Friday, January 30, 2015

shape up for the holidays!

i'm sure i've mentioned before how much i looooooove shaped cards, which makes it a bit of a puzzle that i rarely make them until there's a challenge calling for cards other than the traditional rectangle or square. luckily, stephanie and i actually get to set the prompts at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ so we make sure to tackle shaped cards once a year, and for 2015 this fortnight is *it*! here's what i made:

digital snowglobe image from "an icy christmas" by studio flergs and amber shaw, used as a template to paper-piece my card. patterned paper: basic grey, studio calico, crate paper, my mind's eye, shiny silver paper of unknown origin and lots of tiny scraps of white and off white for the layered tree; reindeer flight die: tim holtz/sizzix; xmas tree #2 die: sizzix; clear stickers: sentiment/winter by SRM press; sheer ribbon from my stash; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

one of my favorite things to do with digital images and clip art is use them as templates for "real life" cards. when i saw the gorgeous snowglobe in the "icy christmas" kit from amber shaw and studio flergs, i immediately thought, "SHAPED CARD!" i could have used the image exactly as it came, but i wanted to make my card a little more personal, so i printed a copy on plain paper sized like a 5x7" photo and used it to paper piece the sections; then popped a diecut reindeer, layered-and-sewn tree, and festive greeting into the resulting snow globe.

An Icy Christmas by Amber Shaw & Studio Flergs

i have a teeny secret to reveal before i send you off to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's gorgeous work: most of my shaped cards, including this one, are basically just very fancy postcards; i know it's easy enough to stick on a hinged back to make a "real" card, but usually i just write my festive greeting on the back, and since no recipients have ever complained about this to my face, i decided that meant i could skip the boring engineering part in favor of extra embellishing time... so i did. and now you know! :) :) :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SOS186: love me do

with valentine's day just around the corner, we at shopping our stash thought the most useful thing we could do for our fellow card-makers right now would be to have a challenge that called for love-themed cards. so we did! here's what i made:

apart from the background sheet by echo park, all of the patterned paper here is composed of leftover scraps and offcuts from other projects. don't you just LOVE IT when that happens?! :) i was going for a woven look without actually having to weave, so i just layered the strips at right angles using a bit of dry adhesive on the back of each, added the occasional strip of washi tape to hold all the strips together, and machine stitched around the edge of the heart at the end for good measure. florals: prima and maya road; heart brad: joann essentials; ink: colorbox; border punches: recollections + ek success; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

in 2002, our family got the best valentine ever, when niece riley elizabeth was born on february 14th! it's hard to believe it's been thirteen years and an almost infinite number of heart-bedecked cards since then, but both the calendar and the lovely girl herself assure me it's the case!

i was inspired by both the sketch and the hearts theme of the current fusion card challenge, "two hearts":

i'm also linking this card up with the simon says stamp wednesday challenge where simon says have a heart!

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

meanwhile there are many more fun and fabulous projects awaiting you at shopping our stash, why not drop in and see them right now, darlings?! ♥

Sunday, January 25, 2015

building a better mandala

or, at least, building a different mandala; since i quite liked the one from my SOS card earlier this week on which i used my spellbinders' "blossom two" dies as the scalloppy layers in the mandala. but i thought of a new way to combine store-bought card-making supplies with my own hand-drawn and hand-painted bits, so (quite immodestly!) i like it even better. first i'll show the card and then i'll essplain:

patterned paper: glitz design, k and co; mandala built on strathmore watercolor paper and painted with koi paints, with a layer of copic marker swirls and sharpie white paint pen accents; xs black outlining pen: faber castell pitt; border punches: recollections, ek success; rhinestones: heidi swapp, martha stewart; pearl accent (recolored blue with a copic marker): k and co; chalk ink: colorbox; adheisves: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

ok, so, do you see the sliver glitter paper outlines? there are two: one's at the very center, surrounding the blue gem; the second is close to the outer edge. those outlines are actually a couple of the offcuts from blossom- shapes i used on the first card. i trimmed neatly around the edges so i'd just have a sort of blossom- or mandala-shaped border. i didn't realize until i sat down to write this how hard it'd be to explain, so instead of writing more, why don't i just show you?

in case you're thinking, "hey lauren, since these are nestabilities, couldn't you just use the two closest sizes to get a similar effect with much less effort?" well yes, though, as you can see in the shot above, it does make a much fatter outline; also i like the idea that the version featuring hand-cutting means this technique could be used with ANY kind of die. (so yeah... you'll be seeing this again, darlings!)

anyway, after i had outlines i liked, i glued them to a square of watercolor paper, and filled the interior with watercolors, markers, circles punched from scraps of patterned paper, and some sticky-back bling. then i outlined everything with a super-fine-point black permanent pen. et voila!

i was inspired by the current mojo monday (#381) sketch for my layout, tho i did slide the mandala over to the side AND made a wide (rather than tall) card, but it's still an awesome sketch as i'm sure you'll agree:

i hope everyone has enjoyed a lovely weekend. we had snow yesterday, we expect more snow tonight, and my mom is coming to stay for a few days, so i'm looking forward to a busy week, spent largely indoors. whatever you're doing this week i hope it's ♥FUN♥ and if you encounter some nasty weather, i hope you stay warm and safe! xoxo

Friday, January 23, 2015

more "NEW" goodness

we're still celebrating and showing off our latest and greatest supplies at JINGLE BELLES this week, as we "bring in the new"! here's my card:

NEW stuff: crate paper glitter snowflake, my mind's eye pearl brad, basic grey snowflake border sticker, SRM sentiment, and best creations silver glitter paper; OLD stuff: fancy pants, pink paislee and my mind's eye patterned paper, kaiser pearls, felt snowflake and silk flowers from michaels

i've got a real mix of old as well as new this time: my crate paper glitter snowflake, my mind's eye pearl brad, basic grey snowflake border sticker, SRM sentiment, and best creations silver glitter paper are all new; the rest of this card is stashy goodness, and the background paper was SCRAPS-- which, it's hard to see, even in real life, but there are actually two different patterns of the same shade making up the blue panel; the seam is just under the snowflake border! i have to (quite immodestly!) say that i love the way this one came out, and i especially love the stitched swirls that i sketched very lightly with a pencil before outlining with white thread in my sewing machine.

i used the current sketch at cardabilities (#115), which explains why the layout is rather fab, doesn't it?

meanwhile, there are some gorgeous cards in the readers' gallery at JINGLE BELLES, not to mention a lovely new one from miss stephanie-- be sure to check it out!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

it's been quite a week... which i've learned many interesting facts. for example: did you know that a high-pressure fuel pump costs $900 and is not covered under a powertrain warranty? nope, me neither! something i *DID* know from past experience is how important it is to regularly back up everything on your computer, especially photos and your itunes library. sadly, i did not follow that wise advice recently enough; i shall be throwing myself on the mercy of the geek squad later today in hopes they can retrieve at least some of the stuff from the hard-drive of my now sadly unplugged desktop computer. most of yesterday evening was composed of my attempts to right the situation myself, via several "hard" reboots, thwarted attempts to run my anti-malware program in safe mode with networking, and two "blue screens of death". since the latter constitutes my official limit as amateur computer repair person, i'm off to seek repair or replacement of said machine from professionals. i hope to be blogging and emailing uninterrupted from my laptop, but if you don't hear from me for a few days, i'll be down at best buy, pacing the tech-center lobby like an expectant parent. :0

and now i'll leave you to back up your hard-drive and run anti-virus + malware scans, darlings!!!  (seriously, GO, DO THAT!!!)

ETA thursday night: the car is back in action, the new computer is up and running, the old computer is in capable hands with hopes of data retrieval; we are reminding ourselves that all of the above were merely *INCONVENIENCES* and how lucky we are to have such fix-able problems! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SOS185: not your normal paper

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "not your normal paper" and here's leslie's description of what we want, "use a specialty paper you had to have: glitter paper, foil paper, honeycomb paper, corrugated paper, canvas, cork, etc." you probably already know that specialty paper is like catnip to me. i find it hard to resist handmade paper, sparkly paper, laminated paper, woven-bamboo-like paper... well, basically if it's fun and funky and paper, i either have it or i want it, lol. so this was a great chance to use a few different kinds on my card:

specialty papers:  silver glitter=best creation, ancient red paisley velvet paper=sei, flocked yellow background paper, blue spot-laminated paper=k and co, pale pink self-adhesive fabric paper=dcwv, silver metallic cardstock=staples; vintage ledger from my stash; frankensteined bits of rhinestone flourish i cut apart so they'd fit better: recollections; flower/mandala dies: spellbinders nestabilities; circle punches: ek success; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, so, you can see the glitter paper right off, and i think you can maybe tell that the big paisley on the right hand side of the yellow base paper is flocked. (if not, you'll just have to believe me when i say, "it's flocked!") there are also a couple of other "special" papers here which are probably harder to spot. the orangey-red paisley is actually some ancient sei velvet paper... and may i just take one extra minute here to say, "i still LOVE that stuff!"... but apparently i was the only one who did, because i've never seen any other version of it by any other manufacturer. go figure. the pink mat layer is some very sheer, self-adhesive fabric paper by die cuts with a view, which, again: i've only ever seen this one variety, one time, in a joann fabrics; admittedly it's slightly fussy to work with, being very thin and wanting to stick to itself more than to any other surface, but if you use it in small quantities it looks really nice. finally my cardbase is a metallic silver cardstock that i found at staples near the big pieces of oaktag and foam core that are used for presentations and class projects and things.

however, my favorite part of this card actually has nothing to do with the papers; my favorite part is that, several years after buying nestabilities blossoms two dies, i discovered that whereas i don't like them much as flowers, i *DO* totally love them as layers in a mandala, woohoo! :)

for the layout of my design i used the latest sketch (#344) at sketch saturday:

be sure to check out this week's gorgeous SOS design team cards, since each and every one has a brilliant way to use some beautiful specialty paper!

Monday, January 19, 2015

it's not overused, it's ♥RECYCLED♥!

ok, yeah, i make no secret of it, there are a few silly card motifs that i use over and over (and over!): best fishes is one of them. monstas are great for birthdays as well as christmas. and i can never resist a good pear anniversary pun. the proliferation of adorable camera-based imagery in the past few years has led me to making a number of belated birthday cards with "oh snap" as the sentiment, like this one and this one... and THIS new one right here:

patterned paper: basic grey, american crafts (dear lizzy and amy tangerine), echo park, creative imaginations; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; labels: dymo; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i suppose i could apologize for making different versions of the same thing so often, but that would imply that i'm sorry, and/or that i intend to change. since neither happens to be true, i think we'll just skip it. this particular version of "oh snap" is for my brother-in-law, rich, whose birthday has pretty consistently been in january for as long as i've known him... (which is-- holy wow! 30 years!!!-- ok, i've totally freaked myself out by doing the math on that!) ...despite which, i'm not sure i've ever been on time for it. sorry, dude! if it's any consolation, feel free to tell everyone you're a year younger until the card comes, k?

i used this week's retro sketch (#149) to guide my placement; ok, yeah... as usual... i kind of put my own spin on the sketch. :)

in addition, the simon says stamp wednesday challenge is looking for guy cards this week:

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

speaking of guys and embarrassing neglect, lovely husband jeff recently reminded me that he had somehow still never seen nephew matthew's and my favorite film, despicable me 2, so i ordered a dvd and we watched it friday night. you know how sometimes you re-watch a movie and think, "why did i LOVE THIS so much?!" well, that totally did not happen at all with DM2, if anything i think i love it more now. of course, i've had the madly infectious pharrell williams' song "happy"* stuck on an un-ending loop inside my head ever since, but that's a small price to pay for true cinematic genius, right darlings?! ♥

*a song which happens to have perhaps the most joyfully catchy video ever made; if you've never seen it and you're in a place you can sing along and maybe dance a tiny bit without being fired or made the center of an intervention, i highly recommend you go watch it right now. if not, for pete's sake, DON'T CLICK THE LINK!!! :) :) :) 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

best (watercolor) fishes

if you've read my blog for a while, you know that my friend gina is one of my all-time favorite artists, and one of my fave people, generally, for that matter! sadly, she has left off blogging in the last year or so, but i hope she'll be back, eventually. meanwhile, we email and text and plan future thrifting expeditions! i mention all of this to give you the backstory on today's card: having started, last year, to do some drawing and painting of my own original images, i wanted to make a uniquely painty card for gina's birthday. especially when i realized that one of the things i've gotten pretty good at drawing are funky fishes:

koi watercolor paints on strathmore paper; faber-castell pitt pens in s and xs nibs for outlining; white sharpie paint pen for bubbles; cardbase made from paper accents black glossy cardstock

i happen to know miss g. loves fish*. she draws them, paints them, and has carved amazing fish stamps like this one and this one! the latter was the most direct inspiration for my card... but let's face it... it's nothing like what she does. for one thing, her fish are stylized versions of actual fish you might see in an aquarium, whereas mine is smiling! in my opinion, you don't see enough smiling fish in nature, but i suppose modern life is stressful for everyone, and we shouldn't judge.

i've mentioned before that when i want to try to draw something, i usually look for examples of how other people have done so, to gather some ideas that i think might be within my capabilities. this process typically takes a few days and is being done "in the background" of life; often while i'm on the treadmill or exercise bike, i'm scrolling through images online and letting them marinate in my head. i tend to do stylized line drawings, ink them in with permanent pens, then go mad with watercolors. in this case, i looked at a lot of gina's own fish stamps and things, then i did a few different pinterest searches. some specific things i liked and thought i might be able to interpret in my own way were the happy faces of these cute goldfish, the scales and pink splashy coloring of this koi, and the layery waves of this doodly ocean. i wound up doing the fish and the ocean separately, so that i could fussy-cut the fish and pop it up on foam tape for more dimension. i briefly considered machine stitching along all the waves of the ocean, but luckily, jeff talked me down.

i was inspired by the colors and general swirly-ness in the current (HA! fish! current! geddit??!?!?! ok, sorry, nevermind...) curtain call inspiration challenge board:

oh and there's one more thing i have to show off, only because A) my other big obsession recently is hand-lettering** and B) i hardly ever do anything awesome INSIDE my cards, but for once i actually did! go, me!

it's such a grey and rainy day here in the northeast, i should probably go out and check our backyard for stray fishes at this point! fortunately the temp has gone up to a blistering 36F and the especially dangerous icy road conditions of this morning have passed. i'm hoping the rain will stop before it gets cold again tonight. meanwhile, wherever you are, darlings, if you're driving in wintery weather be especially careful and especially safe! ♥♥♥

*speaking of gina and fish, a couple of years ago, she designed some totally awesome digital papercrafting kits, (which sadly are no longer available) including one called "of the water" which i happen to own and still absolutely adore! i was honored to be on her design team for that project, and in the course of writing this post i found some of the cards i made using her kit, in this post and this onewhich i happen to think hold up pretty well. nothing like a little stroll... or in this case swim... down memory lane, eh? :)

**this style of wonky faux-calligraphy is one of my faves, i stole the idea and technique from this cool tutorial on the jones design co blog!

Friday, January 16, 2015

bring in the new..., that is, at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! we're unwrapping the toys that santa brought us-- and maybe a few we bought for ourselves in the post-xmas sales-- and putting them to use right away making some smashing holiday cards. join us, won't you? here's what i made this week:

patterned paper: basic grey, love elsie; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; journal card: crate paper; florals: maya road and recollections; acrylic snowflake: heidi swapp; bling swirls: recollections; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i actually put a bit of a dent in the holiday section at crafty steals just before xmas, when they had an extra discount and flat-rate shipping. i nabbed some goodies from pebbles' "home for christmas" line, basic grey's "aspen frost" and crate paper's "sleigh ride" collection, to name a few. none of these are brand new lines, but that's ok with me, especially when there's a deeply discounted price involved! (i am a thrifty girl at heart, lol!) i got the cool pink velvet flower on my last trip to paper anthology, it's from maya road and i'm pretty happy to still have three more of those left!

this rather pared down design was inspried by the current retro sketch, which happens to be #148:

swing on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see what stephanie has made and then go pull out some of your new goodies and make a lovely holiday card!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

another "hidden" gem

although to be completely accurate, this is actually the first card i made for our "hide and seek" challenge at shopping our stash.

patterned paper: k and co, crate paper, basic grey, sassafras, kaiser, my mind's eye; hey... i've just realized... this card is ALL PAPER... with only a little bit of prima ink around the edges, and a bit of adhesive and stitching holding everything together. ok, i did use two of my favorite recollections border punches, and the heart was cut with a cuttlebug die. (the cupcake is my own creation, of which i made a cardstock template a few years ago; this particular version has a somewhat fluffier/taller bit of icing because i was trying to make it cover the base better.)

can you guess where the hidden element is? ok, yeah, the cupcake top pulls up to reveal a little message:

and right there you have both my favorite part AND my least favorite part of the design: because i love the IDEA of the cupcake top pulling up out of the cake/base; but in reality, it's only left a very small space for a sentiment. of course i thought of the perfect alternative to this scenario... pretty much the exact minute that i finished making the card! :) for the record, my epiphany was thus: i should've made the cupcake base a lighter color, and then hinged the cupcake top; that way i'd've had a space the same size as the cupcake top on which to place a sentiment and also write in-- or at least sign-- the card. ah well. i'll make that one on another occasion.

meanwhile, you still have lots of time to play "hide and seek" with us at SOS, and i hope you will, darlings!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

anybody for a quick round of hide and seek?

because "hide and seek" is the title of our challenge at shopping our stash this week, and the brief is to incorporate a hidden element, like a tag in a pocket, or a pull tab that reveals a message. alternately, you could build a design around a picture of someone playing hide and seek. i went with the first option.

except for the gorgeous kraft shipping tag from amy tsuruta, the scrap of creative imaginations graph paper on which i've used my quickutz butterfly die, and an EAD rub-on sentiment you'll see in the photo below, everything here is vintage goodness. there are some red stamps from stephanie, some doilies that i-- ahem-- "liberated" from a cupboard in my mother's dining room, bits of sheet music, scraps of a colorful tourist map of greece, chinese newspaper, part of a ledger page... a little bit of everything, really, just the way i like it! :)

of course the photographic catch-22 of such a challenge is that if you've done a good job hiding the hidden element, it's invisible in the picture. so let's consider this reveal a multi-photo story, ok? having seen the first pic, you may very well suspect that the tag with the butterfly is going to pull out of a pocket made by the layer of chinese newspaper. it does, as a matter of fact, so well spotted there!

for that matter, it can be taken all the way out of the pocket. one could even write a personal message on the back of the tag, which might be considered to constitute a second hidden element, i suppose. but since i haven't written anything there yet, i think it will just remain hidden for now.

something i'd never even attempt to hide is my admiration for the rest of our awesome SOS design team, and since they've all done an especially fabulous job of interpreting our challenge this week, i shall send you off to see them now! ciao, darlings! ♥

Sunday, January 11, 2015

it's a fact of crafty life...

...that the projects you like best always photograph worst. or at least, it's a fact of my crafty life, anyway. possibly because i loooooooove to use lots of shiny and reflective elements? on the other hand, to prove the universe has a sense of humor, i sometimes find that projects i don't care for at all wind up looking pretty fab online. and since this fact has helped me out more than once, i guess we'll call it even. just bear all of the above in mind when you see my card, and mentally give it 15-20% higher of a cool factor, k? thanks.

"muse" sticker: papaya art; patterned paper: pink paislee, k and co; tiny thin mats of silver glitter paper: best creations; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; flowers: prima, recollections; brad: my mind's eye; bling circle: (ancient) heidi swapp; circle punches: ek success; inks: colorbox chalk + ranger distress; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i spent an embarrassingly long time on this one, too; especially when you consider that i started with the current cardabilities sketch, so my job was kind of short-cutted from the jump. 

i think it's a pretty good version of the sketch, though, and i'm especially proud of the swirls i sketched and stitched over and over on my sewing machine, using the highest possible number of stitches per inch so that the curves would be really smooth and tight. so let's give those guys a close-up:

yep, this one just doesn't really cut it, photographically, so i guess the only thing to do is go mail it to someone cool, right? off to the PO, darlings, ciao for now!♥

Friday, January 9, 2015

still time for MORE presents!

or rather, there's still time to link up a holiday card that uses some giftwrap or tags for the first ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ prompt of 2015. if you're stumped for ideas, be sure to check out the "no time like the presents" readers' gallery, there are some AMAZING cards to inspire you! i also heard a rumor there miiiiiiiiiiiight be a little surprise giftie for one lucky cardmaker this fortnight... just sayin'... meanwhile, here's what i made this week:

ornaments cut from leftover innisbruck holiday giftwrap; pattered paper: crate paper, mambi, glitz design; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; sentiment strip sticker: SRM press; gems, deco scissors and ribbon: michaels; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

the ornaments come from the leftovers of the giftwrap i used on a bunch of the presents i bestowed this year. i can't say i selected it purely because it had beautiful fussy-cut-able baubles... but i was definitely aware of that fact, and took the precaution of saving an off-cut or two whilst wrapping my gifts! :) i backed the paper with scraps of cardstock so i could pop them up on foam tape, bedeck them with ribbons and add the odd gem or two.

the cool sentiment sticker is part of an amazingly fab SRM stickers prize pack that stephanie won for the two of us by entering an an instagram challenge. you should probably get used to me enthusing over these because in addition to being great-looking and having truly invisible backings (how do they DO that?!) this very generous prize comprises a big selection of the many awesome SRM holiday designs, so it will likely be getting use most weeks! ta v much, SRM, for such a wonderful and useful gift!!!

once again i've used the sketch from the fusion anniversary challenge, though not very much of the inspiration board. unless you count the fact that one of the ornaments is pink and the black paper with snowflakes could arguably be said to have a "chalkboardish" vibe. which is probably stretching things on both counts. meanwhile, there is still time for YOU to use either or both halves of the fusion challenge:

something else there's still plenty of time to do is link up a giftwrap or tag-inclusive holiday card at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! be sure to check out stephanie's card while you are there, you will thank me later!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

a brace of crocheted purses

if you've looked at my december daily posts, you've kinda seen this rainbow one already. i sent it as a little surprise to our nephew richard's adorable little step-daughter, naty, at christmas, because she had seen and admired the one i was making for niece lindsay in september. i *think* she miiiiiiiight even like to learn to crochet someday, which would be cool!

i made a slightly mini version of my favorite boutique bag pattern, but added in the rainbow ruffles idea from this cool change purse pattern that stephanie found for me!

i started this next one over the summer, for my sister, amie, who'd enthused quite a bit over madeline's, so i offered to come up with a slightly more grown-up version. after a bit of back and forth we decided on the boutique bag shape, but using this fun crocodile stitch instead of granny rows, and basic black instead of riotous color. the flower was an impulse buy at joann fabric, but it really adds to the design, i think. it's a pin, too, so i didn't even have to sew the thing on; gotta love that!

i adapted this pretty crocodile stitch boutique bag pattern to make it slightly larger, and in my version the croc-stitch is on both the front and back. (for those interested in the mechanics of such things*, i made the flat rectangular front and back pattern panels, sewed them together-- using single crochet along the bottom and mattress stitch at the sides-- then picked up along the top edge and single-crocheted the handle section in the round.)

at the moment i'm knee-deep in pinterest, etsy, and ravelry links, trying to decide what to make first for the grand-niece-to-be's big arrival in february. do you have a favorite pattern you love to knit or crochet for newborns? would you like to share it? 'cause i'm open to suggestions! :)

*since pretty much all of the yarn projects i make are gifts, and many of them are this type of "wing-it" combination of elements from more than one pattern, i use my blog as a record of what i've made and how i did it. because "finishing" (aka sewing all the bits together) is generally the hardest part of any yarncraft soiree... at least it is for me... and almost always takes me a few go's to get right! :0

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

new year, new stash?

as you know, at shopping our stash, we're all about creatively using the stuff we already have; but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy getting our hands on new things, too; especially (but not limited to) during the holidays and the after-xmas sales! so this week we want to see any project, in any colors, with any theme... but... we want to see you use something that's either brand spankin' new, or new to you! easy peasy, right? yeah, we thought so!

you can see that i've made myself a planner/journal for 2015, but i want to re-emphasize that your project doesn't have to be new-year-themed in any way! i just happened to need a planner, having failed to find a pre-made one i loved as much as my cool kinokuniya student dayplanner from last year. so i used one of broderbund printshop's embedded calendar templates to fashion something similar to-- but a bit bigger than-- some i've made in other years.

being a lucky so-and-so with some really awesome crafty friends, i was spoiled for choice when it came to cool NEW stuff i wanted to incorporate: the birch bark pattern on the chipboard numerals is actually very realistic-looking, textured giftwrap i got off the sale rack at pier 1. i'll warn you right now that i'm slightly obsessed with this stuff, so you can expect to see it fairly often over the course of the coming year, lol. the gold leather-ish scalloppy trim came in a crafty gift box from the lovely june; it is both more sparkly and more dimensional in real life, and thus even cooler than the photo implies! the brown shipping tag and vintage library card came from the lovely amy tsuruta, as did my very favorite thing on here. see the little bit of red paper with the poppies on it? that was a wrapper from some chocolates that amy's boss brought back from a trip to russia! amy selflessly forced herself to eat some of said awesomely-bedecked sweets, just so she could send me the fab wrappers--now THAT is friendship, people!!! :)

i was inspired by the gorgeous combination of white and neutrals in the "winter wonder" theme at curtain call inspiration challenge; ok yeah... i added a tiny splash of red, too...

i used the new sketch at stuck on u to guide my layout; but it's admittedly quite a loose take:

i tried to add some swirly bits under and around the tag,  to make my project a bit more like leah's gorgeous sketch, but since my background is another of the torn-layers collages i sooooo love making, it's already quite busy; and additional embellies never really looked right. plus, i know from experience that the cover of a journal that will get used every single day needs to be pretty streamlined; any fussy sticky-out bits are destined to be caught or torn or wrinkled beyond recognition within the first month of laureny use.

each of the 52 or so pages inside the book has a week's worth of space for recording things i've done, and the back is either a coordinating print of crafty double-sided index stock, or some vintage paper i've fused with the modern calendar page using my xyron machine. below you can see a sheet music cover that's definitely got flaws... but to me that just adds to the cool-factor!

there are a few "not-so-vintage" pages, as well, i am a sucker for foreign text magazines, so whenever friends are traveling abroad and ask if they can bring me anything, i give them $10 and tell them to pick the most interesting thing on the rack at the airport before they come home. this has netted me everything from arabic newspapers to french fashion bibles to thai gardening to icelandic gossip magazines! i love the variety and the fact that everyone i know interprets the dictate, "most interesting" in a completely different way! :)

this is the biggest planner i've ever made, the cover is 8.5x11" with the pages trimmed to just slightly smaller.

the spiral binding was punched and set with my bind-it-all, and with quite a bit of help from lovely husband jeff. i used to say that he was my bindery assistant whenever i make books, but really i'm his assistant, since he's the one who remembers all the little adjustments for making the machine punch multiple identical sets of holes on multiple sets of pages, whilst still getting everything to all line up correctly at the end. on these occasions i'm basically just an extra set of hands, which perfectly suits my skill-level for engineering-intensive tasks, lol!

having waffled on for far too long already, it's about time i should send you over to see the gorgeous creations of my SOS design team sisters, then break out those new goodies and get your craft on, darlings! ♥

Sunday, January 4, 2015

oh (vicarious) baby!

wouldja believe that lovely husband jeff and i are getting ready to become great uncle and aunt sometime in february??! yes indeed, our nephew richard and his lovely new wife will be welcoming a little lady into their family and we couldn't be more excited! and not just because there will be an awesome excuse for lots of pink frilly crafting... though obviously some of us are pretty happy about that part too. so let's start with a card for the shower:

patterned paper: creative imaginations + doodlebug; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; flowers: michaels + petaloo; brad: mme; stickers: mambi, jolies and... ummmm... others of unknown origin; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i can't decide whether to be embarrassed or proud that many of the items on this card are so old i have no idea where they came from, or who made them. so i guess i'll go with proud, lol. meritorious stash usage, with pink frilly clusters! :)

i actually started this card using the current cardabilities sketch (#114), but it morphed so far away from the original design that i've decided not to link up. it's a great sketch, though, so i'm sure i'll have another shot at it.

next up, a little crocheting needs to be done. i may be some time. talk amongst yourselves, darlings! ♥

Thursday, January 1, 2015

happy birthday, fusion card challenge!

can you believe it's been a whole year since the awesome fusion card challenge began posting their amazing eye candy? well, it has, and to celebrate, not only do they have a great inspiration board for us, but each design team member has invited a guest, so there are TWICE AS MANY gorgeous cards to drool over. i was honored to be chosen by my jingle belles' partner and card-makin' sista, miss stephanie, and i can't wait to show you my card. but first the inspiration:

just in case you haven't played along yet, you can see from the graphic that it's a two pronged challenge: you can use elements from the inspiration photo, OR you can use the sketch, OR... you can do both! i chose the third course, and here's my card:

patterned paper: anna griffin, basic grey, kaiser craft, k and co, making memories, glitz design; florals: michaels; sentiment sticker: echo park; brad: oriental trading; sadly crooked-looking (but not irl, i swear!) lace: from my stash; black glossy cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

you can see that for once i've used a sketch really faithfully! well, heck, why not? what's not to love about that thing? i worked in quite a few ideas from the photo, too: the colors, the white chalkboard-look script, a little bit of gilding, birthday cake, etc. i'd like to mention that, in real life, my lace is not on crookedly (no really! arrrgh!) but other than the slightly wonky photo, i'm pretty happy with this and it was a blast to make! 

many thanks to stephanie for inviting me to share this fun celebration, and happy anniversary to everyone at the fusion card challenge, especially my friend amy t! now go check out the main post, darlings, you have such a treat in store! ♥♥♥

only 359 days left until christmas... :) it's time to get moving on those holiday cards, lol! ok, yeah, i know it sounds crazy, but seriously, the thing about starting right after christmas is that we all have a very fresh memory in our head of either being done our cards early and liking that feeling; or mass-producing at the last minute, and wanting to avoid that feeling. and since new year's day is when we all love to ACT on our newly-minted resolutions, that's when we like to start up at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! the first prompt of 2015, "no time like the presents" is a nice easy one, because we're pretty sure that, just like stephanie and myself, most of our fellow card-makers loooooove to save bits of glittery gift wrap, pretty tissue paper, fancy ribbons and cool tags... so go grab one of the ones YOU held on to... or raid your leftover holiday wrapping supplies... and use something you find there on your first holiday card of the year!

glittery white and shimmery blue tissue paper from costco, apparently, who knew? patterned paper: my mind's eye, basic grey; glitter sticker: papaya art; chipboard snowflake: crate paper; snowflake sticker: stickopotamus; fabric snowflake button: michaels; adhesives: xyron, elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i had a pretty easy time choosing what to use because my aunt wrapped all of her presents in the coolest coordinating set of tissue paper i've ever seen! the white square with the glittery trees is the "main" pattern and then the back layer of blue with snowflakes (which is beautifully shimmery irl) is the accent piece from this set. all i did was save the least wrinkly bits and stick them to a couple of panels of plain white cardstock from staples, using my xyron machine. of course you could use gluestick to get a nice all-over bond, as well. no matter what adhesive you use, the trick is to apply it TO THE CARDSTOCK, rather than the (much more fragile) tissue paper. this is the same method i use when working with vintage paper, as well. i added in a glittery papaya label sticker from last year, and accented everything with machine stitching using some of the fancy gold thread miss amy gave me (ta v much, missus)!

for the layout of my elements, i used the current (#146) retro sketch again, because it's such a great, flexible design:

so if you're lucky enough to be home on this lovely new year's day, and you're feeling a bit resolutionary, why not grab some gift wrap or a tag and join us at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥? we'd love to see you and your holiday cards over there this year! ♥