Tuesday, September 30, 2014

a sign of the apocalypse??!

no, i haven't got a yard full of locusts or seen any more than the usual amount of evidence that my fellow citizens have started to become zombies; it's actually more impressive than that: i've made a card with a plain white background!!! yeah, i know... you're wondering if i'm really still lauren, or if i've been replaced by a fast-talking crafty cyborg. to tell the truth i'm a little curious about that myself. all i can say is, if it's the latter, then crafty cyborgs eat more chocolate than is probably good for them and think daniel craig is the bee's knees. so there's that. but what prompted all this? well, the new challenge at shopping our stash is called "sunshine on a cloudy day" for which we'd like to see an image of the sun, or some clouds, or both. as i was pondering what to make and trying to find some diecut photo-realistic sunflowers i don't remember using up, it suddenly occurred to me that i might be able to draw/paint my own sunflower AND a sky background on which to place it. so i did!

watercolor paper: strathmore; watercolor paints: koi and artist's loft; pens: superfine and extra superfine by faber castell pitt plus a fat bullet-point sharpie for the big dots around the sunflower center; large and small cloud punches by fiskars; very old set of lowercase alphabet stamps by making memories; glossy white cardstock and blue archival ink: ranger

the thing that made me lean towards a sunflower rather than the sun itself was this week's fusion card challenge, which is pretty flippin' awesome. and i'm not just saying that because i got a shout-out there last week for my "nifty" card; although i did, and i thank them for it!

meanwhile, after painting, outlining and fussy-cutting the sunflower and fashioning a blue painted-n-stamped sky background by masking bits of my watercolor paper with cloud punch-outs, i went to mount the whole thing on a background of patterned paper only to find that i didn't really like ANY of the (many, mannnnnnnnnnny) combinations i tried. finally, jeff looked at it sitting on my table next to the glossy cardstock base i'd already made and said, "you know, i really like it on just the plain white card." needless to say, being as he is both my true love and husband of twenty-nine years, i immediately ignored him and tried many many MORE patterned paper backgrounds, before giving up and using the white afterall. i like it, though. i think.

something i'm absolutely positive i like very much indeed is the gallery of beautiful and inspiring sunshine projects my fellow DT-mates have made, which are on display for your viewing pleasure at SOS! ♥

Monday, September 29, 2014

just a few...

...daily paper prompts; but some of them are pretty cool. by the way, if you were only going to attempt one of these from the whole entire summer, might i suggest you grab some graph or ledger paper and try number 56? i think you'll find it seriously hypnotic and quite possibly addictive... in a GOOD way!

guest-hosted by anika starmer
i think i could easily sit and make repeating patterns like this until... well, realistically it'd only be until my hand cramped and spasmed past the point of ignoring it, which, in practice is about 45 minutes. but after an ice pack and some wrist exercises i'd be right back at it!

this was going to be just free-formed hills and sky until i started wondering if i'd be able to make a recognizable/interesting tree by tearing up paper scraps. turns out, i could; good to know!
my watchword for this summer, in terms of art, was definitely "FUN"! come to think of it, my watchword in terms of life this summer was also "FUN". but why limit it to summer? i think fun can easily be a four season word, right? possibly  more study is required, and i'm happy to put in the hours in the spirit of pure scientific enquiry. you're welcome, darlings!

happy monday!
here's an idea: how 'bout we all spend today 
trying to make that NOT be a contradiction in terms, ok?!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

kissin' cousin cards

in the mood for a brace of romantic anniversary cards? awesome, because that's what i have today! lately i've been making quite a few pairs of cards which are similar, but different. mostly because i've been running a bit behind in my card-sending duties, and it's really time-saving to use the same set of supplies for more than one project, isn't it? here's the first:

ingredients for both cards: patterned paper (mostly scraps): papaya art, k and co, dcwv, basic grey, pink paislee; florals: prima; rhinestone flourishes: recollections; pearl brad: american crafts; scraps of lace from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine 

i was inspired by the white-on-white goodness of case study #210, as well as the banner and the metallic sparkly elements-- (though mine are more silvery than gold).

my second card is closer to the colors of the inspiration card, but i think i morphed quite a bit further away from the spirit of the design by adding a little bit of loose paper weaving and a lot of machine stitching: 

i had intended to place the heart in the center of the card; and i'd cut out a little banner sentiment for this one, as well, but i couldn't make it fit comfortably along with the flower and the rhinestone flourish. obviously, me being me, given a choice of leaving off the sentiment and leaving off the bling, it didn't take long for me to ditch the sentiment, lol! plus, it allowed me to "save" something for the inside, so it didn't go to waste.

speaking of waste, it's an autumn sunday that's not actively raining out; my plan for the next month or so is to sneak in as many outside exercise walks as possible before being relegated to the treadmill for the entire winter, so ciao for now, darlings! ♥

Friday, September 26, 2014

the statue of liberty is NOT left-handed (observations and tips for working with ink jet transparencies)

today on the daisy yellow blog, i'm talking about using one of my favorite "non traditional" art supplies: transparency sheets made specially to use with an inkjet printer! i ♥LOVE♥ printing photos and other elements on them to simultaneously add my own personal content plus another texture and finish to my work! my daisy yellow piece references the images and results; this companion piece talks about the more practical/mechanical aspects of using them. please feel free to ask any questions via email or in the comments!

the transparency element is the yellow hibiscus photo. i lightly penciled the word "aloha" on the paper below the transparency, and hand-stitched along it with embroidery floss.

1. first things first: inkjet transparencies aren't cheap. sorry. i realize that the price alone will deter a lot of crafters, and i completely understand not wanting to dive into something you may not even like working with! keep an eye out at garage sales (where i often scoop up 2/3 full boxes of bargain office supplies) and maybe occasionally cruise the clearance aisle at your favorite discount office supply store. meanwhile, if you work for a business which uses transparencies, or know someone who does, you might be allowed to buy or borrow a few to experiment. it can't hurt to ASK, right?

2. since they ARE pricey, i like to use the entire 8.5x11" sheet every time. i add "filler" in the form of re-sized photos, digital papers and brushes, real-life or digital collages i've made, scans of vintage postcards or book pages... whatever's laying about my computer's desk top when it's time to print is fair game! (sometimes the weirdo "extras" turn out to be cooler than the well-considered image i intended to print in the first place, lol!)

the transparency element is the chandelier, from the first digital brush set i ever bought c.1999 from scrap-n-fonts; the great advantage of digi is you can print things any size, any color, and you never run out!
(for the record i STILL love this set!)

3. all inkjet transparencies have a smooth side and a pebbly side... it's the latter which is able to hold the ink and allow it to dry. this is actually the "back" of the sheet, so if your image contains text you're going to need to flip the whole thing. most printers have a dialog box somewhere --it might be in a printer menu called "paper settings" or "print properties"-- that you can check to do this easily. it could be called mirror image, reverse printing or iron-on transfer mode.

the geisha is the transparency element in this one, i scanned her from an old book 

4. i've occasionally forgotten to do the above, and it's not the end of the world. you CAN place the transparency pebbly-side-up on your work, with very little chance anyone except you will notice. in "borderline" cases, without text, you can also just go ahead and use the image in reverse. the title of this post alludes to the fact that i've done this, even with fairly well-known icons! :)

three index-card sized examples from last year's ICAD, the transparency elements are: the 1950's lady, the chandelier (told you i love those!) and a real-life collage of random text papers i scanned. 

5. if your printer has a setting for transparencies, you should definitely click it, or the one for high gloss paper; this allows the printer to use exactly the right amount of ink to avoid smearing!

6. forget about using proprietary store-bought scrapbooking transparencies (such as the late great hambly) in your ink jet printer. the ink will literally never dry, and it WILL smear... maybe even while it's still inside the printer.

the face is from a magazine, the transparency here is a very subtle watercolored pink background paper from a discontinued vera lim digital kit. I placed some sequins between the layers before sewing them to the ledger page... it's kind of a new take on a shaker card.

7. ink jet transparencies are not archival, if that kind of thing matters to you. some may even go slightly yellow over the course of time. (we're talking YEARS, though!)

8. you may need to fiddle about a bit before you find a brand that works perfectly with your particular printer. my old hp photosmart liked 3m brand transparencies best, they're a tiny bit thicker than normal and have a little "gripper" strip at the very edge which helped the printer grab the slippery surface better to draw it into the printer. my epson artisan 837 prefers highland brand, which have a thin cover sheet of paper attached to the reverse side of the transparency. it may be possible to "fool" your printer by using a thin line of repositionable adhesive to add such a sheet to a brand that doesn't have one.

The butterfly's a store-bought transparency; you don't HAVE TO create your own elements... but it IS fun! :)

9. the good news is that the print quality seems to be uniformly good and once you find a style that your printer is willing to "grab" your worries are over. it's POSSIBLE that you might find transparencies made for copiers or laser printers that will also work in your ink jet, but you would definitely want to try before you buy!

the letters are old heidi swapp acrylics that i frankly didn't like anymore until i outlined and layered them over an enhanced and stamped photo; gave them a whole new vibe, because staples are COOL, lol!
10. a few thoughts about adhesives: dryline glue (the kind in taperunners and ATGs) and gluedots will be very hard to spot under dark ink, but may show on lighter colors. wetter glues, gel medium and some brands of gluestick MIGHT smear or erase the ink, so be sure to test on a corner! i use hardware a lot: staples, brads and eyelets are all fairly awesome and give a nice industrial vibe. i also love to sew on top of transparencies since it adds such a nice texture. (if you sew only on three sides you have a transparent POCKET... just sayin'...) photo corners also work not to mention washi tape. like everything else in creative life, sometimes a "problem" like this inspires the most creative new ideas!

looking for cheaper alternatives to add customized clear elements to your work?

A. the clear labels for inkjet printers do a similar job of letting you layer a computer-printed image over something else. i buy the 8.5x11" sheets, but seldom work with a single image greater than about 4x6" since sticking a BIG label onto paper without wrinkling can be challenging. oh and test a scrap of the label on your preferred background because sometimes they can look cloudy; as a rule of thumb lighter backgrounds will look more seamless.

the small square bird collage tucked somewhat behind and to the left of the vintage landscape photo is a real life piece i scanned in and printed on an avery clear label made for inkjet printers. it's layered over some neutral text paper.

B. bits of clear plastic packaging (such as the salad bar containers from the grocery store or the extra-heavy zipper bags for freezers) won't work in your printer, obviously, but you can use permanent markers to draw, doodle, letter and sketch on them. the same is true for pre-printed transparencies and acrylic embellishments, actually, you can alter those to make them into your very own creations!

this window is also made of packing tape, with smooshed up cellophane and magazine bits inside and a photo + doodles + machine stitching on top. the best part of journaling is you can make WHATEVER you want using ANY ingredients you choose!  so g'head... walk on the wild side!!!

C. clear packing tape can be used for image transfers, which can be incorporated in a similar way to digital transparencies; but you can also use it to "float" real life elements over... or within... your main design. i like doilies, sequins, and bits of cellophane, especially. if you work neatly and flatly (see doily pic below) you get a window... if you scrunch and wrinkle the tape (see pic above) you get texture and interest. now that's what i call win/win! :)

this page is in last year's DPP journal, right before the "shaker card" one i showed you earlier. i cut a hole in the page and made a window of clear packing tape with doilies sandwiched inside; but plastic packaging, cellophane, or a commercial transparency would work just as well.

i hope this post has given you a bit of practical advice for using inkjet transparencies in your creations, and maybe even inspired a few new ideas you'd like to try. i'd love to see what you make, so please leave me a link! ♥

we three (or more!) kings

this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we have an awesome challenge, but admittedly a pretty lame title. what we want to see are cards that use at least three different patterned papers, we just couldn't come up with any other christmassy trio, so "three kings" it is! anyone who's been to this blog even once will have sussed that i *love* combining patterns, so this one was right up my creative street! and here's my card now:

patterned papers: mme, 7 gypsies, k and co, basic grey, glitz design; glitter sentiment banner: papaya art; glittery vintage style embellishment tag: k and co; medallion cut from snowflake lace paper: ki memories; fabric poinsettia: micahels; snowflake dies: spell binders; (hidden) brad holding snowflake stack together: we r memory keepers; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i've actually got six different patterns here, can you spot them all? the my mind's eye blue background is pretty obvious, as are the two different reds by 7 gypsies from which i've die-cut my "appliqued" quatrefoils. pattern number four is the very pale white-on-white by k and co which makes up my card base; whilst the last two are snowflakes in my focal point stack: reddish/pink polka dots by glitz down towards the bottom and pale blue swirlies by basic grey up towards the top!

i've used the current cardabilities sketch (#107), which i think you'll agree is a pretty foolproof way to make an AWESOME holiday card!

how many patterns can *you* combine in one card? or perhaps you'd prefer to choose exactly three and make them work? the choice is yours! meanwhile, come and see what stephanie has done and start planning your own bid for pattern combination domination at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

assembling a ransom note is more work than you'd think!

just as well i didn't have a desire to excel in the fields of kidnapping or bank robbery, eh? for one thing, the letter V is thin on the ground of magazine publishing. ...who knew...? also, it's harder than you might realize to assemble a mix of fonts with enough variety to be visually interesting whilst remaining clear and easy to read. (though possibly such stylistic considerations are less important to the professional ransom-note writer.) meanwhile, here are some new DPPs, including #48: ransom note!

this was the prompt i guest-hosted at daisy yellow last year! i was totally thrilled to be asked by tammy, and i love that my idea is now part of the official DPP rotation. this one came together super-fast, i found almost everything i wanted as i was flicking through a box of vintage bits and bobs. i did cut the sewing pattern lady out specially, and the sheet music is from a VERY old, completely falling apart, coverless music book that one of the volunteers at a recent library booksale very kindly put aside to save especially for me! thanks, phil, it's totally my favorite!

i used a bunch of jar lids out of our recycling bin for this, plus some black craft paint that had gone too gloppy for brushing on, but was awesome for stamping big textural circles; i filled them in with messy watercoloring.

i suppose the advent of digital technology has probably done away with the traditional ransom note? do modern kidnappers text their demands using an untraceable cellphone, or perhaps make a youtube video? "hey larry! our clip has 17 likes from the FBI!"

i wish i had put the magazine's title-- "clamour" --at the top, despite the fact that there was a little text from the original page that needed to be covered up, but otherwise i kind of like this.

guest hosted by jana bodin
ok, yeah, i cheated slightly by putting my text inside the negative space, but i realized after i got going that the buddha shape was proportionately too large to do anything else. it looks cool, though...

dpp051: borders
guest-hosted by kim hesson
in retrospect, a 4x6 card was probably too small to hold all of the different border ideas i wound up using, but kim hesson came up with so many cool examples, i wanted to try them ALL! (so i did, as you can see!)

a pretty simple collage of random "white stuff" that was nearby. one of the ways i "fill up" a page of photo paper (or sticker paper or inkjet transparency) is to add random images like clip art, digital papers and instagram photos. at the time of printing, i had NO IDEA how i'd ever use a 1.5x1.5" photo of the guggenheim, i just liked it...

guest hosted by denyse whelan
having been pleasantly surprised by the unexpected coolness of a *square* mandala earlier this summer, i thought a triangle-based one might also turn out fab. i still believe that to be true... it just didn't happen this time, lol! :) totally fun and engrossing to draw and paint though; which is the main thing, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

more DPP, part uno

a couple of weeks ago i fell a bit behind in the daily paper prompts over at daisy yellow, and i caught myself being very critical inside my head. so i stopped. stopped being critical, i mean, not stopped doing DPP... though sadly i confess there is enough of the "all or nothing" mentality about me that for a nano-second that idea occurred to me. which is when i realized that i was being silly and told myself to knock it off. and for once i actually listened to me, which was cool! here's the thing: i started the project because i love it, and find it hugely valuable, creatively. to quit doing it, or to put some artificial time limit on it, makes it into a chore, not a pleasure. it also totally cheats me of the joy, which is an awfully foolish thing to do to oneself. i mention all of this because i'm pretty sure i'm not the only one who gets hung up on stuff like this and if this scenario sounds familiar to you, feel free to read this paragraph to yourself out loud. or read this cool thing i serendipitously found online. or heck read some lolcats! then go make something you *WANT* to make, purely because you want to make it! :)

acrylic paint + an old gift card = joy

dpp041alt: scraping paint, digitally 
this is what happened when i hit "auto" in the lighting levels dialog box 
whilst uploading the photo above!

i realized in the midst of this that i hadn't hand-stamped anything all summer! how is that possible?! 
(in my defense, i did do lots of hand-lettering, which is also fab.)

this prompt was guest-hosted by teresa robinson, who encouraged us to go free form and try lots of experimental styles, so i went crazy and it was awesome! :)
(yes, that's my real journal/planner that i write in every day; and yes, i had also drawn a mustache gallery down one side of the page that week; and no, said mustache gallery is not even close to being the weirdest thing in there, lol!) 

another page that i made in my planner because this really is a "wishlist" of house things i want to do... someday. i guess i should explain that my planner is a book i sort of use as a record of things i've done or want to remember, plus lists of things i want to try, doodle experiments, pasting-in of cool stickers or tags or adverts postcards that came in the mail. it's like a really lumpy, totally laureny version of project life, i s'pose. (i do also have a small date book that i carry around so to write down appointments and things, but that's a different book.)

i just could NOT resist the temptation to add the stitching at the end; sometimes i need to sit at the sewing machine and "doodle" i don't know why, exactly, but i try to go with the flow.

i was torn between making a sun, making a sunflower, and making some sun-themed text art, so i combined them all, because in art there are NO RULES, just RIGHT! ok, actually, i'm pretty sure that's outback steakhouse... but it also works really well for an art manifesto, so just go with me here, ok, darlings? thanks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

it's curtains for all of us!

shower curtains, that is, for everyone playing along at shopping our stash this week; because the challenge is to make a card or project inspired by your shower curtain! a bit unusual, perhaps, but once you stop and think for a bit you might be as intrigued as i was, since shower curtains have really come a long way in the last few years, haven't they? i happen have a couple of cool ones, actually, but my favorite is the one in our master bathroom, so that's what i've used. it's right here in the background of my project photo:

plain white giftbag from michaels; lots of lace and ruffles from my stash; florals and leaves by recollections; everything attached with my trusty low-temp hot glue gun using elmers hot glue sticks

so obviously you can see that in honor of the layers and layers of ruffly white shower curtain i've made a giftbag with layers and layers of ruffly white trimmings! if this idea is a bit familiar it's because i made a couple of similar bags this spring for my mother and aunt. lovely husband jeff requested an additional one to hold his mom's birthday presents, which we'll be celebrating with her next weekend, and of course i was happy to oblige.

just a couple more details on our SOS challenge: if you don't have a shower curtain of your own to love, you can use any of the SOS crews' curtains, they're all featured on the challenge post. whatever shower curtain you do use, of course we'd like to see a photo of it, so be sure to include it in your post in order that we may see how gorgeously you've interpreted the inspiration! meanwhile, speaking of gorgeous, you can see some amazing projects by my DT sisters at shopping our stash!

Friday, September 19, 2014

sneaking in under the wire

i hardly ever schedule a second post the same day OR put more than one card into the same post, but i actually made multiple cards in one night (!!!) and they were based on sketches which end tonight. so here we go:

fish ATC created on strathmore watercolor paper with koi paints and faber castell pit extra superfine marker; patterned paper: studio calico, basic grey, american crafts, bo bunny; alphabet stickers: recollections; stick on pearls: kaisercraft; white glossy cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i've made at least a dozen versions of "best fishes" birthday cards, probably more, just for my brother alone. it's a standard "guy card" motif for me and the part i love best is seeing how many different ways i can interpret the idea. this is definitely the first time i've ever drawn and painted my own fish, however, so i'm a bit proud of that. though i hasten to point out that i was very strongly inspired by these fab fishes that kira nichols posted some time ago, which i found via pinterest! for the layout of this card i used sweet sunday sketch #236 which is rather awesome AND happened to have some little circles that fit right above where my fish's breathing bubbles were!  (i flipped the sketch so the fish ATC--which i'd painted a few weeks ago--would be facing INTO the card; that is one of my design pet peeves, i don't like to send them staring... or in this case swimming... off the card.)

here's another idea i use quite a bit in guy-card-making, the "oh snap" belated/camera card. i've even done a paper-pieced camera before, back in april for an SOS challenge; luckily i had made a couple of extras, so i'm using one up now:

patterned paper: american crafts + scraps of A LOT of different manufacturers: making memories, my mind's eye, crafty secrets, basic grey, love elsie, sei, etc; brads: basic grey + oriental trading co; white glossy cardstock: ranger; label tape: dymo; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape
the layout is retrosketch #132 and i've used it pretty faithfully, actually:

well, that's me signing off for the night! hope you've had an utterly awesome international talk like a pirate day! happy cARRRRRRd-making ye scurvy landlubbing dARRRRRRlings! :) :) :)

possibly the most minimal card i've ever made!

seriously! i've made a card with like three things on it, and it's practically FLAT, as well! what the heck is going on here?! well, this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we're making cards using an utterly brilliant CAS sketch by our lovely friend amy tsuruta, so i suppose i was inspired by her fine example. see?

patterned paper and chipboard snowman: october afternoon; tag: cosmo cricket; sentiment sticker: echo park; snowflake brad: oriental trading; glossy white cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox;

it also helped that the october afternoon paper has that whole gorgeous xmassy cityscape on it that i just couldn't bear to cover up. in fact, to fit the most of it on that i possibly could, i made a tall card, something i don't do often enough. but now let's have a reminder of amy's fabulous sketch:

for full details on how to link up your own holiday masterpiece and to see amy's and stephanie's cards, check out the original post at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ darlings!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

meet dave the minion!

i've made some pretty cute amigurumi in my time, but i think that nephew matthew's seventh birthday present... dave the minion, by name... may have attained the apex of both adorability and authenticity in the yarnly arts. but you tell me:

mind you, any crocheting project that involves as much fussy finishing* as this one really NEEDS to result in utterly mindbending cuteness AND be immediately recognizable as what it is meant to be; in this case a supporting actor from matthew's favorite movie, despicable me

there were quite a few uber-cute minion patterns available online. i chose this one, which is by patricia castillo and available for *FREE* on her blog, partly because her sample was so awesome, partly because the instructions were clear and well-written, but mostly because, in addition to dave, a pattern for the fabulous minion cupcake was also included. this might've been a factor even if, for last year's birthday party, matthew and his mom had not made special minion cupcakes for all his guests. but in fact they had, so that sort of sent me over the top!!!

one of the very coolest things about my sister** is that when her kids want to make something, it really *IS* the kids doing as much of the work as age, ability and safety will allow. obviously amie guides them in choosing projects that are attainable for them and she's definitely hands-on supervising the entire time; but the kids are reading (or listening carefully to) the directions, measuring and mixing ingredients, setting the timer for the baking process and... best of all... decorating the finished masterpiece! everyone's favorite minion cupcake from the party last year was the one in the middle of this picture, he of the dashing mustache! he was, in fact, matthew's first attempt at a smiling mouth. there was a brief moment in which it was possible that a just-turning-six-year-old baker miiiiight have been a bit disappointed with the slightly wonky result until his sous chef/mama suggested he put another little line beneath, and make it a MUSTACHE! because in minion-making, and indeed in life, perspective is everything, darlings!!! :)

*for those of you who don't crochet, let me essplain that every color of yarn and virtually every cake-n-minion part you can see in the photo represents a different, separate and often tiny (!) piece of crocheting that needed to be stuffed, sewn on and have its two ends securely woven in. this process literally took an entire evening! yowza! hard to argue with the results, tho! aloha, minion dave!

**admittedly, she's an elementary school teacher with a master's degree in early childhood education, but also she's just an AMAZING mom by any conceivable standard. ♥

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

hello, my name is NIFTY!

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "who's who" and what we want to see is the image of a person somewhere on your project. so you could make a layout full of family photos, a canvas with one special portrait, an ATC with a stamped image of a person, or even a card with a beautiful lady you cut out of a vintage sewing magazine! if the last idea sounds a bit far fetched to you, i should probably show ya my project, lol!

vintage simplicity sewing lady and order form from my stash; patterned paper: crate, basic grey; glossy white cardstock: ranger; doily die: cherry lynne designs; ink: colorbox; adhesives: xyron, elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

it's no secret that i *LOVE* vintage paper, right? afterall, i have enough of it to assemble the themed ephemera packs i sell in my etsy shop. if you happen to be on the east coast, you can also find them at paper anthology in kenvil, nj and the ink pad in manhattan two awesome bricks-n-mortar papercrafting shops that i guarantee you will love exploring! for a while i've had paper packs that feature sheet music, foreign text, christmas and nature-related goodies; right now i'm in the midst of trying some new compilations and one of my faves is called "crafty lady". it's a mix of old and new paper goodness with an artsy theme and i've tried to represent a lot of different creative hobbies like sewing, knitting, painting, lettering, macrame, photography... well, let's just say there's a little bit of everything i could think of... and a few things i'd've never imagined, but found anyway, lol! :)

the lady on this card (and the luscious pink order form behind her) came from a 1965 simplicity sewing magazine i totally fell in love with at a thrift shop. i thought she'd be the perfect star of a funky girlish birthday card, and i stand by that decision. this particular card is going to anna and barbara and the gang at the ink pad, who have just celebrated their 16th anniversary. i think you'll agree that's quite a feat, especially in the wild retail world of new york city; so if you're planning a trip to the area i hope you'll drop by and wish them a happy sweet sixteen!

to celebrate the fact that my lovely friend amy tsuruta is back on the fusion card challenge blog, i've used both aspects of the current challenge, which consists of a rather fab sketch AND an inspiration photo with a gorgeous (pink!) 1960's corvette stingray:

speaking of challenges, i hope you'll join us at SOS this week; meanwhile you can check out what m'lovely colleagues have made to inspire you! ♥

Friday, September 12, 2014

sketching along!

this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we are very lucky and very pleased indeed to have our lovely friend, the uber-talented amy tsuruta, hanging out and making holiday cards with us; and we're even more thrilled that she's brought along one of her fabulous sketches! see?

i mean seriously: how fabulous is that? you can take that sketch ANYWHERE, am i right? from totally minimal CAS to ultra-mega-maximalist goodness. guess which of those i chose, lol!

patterned paper: bo bunny, mambi + vintage sheet music and doily from my stash; florals and leaf: petaloo; gold foil sentiment: best creation; woodgrain doily sticker: echo park; reindeer die: tim holtz; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, xyron, sewing machine

ok, yeah, there's lots of pattern and lots of layers here, but then, i'm a girl who likes lots of... well... everything! and as far as i'm concerned, christmas is the PERFECT time to over-embellish! :)

amy's and stephanie's cards are much more restrained, yet absolutely mouth-watering and i know they are going to inspire you to make xmas cards galore. so head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ right now, darlings!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

i ♥ watercolor paper!

i realize i've said that a few times this summer, but somehow i just keep marveling over what a huuuuuuuuuge difference it makes to paint on paper that's actually meant to get wet. i know, i know, it's such an obvious point, but somehow it keeps surprising me, lol! here are some more daily paper prompts, many of which involve watercolor paper, and indeed, watercolor paints, as well!

dpp035: messing around with paint with natasha white
this was meant to be more of a jackson pollock inspired exercise, but since i wound up doing it in my living room at 10pm, it became less "flinging of paint" and more "brushing on of paint in quite a random blendy hopefully still interesting way". i did add some splattery bits at the end, after placing my paper in the kitchen sink. (because i'm pretty sure the expressionists never had to clean up after themselves!)  :)

dpp036: pen testing
i got a set of pens at michaels this summer, and i did the "line test" at the front of my book, but you can't always tell from that exactly which pen you want in a given situation. so this time i drew a little bird and did some lettering with each one. i like to put things like this and my color charts right in the watercolor sketchbook i'm most likely to use, so they're easy to refer to.

dpp037: block letters
ok, not to be obnoxious, but i really like this one. probably because after i'd done the lettering itself i couldn't resist the temptation to add in the heart and rays and "finish" it! (which, yeah, is soooo not the point of this exercise but every once in a while a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!)

dpp038: color grid with hanna andersson
i kind of cheated on this one, or at least, i went off on a tangent; but since i think that somewhat *IS* the point of the exercise, i just rolled with it. i still really like the idea of masking bits before painting and then going back and adding something in the negative space. so i did! :)

dpp029: paint lines
i did have distinct lines at the beginning of the exercise, but midway through they became blendy stripes. so again... i just rolled with it...

dpp040: create a list
here's a time when watercolor paper wasn't the best choice: if you want smooth script from a fine nibbed pen, you really need paper that's totally smooth. good to know!

happy thursday, everyone, 
let's get out there and win one for the gipper!!! 
(or, you know, if you aren't sporty just g'head and have a moderately 
nice day in which you're kind to yourself and others!)