at the corners of union square, for some very silly spokesmodels to come along and pose with. this one will leave you with one last photo... and the strongest possible urging to visit this lovely city as soon as you possibly can! 

*i'm totally ripping off gina's awesome blog post title stylings again; of course, she's already used the best title EVER... on this post, here!  :)

**the difference is: cable cars are physically pulled along by a long system of under-street CABLES (hence the name!); street cars (aka trolleys) are powered by electrical wires strung overhead. both are very fun to ride as a tourist in san francisco!

***what exactly does this man write down on his taxes next to "occupation"? sea lion roustabout? marine mammal intimidation specialist? do you get dental in a job like that? is there a union? 

****brian boitano is TOTALLY RIGHT about the indonesian corn fritters! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

dimensional poppies card

today i am quite delighted to show you this card i made with pixie dust paperie's MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY kit!

it's monochromatic, but has A LOT of little details, which i've talked about a bit on the pixie blog today, as well as sharing a few of my "secrets" for getting as much texture and dimension as possible into every single card!  i hope you'll drop over there and check it out! :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

now *THAT* is a cool sketch, no?!

but then i might be ever so slightly biased, since i happen to think that my dear pixie-in-chief kirsty vittetoe is one of the best sketch-makers around, and i absolutely always look forward to digging in to one of her creations!

this time, although i am very happy with my card, i *MIGHT* just have to have a second try, because i can see sooooooooo many ways to go with this, and am finding it hard to resist "the path untaken"; for example: that line of swirls across the middle? how cool would some webster's pages "bloomers" look right there?! yeah. i'm just sayin'... :)

so why didn't i do that THIS TIME, you ask? well, i'm sure you've had it happen, too, occasionally, when the next card you need to make is very specific, and the deadline is looming in the sort of menacing way that only deadlines and 7-foot-tall, steely-jawed bond villians can loom. so i bowed to the inevitable, and instead of an uber-flowery, shabby chic masterpiece, i made something totally fun (and totally young!) for my father-in-law:

(everything you see is from one pixie dust paperie kit or another: most of the papers, the alphas and the fab american crafts' "flutterby" banners are from the march kit, MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY; the fabric thickers are from BLUE MOON, and the other bits and bobs are from my "pixie leftovers" box, which is LARGE and quite full; because despite making 6+ projects a month... and often one of 'em is a minibook... i have never even come close to using an entire kit!!!) 

of course i don't wish to imply that making a card for lovely husband jeff's lovely dad could EVER be anything less than a joy! my father-in-law just happens to be one of my favorite people: he is fun, he is funny, he is kind, smart and thoughtful, he is creative and talented, interesting and interested... in short, he's everything you'd like a man to be... and he taught his children, by example, to be just like him; which is a big part of the reason my husband is the amazing man he is. yepper, in the marriage lottery, i was lucky enough to choose a winning ticket 26.5 years ago, for which i could not be more grateful!

his main birthday present, from the whole family, is a donation to his favorite local charity, in which he is very involved. but of course i had to *MAKE* a little something, as well, and it's a little dr. seuss-inspired minibook. this card coordinates with it; and i hope is a pretty good--if loosely interpreted-- masculine version of kirsty's sketch, as well.

and now i'm pretttttty sure you'll want to be hopping over to the pixie blog, where you can not only find out all the details on submitting your own version (did i mention there's a prize?!) but also see the jaw-dropping work of our amazingly talented challenge dt! off you go then, darlings! ♥

Friday, March 9, 2012

JB-12-06: neutral noel!

i have to tell you, confidentially, i really ♥LOVE♥ this week's JINGLE BELLES prompt. i feel non-braggy saying it, as well, since it was all miss stephanie's idea! she found this gorgeous picture on pottery barn's website over the holidays, and thought it'd make an awesome inspiration photo... a feeling with which i heartily agree! to broaden the possibilities a bit, we've decided that you can use ANY element of the photo you like, and use ANY neutral color scheme which appeals to you!

so you can go all out and adopt the creams, tans and golds of the pillows in the picture; or you can choose brown shades, or grey (maybe with a bit of silver?) or even... as i've done here... try your hand at (almost) all white!!!

(transparencies: hambly, best creation; paper: reminisce, basic grey; flower: we r memory keepers,; metal snowflake: making memories; felt snowflake: michaels; snowflake die: memory box; pearl brad: my mind's eye; rhinestones: OTC; adhesives: tombow monorunner, sewing machine)

ok, i've got a little bit of grey and silver too, but they are "neutral" colors as well! i also looooooved the pillow with the very ornate snowflake on it, so that seemed like the perfect theme for my chosen palette! you know me, i *always* want a lot of texture and dimension, but when i'm limiting my colors, i find it even more crucial, so i've piled on the layers: transparency base, glimmery snowflake paper, transparency frame, fabric flower, pearl brad, rhinestone flourish, topped off with snowflakes made of felt, of metal, and textured paper! yeah, i have to say i'm pretty pleased with this one, particularly since it forced me to think slightly outside my creative comfort zone... which is always a good thing, right?!

another always good thing is seeing what EVERYONE ELSE does with the same inspiration photo! it never ceases to amaze me how a single starting point can end in an infinite number of completely different-- but equally cool and creative--ideas! come to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ between now and wednesday, march 21st, and show us what YOU would do with this great prompt!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

on second thought, this should probably say "ni hao"

i like the greeting "namaste"... but there's really quite a bit of chinese on this card, isn't there? ah well, let's just call it "multi-cultural" ok?!  :)

this card is not only made entirely of off-cuts and scraps, they are actually all from the same project; or rather, they are from the same "art play" session which produced the hybrid lotus card i made recently. i hadn't intended to make something else, i only meant to glue the negative space from the butterfly to another scrap and put it in my journal. but there were just too many "good bits" to toss... and yet nothing substantial enough to save. so i just glued them all together, grabbed a bit of grungy green glitz paper and the off-cut of cardstock, and made a second card. i love it when a (non)-plan comes together! 

(patterned paper: glitz design; glossy black cardstock: ranger; vintage: chinese newspaper, sheet music, index from an atlas; digital collage printed on inkjet transparency; inks: ranger, colorbox, glimmer mist; pearls: recollections; label: dymo; adhesives: tombow monorunner, uhu gluestick)

here's a really vital thing to know when working with vintage paper: if, like me, you prefer a dry adhesive like a tombow roller, or xyron machine, DO NOT apply it directly to the vintage, as it will tear a layer right off your paper! this is also true for any very thin paper like tissue or newspaper, and even some really textural things like handmade or india paper. luckily, there's away around this distressing fact, just make sure you apply it to the OTHER SURFACE to which you're adhering your fragile paper: cardstock, chipboard, designer paper, whatever! if that's not an option you'll need a fallback adhesive. i know i lot of people LOVE gel medium and i do, too, but i m also quite whiny about having to wash a brush afterwards. if the item you are gluing onto is very textured or dimensional you will NEED gel medium (or mod podge), but for everyday use on a flat surface, i like gluestick. the one i like... and it's the ONLY one i like... is by uhu, it's the *white* glue in a big fat yellow stick. i apply it liberally... and i mean i go over my entire item thoroughly enough that i can see the coating of glue on there. i keep an old magazine or catalog next to my work table as a "gluebook" to put under my items whilst i am preparing them, so that i can work OVER the edge of my item... because that's where things can literally come unstuck if you've skimped on the glue! then i just fold the gluey page over and i'm ready for the next item. woohoo.

and now after that very long explanation, i expect YOU are ready for the next card on the next blog... so off you go, darlings!