Friday, October 31, 2014

happy halloween, to all the boys and ghouls!

and kittehs!

and PUG-kins!!! :)

ok, halloween's over, time for christmas!

(the above is a dramatic re-enactment of what happens to me, chronologically... or perhaps chrono-ILL-logically... every year between october 31st and december 25th. in real life there are no cute kittehs or costumed pugs, but the speed of transition is EXACTLY right!)


ok, seriously, it is friday, which means it is a ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ day, which means i really do have a christmas card! you may recall that our current prompt is called, "not a CREATURE was stirring" and that we want to see cards with some sort of holiday-related, non-human lifeform (ie: reindeer, moose, robins, penguins, elves, snowpersons, fairies, monstas, etc) but i'm pretty sure i'll surprise you with this week's entry:

patterned paper: basic grey, making memories + part of the packaging from some basic grey holiday stickers; cardinal stickers: little b; sentiment flag: basic grey; glossy white cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox; adhesive: elmer's gluetape runner

i know! sweet, sensible little cardinals!!! didn't see THAT coming, now did ya?! yeah, me neither! but when i was at paper anthology* last week, i found these uber-cuuuuuuute, totally detailed little felt dudes, and i just couldn't resist. they are tiny, though... like only an inch or so long... and i thought i was either going to have to make a mini polaroid or break out my slide frames, when i saw the current retro sketch (#138):

which made me realize they could also look nice on a tag; as it turned out, they perched on top of the sentiment banner i ultimately selected, but this illustrates pretty well what i love about sketches, they don't JUST give you a great idea of where to place everything on your card, sometimes they even help you choose the right ingredients!

speaking of ingredients, i happen to know that someone** at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ has made an utterly awesome xmas yeti card (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) that you really reallllllly have to see right now! ciao, yeti-loving darlings! ♥

*paper anthology is celebrating their THIRD ANNIVERSARY this weekend with make-and-takes, prizes, cupcakes and lots of other fabulous fun, so if you are within driving distance of kenvil, new jersey, you should totally come and play!!!

**and obviously, we know it's not me, so that leaves miss stephanie; did you ever envisage the week in which i would have sweet happy normal little cardinals and she'd have an xmas yeti??!?! because i can tell you right now that prospect NEVER occurred to me, lol! (i like it though!) ♥

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

when in doubt, add a cupcake!

that pretty much sums up my card-making philosophy. bling is good, too; and banners. it never hurts to use your favorite color, either; which in my case, is ♥PINK♥! (i may have mentioned that before...?) bearing in mind all of this advice, i sat down last night and made this:

patterned paper: crate paper, k and co, october afternoon, basic grey, prima; tag: pink paislee; velvet floral: petaloo; banners: crate paper; pearl flourish and border punch: recollections; twine: doodlebug; lace from my stash; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, glue dots, sewing machine

hey wait, i almost forgot the most important factor of all: start with a really awesome sketch! stuck on u sketches happens to have a brand new one, which i really love. i've condensed it quite a bit to fit everything inside my six inch square card... in retrospect, i wish i'd've left a little more white space, actually; but i think you can still see the bones?

there's loads more inspiration at stuck on u sketches, plus they have other challenges each month, for using diecuts and even some cool pocket-scrapbooking themes. you should probably go and check those out, darlings! ♥

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

we're playing *AROUND*... shopping our stash this week with a challenge we like to call, "rollin' rollin' rollin"! there are a few ways you can approach this one, so here are the official details:

Use round images 
(but NOT just one round die-cut!) 
Make a circle card 
Use a brayer 
(it's long and round and rolls) 
Use a Western theme 
(since we got this idea from the theme song of Rawhide!)

isn't it fabulous to have choices?! i went with a round card, because as much as i love making those, i tend to forget about them until someone says, "hey let's make round cards!"; i tried to bring in a bunch of smaller round elements within the circular design of the card, just because it seemed like a fun thing to do, and i liked how they looked:
patterned paper: k and co; florals and leaves: prima, recollections and petaloo; heart brad and pleated circle thingie: american crafts; "party" sticker and 1" circle punch: ek success; gem brad: oriental trading; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

my round cards generally don't open. i know some cardmakers feel like that's cheating, but i'm not a person who loves engineering for its own sake, so i'm willing to send the equivalent of a very fancy postcard (but in an envelope, of course!) and recipients frankly don't seem to mind! also, one of my favorite ways to trim a round card is with a border of scallops and if you don't bother with a hinge, you don't have to worry about having details glued to the top of the circle, woohoo.

i usually make the large circle using an old fashioned geometry-class compass, and i create my scallops by punching a whole bunch of small circles out of scraps. to attach those, i run a line of gluetape around the back of the large circle, and stick them on so that about 1/2 of each smaller circle shows on the front. when all the circles are attached, i run another line of adhesive on the inner edge and cover the back with a second large circle, to hide the "mechanics" of the scallops. i often machine stitch around the perimeter of the front of the card, as well, but that's really just for decoration.

be sure to check out all the fabulous design team projects at SOS and link up your own masterpiece! ♥

Sunday, October 26, 2014

if you thought ♥PINK CHRISTMAS♥ was a stretch...

...howsabout PINK HALLOWEEN*???!?! that's the current challenge at the sisterhood of snarky stampers, and it's a doozie, don't you think?! technically, it's called "H is for Hopeful Halloween" and you can choose between making a breast cancer awareness themed project OR a halloween project... but... if you choose halloween it has to be MOSTLY PINK!!! i have to admit this one even gave me pause, and there are not alllllll that many crafters who love pink as much as i do! but eventually, i came up with this:

haunted house cut from some dcwv patterned paper; tombstones etc fashioned from doodlebug and 7 gypsies scraps; moon and background created using artist's loft watercolor paints on strathmore watercolor paper... then stamped with rhonna farrer flourishes using ranger archival ink; other stamps: purple onion text + tim holtz crackle pattern; sentiment** and bats drawn with faber castell pitt pens in medium, superfine and extrasuperfine and shadowed with a grey tombow marker; gems: recollections; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

i took my cue from a couple of the (awesome!) SoSS design team projects, in which the designers used pretty traditional halloween images, but used pink where a more traditional rendition would most likely have gone with orange or gold. after that, it was pretty easy! the only fiddly bit came after i decided to color the plain white windows of the patterned paper haunted house a sort of orangey yellow. i actually finished and assembled the whole card and went to bed, thinking i was done.

the next morning, when i saw it again, i found the window color just completely jarring. luckily i realized that it would not be that hard to affix small pieces of pink patterned paper over each of the windows. so that's what i did. it took a while to cut allllllllll those little suckers out and fasten them on, but i definitely think it was worth the effort!

and now i hope you will check out the amazing projects at SoSS and consider linking up your own ♥PINK HALLOWEEN♥ masterpiece before noon on friday, october 31st!!!

*yes, i will at some point get back to a normal schedule in which projects that are NOT pink get made and shared, i promise!!! :)

**i've been looking at, reading about, and practicing hand-lettering all summer, and this blog post is one of the best ones i've found for creating "faux" calligraphy; the secret is to write the whole phrase in your THINNEST pen, leaving some extra space around the letters; then fill in just your downstrokes with a thicker line. easy, peasy!

Friday, October 24, 2014

it's not officially xmas card season...

...until you've made the first MONSTA CARD!!!

patterned paper (mostly scraps): american crafts, love elsie, doodlebug, cosmo cricket, my mind's eye, creative imaginations, sei; monsta from paperchase giftwrap backed with a scrap of cardstock and fussy cut; white glossy cardstock: ranger; cloud punches: fiskars; pens: faber castell pitt superfine and extra superfine; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, *now* it's officially xmas card season! it's also time for a brand new prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and this fortnight it's "not a CREATURE was stirring" for which we'd like to see any type of non-human being in a holiday context. some examples? reindeer, robins, the grinch, penguins, elves, the christmas bunny, polar bears, moose, snow people, yeti, flamingoes... ok, you get the idea, right? surprisingly (or NOT!) i chose a monsta, and in honor of the mindblowingly AMAZING turnout for pink christmas 2014* the color choice was pretty obvious, too! :)

i used sweet sunday sketch #241 to guide my layout, in what is admittedly a bit of a loosey-goosey way (or perhaps "laureny" is the better adjective, lol?) but it's a fine sketch indeed and can easily withstand my hijinks!

my favorite xmas monstas are still the ones from my original roll of paperchase giftwrap and they're admittedly on the dinky side. one of my favorite ways to bring a bunch of small elements together is to make them into a little scene inside a faux polaroid. i save the offcuts of photo paper and glossy white cardstock just for this purpose. you can make them ANY size, of course, but most of mine are pretty close to the actual size of  the actual polaroid photos from my (1960's and 70's) childhood.

and now why not check out miss stephanie's awesome "creature feature" card and start planning your own bid for holiday card domination at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

*thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who linked up gorgeous pink cards, told their friends, and generally made this the ♥ BEST ♥ YEAR ♥ EVER ♥ for pink xmas!!! you guys raised more than $500 for the susan g. komen foundation and we could not possibly be more proud or more grateful!!! ♥♥♥

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

rantin' and raven

the current prompt at collage obsession is "RAVEN" which is appropriately cool and seasonal, don't you think? for some reason i had a hard time with it, though. partly because i had too many ideas; which is not something i like to complain about, but in this case a lack of focus hindered me. luckily, in the midst my dithering period, i slammed my thumb in the storm door!* i don't mean "luckily" in the traditional sense, because it really hurt quite a lot; but in the midst of the epic moan which ensued, the phrase "rantin' and raven" popped into my head and after that my collage came together quite easily!

fairly often i make a random paper collage as a background for a more traditional focal point, but this time i swapped that around, and i really like how it came out. i confess to "cheating" a bit... my original version of the raven had fewer papers, and they were not ideally spaced, so after cutting him out i strategically tore and glued on a few more. the "rant" was typed on a cool old accounting ledger card i got at a garage sale, using my vintage typewriter. it's kind of more a moan than a rant-- i just typed a whole bunch of stupid, trivial things that were bugging me, until i had filled enough space to hold the raven. as a bonus, i actually felt a lot happier after i was done complaining, lol.

check out the readers' gallery at collage obsession, there are some beautiful (much more traditional!) takes on the halloween and gothic theme there! ♥

*which... ok, yeah, i am most definitely a figure of some repute amongst klutzes, but still... HOW do you even do that??! even my lovely husband, in the midst of his sympathy, couldn't help but question the logistics of such a move. arrgh.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

you are so ♥BOO-tiful♥ to me

this week at shopping our stash we're making halloween cards, which is pretty handy, since that happy holiday is next week; but if you're ahead of the game, you could also make any other type of card using halloween colors. because we're all about options at SOS! :) here's my (halloween!) card:

witch icon inspired by bo bunny's boo crew paper (see below); patterned paper: basic grey, bo bunny, dcwv, crate paper, doodlebug, recollections, pink paislee, paper co; floral: prima; ink: colorbox; pen: faber castell pitt, superfine; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i started thinking about this assignment last week, right after the new wednesday challenge went up on the simon says stamp blog* and it's color coordinates this time, which are perfect for halloween, so that's what i wanted to use.

i knew i had scraps of bo bunny's "boo crew" paper left-- an old fave of mine and EXACTLY the right colors-- but the pieces were pretty small.

the more i looked at the sweet little witch, though, the more i thought how she would be great on a card, if only she were bigger. then i started thinking about the shapes that make up the witch: her face is a circle, set in a cupcake base... i could totally make those. eyes? tiny hole puncher circles inside small punched circles... consider them done. the hat and the hair needed a couple of tries to sketch on the back of the correct colors of patterned paper, but they were pretty basic; when she was all assembled, i set her on top of an orange circle, like on the paper, and set the whole thing on top of some basic grey purple spider webs et voila: one uber-cuuuuuuuuuuuute card-sized witch!

speaking of cute, i happen to know my fellow SOS dt members have some awesome halloween creations to inspire you, so why not stop by and check those out?! ♥

*where they were nice enough to randomly choose my peacock feather card from last week as the prize winner for a $50 gift certificate! can you say SHOPPING SPREE?! :) thank you very much, simon says stamp blog!!! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

getting cocky...

...PEA-cocky, that is! apparently, i'm in a bit of a peacock phase, but it's not entirely my fault. the other day stephanie sent me a link to the current challenge (#236) at just add ink, where the inspiration board looks a bit like this:

cool, right? of course you don't have to do anything with an actual peacock on it, but i had so much fun drawing and painting the peacock feather card last week, that i was feeling pretty literal. i didn't really want to make the same thing again, though, so i started playing around and doodling and then i thought, "i know! i'll make a peacock mandala!"* so i drew all the shapes:

and it looked pretty good, but peacocks are all about COLOR, aren't they? so i filled in with marker.**

and then last night i made the whole thing into a card, because hey... it's what i do! :)

peacock mandala drawn with faber castell pitt pens (in S and SX) on strathmore watercolor paper; colored with tombow markers and highlighted with a sakura white gelly roll pen; patterned papers: cosmo cricket and otober afternoon

the challenge at just add ink closes on wednesday morning, so you still have time to get cocky... PEA-cocky, that is! :) :) :)

*which wouldn't necessarily be most people's first thought, unless you do ICAD every summer, where there are always at least a few mandala prompts thrown into the mix, and it turns out they are pretty addictive!

**i had intended to use watercolors, but the mandala became so full of tiny, fine detail, that markers seemed a little more controllable to a person with middle-aged eyes at 10:30pm.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"hex" is another word for evil spell or curse

that's an etymological fact i'd advise you to remember should you ever embark on an afghan, purse, or other crocheting project with a hexagon motif that needs to be attached on all six sides. here's a little rule of thumb for you: if the sides of the individual hexagons buckle or warp at all as separate patches, the effect will be multiplied tenfold when they're all sewn together. if you can't produce totally flat motifs, start over-- perhaps with a completely different pattern-- or go do some nice relaxing trigonometry, or have a root canal, or something *FUN* like that. trust me. not that i'm bitter. ok, maybe a little. mostly because, in common with all truly difficult crafting experiences in which the finished product is less than ideal irl, the totebag in question photographed beautifully:

yeah. that's the last straw, really, isn't it?!

i should probably mention that i made this as a gift for someone very special, i chose the pattern based on how gorgeous the colors were, and i do not begrudge one second of the time it took, i LOVE making things for my friends and family! the problem is that the pattern was not well written, or even accurate; something which might be a tad annoying if penned by an independent knitter sharing it on ravelry or her own blog. this was a professionally written pattern, offered by a yarn manufacturer--NOT lion brand, i hasten to say; i've never had a bad pattern from them! :) if i had paid for these instructions, i'd be naming and shaming the source in public; seeing as it was free, i'm just going to shut up but warn you to read any hexagon-based yarncraft patterns all the way through quite carefully, especially the finishing instructions and if you think to yourself, "i'm not sure that makes sense" or "they don't seem to provide much in the way of advice or photos for making the hexes into the bag" ...RUN AWAY!!!

the good news is, i learned A LOT from this project, which is why i decided to post it, with rants included. i learned that i'm pretty good at figuring out what to do in the absence of sensible instructions; i learned the best way ever to make super-sturdy crocheted handles for totebags*; and, especially, i learned that there's serious satisfaction involved in finishing a job successfully, even if you don't really love how it came out. i also learned exactly why "hex" is another word for evil spell or curse. :)

*the one awesome thing in this pattern as written was the method for constructing the handles; they are solid, sturdy and will not (as commonly happens with crocheted handles) stretch out and get saggy over time. well-done, handle pattern writer! now could you have a word with the cretin who thought up everything else? ta v much!

Friday, October 17, 2014

daniel craig wants you to make a ♥PINK♥ xmas card!

ok, that's a big huge lie, for which i should be heartily ashamed. but i'm not, darlings... not even a little bit... because the reason i wanted your attention is so i could remind you we're celebrating PINK CHRISTMAS at JINGLE BELLES and you still have time to link your pink holiday cards! want to see my card? admittedly, it's not a patch on the bodacious beach bod of mr. d. craig, but it's not too shabby i think:

patterned paper: autumn leaves/rhonna farrer, k and co, making memories, echo park (seniment) and vintage sheet music from my stash; poinsettia die: boss kut; brad: my mind's eye; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, scotch glue stick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, yeah, it's much less pink than my one from last week, but i wanted to make the point that you don't need to make an all-pink card, by any means. again i've used mostly non-holiday products, except for the beloved/hoarded rhonna farrer tree and the echo park sentiment. i'm not sure i've EVER used pink and mustard together, but i really like it, so my guess is you'll be seeing such a combo again in future!

speaking of the future, i hope yours includes checking out stephanie's and jessi's newest pink creations and then linking up your own PINK CHRISTMAS card at JINGLE BELLES!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ORANGE you glad i didn't say banana? :)

sorry, i don't know why the famous banana knock-knock joke has been stuck in my head since i read that this week's theme at collage obsession is orange... but it is... hence the title; sorry if i got it stuck in your head now, too. you could use this to knock it out, but then you'd have minions singing ersatz beach boys harmonies in your head for all eternity. which is not necessarily a bad thing, is it?*

ok, so, on to the collage: my new motto is, "when you don't know what to do, do it really REALLY enthusiastically!" so i have. see?

giant orange dahlia trimmed from an old calendar; ed hardy bird stencil cut from a hindi magazine page; gothic arch made of basic grey "solid" paper, decorated with flower mandalas and swirls using faber castell pitt pens (S and XS) and a white gelly roll on top; later i popped it onto a sheet of copier paper and trimmed around it with deco scissors because the two orange shades matched so well you couldn't really see the arch enough. (b/c YEAH, that's how scientific my collage process is, lol!)

yeah. it's verrrrrrrrrrrrry orange! this is one of those times that i love every single ingredient, but i'm not sure they really gel together terribly well as a collage. i absolutely loved drawing the mandala doodles, though, so i'm calling this a win for process, if not outcome. which totally works for me! check out the awesome orange readers' gallery at collage obsession, won't you? ♥

*if you answered "yes" to that question, then for pete's sake DON'T click the link b/c seriously the minions are the most powerful earworm in the history of song. worse than "the name game" even... which up until now i didn't think was possible!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

hello, sweetie!

ok, so, that's NOT a doctor who reference, though i did briefly consider making a "river song" birthday card for my friend josh.* but in fact the title is actually this week's challenge at shopping our stash for which we'd like to see a "sweet" theme of some sort, in honor of saturday, october 18th being "sweetest day". you could make something for your "sweetie" and/or include images of sweets like cupcakes or candy on your project. guess which i did? yes, indeedy, sweets... especially cupcakes... are kind of a favorite of mine, both artistically and nutritionally, lol. here's my card:

patterned paper: amy tangerine and dear lizzy- both by american crafts, creative imaginations, basic grey, echo park, crate paper; birthday tickets and make a wish journal card: october afternoon; cupcake sticker: echo park; brad: american crafts; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

once again, i've used the current (oct 10) sketch at stuck on you sketches. i'm really loving those lately, i suppose because i like to make cards with lots (and lots!) (and LOTS!) of layers, and their sketches seem to have just the right level of detail for me. of course, most normal folk would use these on a 12x12 layout; but obviously "normal" is not a word that gets used very often in the laurniverse! :)

i'm sure you'd like to jump on over to SOS now and see what the other DT members have made, i assure you it's always a trip worth making, but this week we have the lovely ira huberts as our guest designer, so be sure to leave her some love! ♥

*i might still do it, actually, i mean who wouldn't like a river song birthday card??! unless you've never seen doctor who and you have no idea what i'm talking about, in which case i suppose it'd fall a bit flat, wouldn't it? yeah. sorry. my friend josh would definitely love it, tho! :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

this is the card i *THOUGHT* i was making yesterday

there's always a convoluted story, right? my friend kim ♥LOVES♥ peacocks, and i try to work one into her birthday card or gift most years. when i saw the current fusion challenge, i immediately thought how well the colors and vibe of the inspiration picture would work. i also thought that i'd like to try to draw or paint something original for kim's card, so that it would be more personal. i wasn't sure i was up to painting an actual peacock, but i saw some very cool peacock-themed art on pinterest* and i thought i might be up to creating a stylized peacock feather to use as an accent to the woodgrain pattern and flowers of the inspiration picture. a couple of hours later i was still drawing swooshes and doodles and realized that i just wanted to make the whole panel into its own card. so i did! :)

peacock feather illustration painted with artist's loft watercolor paints on strathmore watercolor paper; outlines and doodles made with faber-castell pitt pens (medium, superfine and extra-superfine points) and accented with black machine stitching and some "blackbird" chalk ink by colorbox around the edges; yellow patterned paper by maggie holmes for crate paper; blue rhinestone from martha stewart crafts

it took a while to choose the patterned paper mats for this, not-- as i sort of half expected-- because nothing looked good; au contraire, i was spoiled for choice! blues looked good, greens looked good, black and white worked really well, etc. finally i settled on this subtle yellow flower pattern, and i think it makes the detail at the top of the feather really pop. i did quite a bit of machine stitching on this, but sadly it doesn't show up in the photo; it's lovely and textural in real life, though!

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog

i'm entering this in the simon says stamp wednesday challenge: use watercolors, although i almost feel like i should warn you NOT to click that link unless you have about an hour to marvel over all of the incredible DT and readers' gallery projects... seriously AMAZING work going on over there... yowza!

*being fairly new to drawing my own images, i find that it really helps me to see what other people have done. is that weird? i don't want to copy anyone's work, but just seeing how different artists conceptualize an idea, the different techniques and colors they've used, usually gives me an approachable place to start. in this case, i specifically liked the minimalism of this this peacock ogee pattern; the inset heart and swoopy swirls of this peacock illustration; and the doodley close-up aspect of this peacock feather. my finished painting looks nothing like any of them, really, but they were all very inspirational! ♥

Sunday, October 12, 2014

woodgrain & flowers... perfect together!*

this is the first time i've participated at fusion card challenge without doing both halves and it feels a little weird** but i have to say i really like the way my card came out:

patterned paper: crate, k and co, echo park; glossy white cardstock: ranger; daisies: martha stewart; blue floral and gems: recollections; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

for those of you who haven't played at fusion (which... you should!) it's a two-part challenge each time, in which we're given an inspiration photo and a sketch, and offered the choice of using either of the elements individually or fusing them together. up until now, i've done the latter, but this time (oct 9: hardwood florals) as much as i like the sketch, i somehow wasn't succeeding in making it work.

you can it's an obvious case of operator error, because it's a great sketch! but since the whole point is that you can mix and match, i grabbed the current retro sketch (#136), and used that instead.

i think this might be my aunt marilyn's birthday card. i'm debating between this one and the fall colors card from SOS this week. i always like to make an especially nice card for aunt marilyn, she's my dad's only sibling, and she's always been an especially keen fan of my cards, which she displays and shows off proudly to visitors. which... i don't think i'm ever going to outgrow the feeling of how cool that is, actually. how old is too old to no longer want to hang especially fine artwork on one's parents' refrigerator door, do we think? i'm pretty sure it's not fifty darlings, but maybe that's just me, lol! :)

*it's my contention that those of us who lived in new jersey during the 1980's will never be able to hear this phrase without also hearing former nj governor tom kean's distinctive, slightly lispy voice, as illustrated in this nj tourism ad, which ran for several years; not that non-new jersians needed to know that, but for some reason, i thought i'd tell you anyway. you're welcome!

**you know, kind of like having dinner with daniel craig, but announcing midway through that denzel washington will be joining us for dessert. trust me, darlings, that did not go down well!***

***that's a total lie, of course, but apparently i'm in a very silly mood today, so let's just go with it, k? possibly the result of waking up after a good night's sleep (!) to an almost aggressively beautiful autumn sunday... with the emphasis on *SUN*... i think it's gone to my head... ♥

Friday, October 10, 2014

it's the most wonderful time of the year

the most wonderful time of the ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ year, that is; i'm always extra excited for the first prompt of october to come along because it's always ♥PINK CHRISTMAS♥! thus, not only does this particular fortnight produce-- in my opinion-- some of the best holiday cards of the whole entire year, it also allows us to salute all the courageous women in our lives who are fighting or have fought breast cancer, whilst also helping us raise money and awareness for the susan g. komen foundation! once again this year, stephanie and i are each donating $2 for every card linked to this prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and we're hoping to reach our highest total yet, so if you have a few minutes, why not start thinking about xmas cards and help support an awesome cause? all we ask is that you make a new holiday card (or two... or ten?) with some noticeable pink on it, link it to the pink christmas post and spread the word. we've made the latter as easy for you as possible, by creating a cool pink challenge graphic* and composing a paste-able blurb that you're welcome to use on your own blog:

The "Pink Christmas" prompt will run at JINGLE BELLES from 12am on Friday, October 10th to 6pm on Wednesday, October 22nd; as in previous years, Stephanie and Lauren pledge to donate $4 per linked-up card to The Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The only requirement is that all link-ups be NEW holiday cards with some noticeable pink on them... so in other words, not just Rudolph's NOSE, lol!

Participants may use sketches, combine challenges, and include any other colors in addition to pink; you can showcase however many cards you'd like in one post, don't worry, we'll still count every single one of them towards the total!

Thank you very much for your support!

ok, now that all the shameless self-promotion is over, do you want to see my card? before i show you, i should mention that you definitely don't have to make a card that's ALL pink... but you can if you want to... and (of course!) i did!!! :)

patterned papers (mostly scraps and hardly any xmassy ones!): doodlebug, teresa collins, echo park, my mind's eye, glitz designs, fancy pants, making memories; rhinestone snowflake: want2scrap; snowflake die: spellbinders; ribbon and ball trimming from my stash; decorative scissors from the paleolithic crafting era: ye olde michaels; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

in case you're thinking to yourself, "hey lauren, i'd love to join in but i don't have any christmassy papers or embellishments that are pink!" well, that's ok, because apart from the little strip of echo park patterned paper that says "happy holidays" there are absolutely NO pink holiday products on this card! i drew an ornament shape, raided my file of all-occasion pink patterned paper scraps, added a few white and silver snowflakes, found a tiny bit of pink ribbon and VOILA: pink christmas!!! it's that easy, and it's LOTS of fun, so i hope you'll join us, because this is one of those times that more definitely IS merrier!

to that end, our lovely friend, cardmaker extraordinaire jessi fogan is joining us, so i hope you'll pop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ too see what she and stephanie have made and start planning your card (or cards?!) for ♥PINK CHRISTMAS♥!!!

*ok, yeah, it's really just our regular JINGLE BELLES 2014 header tinted pink in photoshop with some extra words on top, but still, it looks pretty good, dontcha think? :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

taste the (yarn) rainbow?

ok, that title doesn't quite work, and i apologize if i've given you a vicariously fuzzy tongue. what i really meant to say is, "hey guys! i've made another crocheted granny stripes purse in rainbow shades, this time for niece lindsay's eleventh birthday!" but that's kind of long for a blog post title, dontcha think? hey i know what, how 'bout if i stop talking and just show you the purse? yeah, that'll work:

you probably remember that i made a rainbow striped purse (based loosely on this pattern) and some crocheted headbands for niece madeline's birthday in may, and it was quite popular. when polled, the rest of the girls (and some of the (unpolled) adults!) immediately chimed in with, "yes i'd like one for my birthday, too, please!" luckily, these are super-easy and lots of fun to make. i also made some headbands for lindsay, in both girl and doll sizes; plus i've included yarn and instructions for a few more of those since she's actually a pretty good crocheter herself, now!

i always use lion brand's vanna's choice for kid projects because it's a nice acrylic yarn that comes in lots of colors, is easy to find, washes well, and makes a nice tight sturdy fabric, especially using a J hook; all of which is very helpful when making amigurumi and other small doll/toy items. i like using one brand consistently because it means that leftovers get used up, and i never have to run out and buy an entire skein just to make two small grey goggles for minion dave.

last year, i made a palette of my vanna's choice colors, which has been the subject of some (ok, lots) amusement (and teasing!) amongst my acquaintances. i defend it with the knowledge that it's often saved me ages rooting through the big yarn basket trying to figure out if i have a particular color, if that color will match this color, and if i do run out, what was that thing called, anyway? also, in my personal pantheon of "weird stuff i've done in life" frankly this would not even make the top 40. so there! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

shopping our (COLORFUL!) stash

this week's challenge at shopping our stash (#172) is called "the most colorful time of the year" and we are looking for cards and projects full of autumnal color. easy peasy, right?! especially if you happen to live in the northeastern united states, like i do, where the trees are already starting to turn splendiferous shades of red, orange, yellow, gold, rust, brown and... well, you get the picture. speaking of pictures, want to see my card? please say, "YES" because i'm pretty happy with this one:

patterned paper: tim holtz, k and co, basic grey, anna griffin; floral with leaves and border punches: recollections; cardstock diecuts: k and co; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, gluedots, sewing machine

i used a mix of brand new and really old supplies; not to mention the current cardabilities sketch, which i really love:

speaking of love, you NEED to go and see the rest of the DT cards right now, they are all wonderful, and be sure to say hello to to the SOS gang, ok?! ♥

Monday, October 6, 2014

yet another thing to love about dina wakley... her amazing skill as a teacher. if you ever get a chance to take one of her classes, GO! you will not be sorry, i promise. i've actually been lucky enough to do so twice, the most recent being last month when the lovely sandi taloumis and i met up in new york to spend the day at the ink pad's teaching annex with the divine dina and about 20 other awesome artsy ladies. the most important thing to know is that dina is as ♥FUN♥ and funny as she is talented-- which is definitely saying something!-- so you might be enjoying yourself so much you don't really notice that she also has a proper lesson plan, a bunch of tasks for you to try, a LOT of cool knowledge to impart, and the professionalism to it make all work in the allotted time without ever calling attention to the fact that you're not all just blissfully and aimlessly playing around. it's very impressive!

one of my favorite things we learned is a technique dina calls "trace face" in which each member of the class created a unique portrait using the same photocopied face and... wouldja believe... carbon paper of all things! you would think such an experiment would result in two dozen pictures that looked exactly the same, but NO, every single one was different and amazing! i've been playing around with this method ever since; most recently i've used it on top of a background of somewhat randomly glued vintage paper bit that i created for the "diva" theme at collage obsession:

collage made of cut and torn vintage paper bits from my stash; stencils: heidi swapp, ranger, julie balzer; stamps: dina wakley, glitz design; inks: ranger archival and distress in various colors plus colorbox chalk inks for facial features; other: black stabilo pencil, staples brand carbon paper

here it is again, alongside the vintage vogue magazine model i used as my tracing image; i have to say i feel like i didn't do well on the mouth, but otherwise i'm pretty happy with this one:

meanwhile, here is my face from class, which i also really love. i should probably mention that the darkest lines on all of these pages are made using my new favorite tool, a black stabilo pencil smudged lightly with a wet paint brush, the results are soooooooooo cool!

as it turns out, you can use this technique with ANY image, it doesn't have to be a face. a couple of weeks ago, i traced an avian friend from a vintage bird book on top of a random painty background i made in class and it turned out well enough that i made it into a card for my mom:

so to sum up: if you ever happen to see the words "dina wakley" and "teaching a class near you"... drop everything and go sign up immediately. you can thank me later, darlings! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

one card, two challenges, wahey!

something that has always been an unquestionable fact of my crafty life is that i make a lot of "girly" cards, i make the nieces' cards waaaaaaaaay too early, and i absolutely always have extra pink, purple, flowery, ruffly, blingy ones. so i'm not sure how it happened, but the other night when i was wrapping lindsay's birthday presents and stowing them in the special birthday bag i made, i suddenly realized i did not have a card for her! yikes! luckily t'internet is always there for me in a time of need and after a little searching i found some challenges to combine and i made this, which i am proud to say the birthday girl really loved:

patterned paper: echo park, k and co, basic grey, glitz design, american crafts; bird and xoxo stickers: basic grey; big dotty flower sticker: sei; floral: prima; banner: pink paislee; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i used the current deconstructed sketch (#171) for my layout:


and curtain call inspiration challenge provided the multiple ideas of using pink as well as the hearts/love theme via their current challenge, SMOOCH:

dontcha just love it when a plan comes together?! yeah, me too! hope you are having a wonderful sunday morning, we are enjoying a storybook-style "autumn in the northeast" sort of day, complete with bright sunshine, super-blue skies and a cool breeze to distribute the colorful falling leaves evenly alllllllllllllllll over the yard! (guess what we're doing this afternoon?) ciao, darlings! :)