Tuesday, March 31, 2015

no foolin'

with tomorrow being april fool's day here in the united states the challenge at shopping our stash is especially timely: we'd like to see projects with some sort of faux technique, such as faux stitching, faux silk, faux suede, faux patina, etc. i opted for a faux leather look, using an embossing folder and clear embossing powder to make it both textural and glossy.

vintage book and notebook papers from my stash; birch giftwrap: paper source; chipboard alphabet letters by basic grey used as little templates; brown cardstock: core'dinations; embossing folder: tim holtz; embossing powder: psx; glossy black cardstock: paper accents; label: dymo; adhesives: scotch gluestick, elmers gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i used a very similar torn collage background for last week's card, but what can i say, i was on a roll! sometimes it's better not to even try to fight that sort of thing. so i didn't, lol. i'm still pretty fond of the glossy cardstock as a base, as well... especially when combined with a dymo label.

there are many more faux techniques to be seen at SOS this morning, why not stop by and greet my design team darlings?! ♥

Friday, March 27, 2015


time for a new prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and we hope you'll think it sounds like fun: we want you to make a holiday card that incorporates music, is inspired by a holiday song, or which includes a holiday song title. here's what i made:

vintage sheet music from my stash; birch patterned giftwrap from pier 1; holly and ivy cut from an old greeting card; large velvetty flower: michaels; small florals: petaloo; dimensional sentiment: basic grey; brad: american crafts; doily die: cheery lynn designs; border punches: recollections; patterned paper scraps: echo park, basic grey, my mind's eye; ink: colorbox; adhesives: xyron, elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i did a little bit of all three aspects: OF COURSE i used some of my very favorite darkly patina-ed old sheet music; i've got "deck the halls" for my sentiment; and thematically, my inspiration comes from "the holly and the ivy". i've also made a round card, which was inspired by the current cardabilities sketch (#119):

and now why not head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see stephanie's gorgeous card, while planning your own bid for holiday-music-related world domination!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

neon rainbow of lOOoOooOoove*

technically, the brand new challenge at shopping our stash is only called "neon rainbow" but when you see my card, you'll understand the title. maybe. on the other hand, this might be another one of those times when something is only funny inside my head, in which case, just skip down to the card and then go check out the other DT projects at SOS! oh but first, in case you didn't surmise the brief from the title, i should probably mention that what we're looking to see this week are projects with a rainbow image OR rainbow colors OR neon. OR, i suppose, all of the above, if you're feeling especially colorful! i've got two out of three. ok, maybe more like 1.5 out of three:

rainbow of artist loft watercolors painted on book paper xyroned to index stock to make it sturdier; heart dies: cuttlebug; paper scraps: mme, sei, glitz design, making memories, scenic route, doodlebug, prima, american crafts; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; vinyl thickers:  american crafts (a gift from miss leslie, ta v much missus!); tiny alpha tiles: my mind's eye; chalk ink for edges: colorbox; pen to outline hearts: faber castell pitt in XS; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, sewing machine

rainbow colors? check! neon? wellllllll... some of these are pretty bright, but not all. on the other hand, i feel i should achieve bonus points by virtue of the fact that all my hearts were not only diecut from scraps, they were leftovers from various other projects, stowed in one of the many baggies i fill with "spare parts". actually, even the "rainbow of hearts" idea is recycled; it's a neater and more card-friendly version of a page i made last autumn as an art journal exercise during the daily paper prompt event at the daisy yellow art blog. see?

i used watercolors (instead of water soluble crayons) for the card version, scaled it down a bit, and added a sentiment; but you can see that it's a pretty literal translation of the same concept. which just goes to show you that even if most of the experiments we play around with don't get seen or used for anything else, the *IDEAS* they generate can be adapted later. not that i need any other reason to art journal than just the fun of it, but who doesn't love a little "bonus" every once in a while, right? ;)

i realize i've already said this, but there genuinely ARE some especially awesome projects by my design team sisters awaiting you at SOS and you really should go and see them, darlings! ♥

*you should probably pronounce the title in your best barry white voice. it's funnier. just sayin'... oh babybabybaaaaybaaaaay... (see?!)

Friday, March 20, 2015

this whole card was basically lorraine's idea

at least indirectly. you see, when lorraine, of paper vernissage, my fellow crafty jersey girl, saw the emboss/resist card i made for sos a few weeks ago, she said the mandala stamp i used reminded her of a snowflake. so when i was thinking about what to make for the second week of our embossing prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ i decided to stretch the idea even further and see what would happen:

mandala (or snowflake, lol) stamp set: sheena douglass for crafter's companion; inks: several shades of blue distress ink by ranger and purple pigment ink by colorbox; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; holiday/winter sentiment sticker: SRM; purple patterned paper: anna griffin; snowflake stickers: stickopatomus; felt and gem snowflakes: hero arts; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i was playing around with a few different color palettes, but when i saw the gorgeous blue and purple tones of the new "floral fusion" board at fusion card challenge, i was smitten. i'd hoped to use the sketch, as well, but i wound up liking my background so much that i decided not to cover it up.

strangely enough, this was one of the easiest stamping adventures i've ever had, and one of the hardest card-making scenarios. which, for the record, is the reverse of what usually happens to me. but it turns out that when you don't really stamp that much, and you suddenly come up with a pretty cool background, you can totally psych yourself out about "ruining" it, lol! eventually... (by which i mean, "after literally trying every other idea in the entire universe that could possibly involve snowflakes"!!!) ...i just went really simple, enhanced one centrally located snowflake, and made a little pennant for an SRM sticker sentiment:

i'm happy with the end result, and would actually consider making a few more versions of this if i need some extra cards in december. i like that i could make them all the same in terms of design, but all unique in terms of colors and blending. plus-- except for the silly dithery bit in the middle-- it was really fun to make.

speaking of fun... you should totally go and check out the cards miss stephanie AND our lovely guest star steph c have made at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥. i'll give you a hint: they both feature embossing!!! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

background check

it's tuesday, and therefore time for a brand new challenge at shopping our stash, this one is called "i made this" and we want to see projects in which you've made your own background! there aren't very many rules for this one, but we would like to see more than just using one simple background stamp. beyond that, you can collage, paint, stencil, stamp creatively, use tape, alter some patterned paper; well, you get the idea, right? lots of options, so i think it's possible i went a bit crazy. but... you know... in a good way, lol!

torn vintage paper collage made using: hindi newspaper, sheet music, notebook paper, index from an old book, latitude and longitude chart from a vintage atlas + bits of an old doily; flowers fussy-cut from some k and co patterned paper; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; flourish stamps: autumn leaves; distress inks: ranger; chalk ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, scotch brand gluestick, sewing machine

ok, yeah, so i really did do a little bit of everything on this one! i started with a torn paper collage using bits of notebook paper, sheet music, hindi text and more; then i did quite a bit of grungy stamping, but afterwards i decided it got a little too muddled-looking, so i covered up most of the stamping up with bits of doily, but you can still see a few swirls and a bit of color. then i added flowers fussy-cut from patterned paper and machine stitched around the perimeter just to make extra sure all my layers were permanently attached. this is definitely an ORIGINAL looking card, but i kinda like it! :)

speaking of things to like, there are lots more unique and inspiring ideas from the rest of the design team over at SOS, i'm sure you will enjoy seeing those, so off you go, darlings!

Friday, March 13, 2015

mission EMBOSS-ible?! :)

yep, that's the title of this week's brand new prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and yes, sadly, i am the one responsible for the pun... and proud of it, lol! but the brilliant idea-- which is to make holiday cards which feature wet or dry embossing-- comes from our lovely and talented guest star steph c, so i hope you'll check it out and leave her some love while you're over there! meanwhile, here's my card:

patterned paper: pebbles, dcwv, basic grey, gcd; aqua blue cardstock: dcwv (embossed with cuttlebug swiss dots e/f); glossy white cardstock: paper accents; plain chipboard letters: basic grey (painted with pearl white craft paint, stamped with hero arts damask background and embossed with psx powder; felt snowflake and scallop scissors: michaels; metal snowflake: making memories; brad: october afternoon; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i was planning to dry emboss my painted chipboard letters and heat emboss the cardstock oval, but when i found that cool hero arts damask cling stamp i thought how fab it would look on the letters, so i changed my mind. i deliberately used some inexpensive textured cardstock with a white core in my swiss dots embossing folder so that when i sanded it the dots would look a bit like snow. i've actually got a third embossed element here, but it's a bit of a cheat: the ancient red GCD background has a sort of plastic-like texture on it, and the little asterisks (or snowflakes?!) are lightly textured; i suppose technically they are de-bossed rather than em-bossed, but they still look pretty cool, i think.

i started out using leslie's latest crooked stamper sketch challenge (#2) again, but sort of veered off in another direction when i added in the horizontal band. it's a great sketch, however, and there's still plenty of time for you to play, so i figure i might as well remind you what it looks like, eh?

speaking of things i know you'd like to see, we've got twice as many stephanies as usual at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this fortnight, and both of them have made gorgeous holiday cards for you to enjoy. why not hop over and see those right now?! ♥

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SOS192: counting on you!

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is pretty much by the numbers... and i do mean that literally, lol; we want to see projects with numerals on them! fun, right? i definitely thought so. here's what i made:

patterned paper: my mind's eye, making memories, basic grey, k and co, recollections, glitz design, studio calico; black and white glossy cardstock: paper accents; lg brads: mme; sm brads: queen and co; alphabet stickers: kelly purkey/simon says stamp; labels: dymo; cardstock arrow: scenic route; cloud punches: fiskars; deco scissors: michaels; ink: colorbox; pen: faber castell pitt xs; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

if you suspect that i built my entire design-- including the car i paper-pieced from a customized clipart image-- around a desire to convey the sentiment on a tiny handmade license plate, you are quite right. but it's not every day that my friend carlos turns EIGHT YEARS OLD (!) so clearly some special preparations were called for. luckily, i had the second crooked stamper sketch challenge to help me think of a great way to use those elements (you can see that i've rotated it 90 degrees clockwise, but otherwise i've been pretty faithful!):

meanwhile, there are lots more lovely numeric masterpieces awaiting you at SOS, why not hop over and check those out right now?!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

awash in washi!

did you see the current challenge (week #251) at city crafter? it's WASHI TAPE, which i know for a fact that most of us really love because we recently made holiday-themed washi cards at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and the cards we got were beyond awesome. one of the things i was very aware of when making my own cards that fortnight, was how many tapes i was *not* using... specifically... i have a lot of neutral tans and browns, and i was thinking it'd be cool to use a lot of them together. so i did! :)

tapes: ok, see, the problem with washi and deco tape is many of them only have their brand name on the outer packaging and once it's gone, you have no idea where it came from, but some of the brands i know are: heidi swapp, tim holtz, love my tapes, little b, mt, my mind's eye, october afternoon and recollections; black chipboard thickers: american crafts; labels: dymo; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i was going for a sort of marquetry look, like in woodworking, where the pieces are inset. my original plan-- inspired by the technique of this card of leslie's --was to drop the washi-adorned circles into same-sized-holes which i'd removed from the washi-covered squares. as it turned out, they really didn't stand out very much, so i wound up making skinny skinny black mats for the circles and sewing them on top of the squares, instead. speaking of miss leslie, she recently sent me a lovely gift of a few (ahem!) "extra" thickers she had (ta v much, missus!) and i've used some of them here.

this may not be the BEST card they get at city crafter, but i bet it has the most types of tape on it! for the record, i used 23. ok, actually, when i write it down sounds a bit embarrassing to have 23 different NEUTRAL rolls of tape. ok yeah, let's just forget i mentioned it, lol. do go check out the DT and readers' cards at CCCB, though, they are pretty awesome! ♥

Friday, March 6, 2015

holiday brights... with a flourish!

with a BUNCH of flourishes, actually, possibly a lifetime supply of flourishes if you're a CAS kind of person, lol! but i'm getting ahead of myself. first let's remember the fabulous holiday tablescape we're using as our inspiration this fortnight at JINGLE BELLES:

now i'll show you my card and you'll see immediately that i was inspired by the color palette and the sparkle factor, but mostly, i wanted to make a card version of that amazing placemat. so i did!

i started with the black patterned paper panel, which had the blue dots, faded text and even a few blue flourishes on it. i added some diecut flourishes in bright acid green, then finished off with the big dramatic black pearl flourish, which i cut apart so it would fit better. 

for the layout of the card i used the current sketch (#118) from cardabilities:

ok, yes, i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, that's not a very christmassy card, is it? also, there is NO sentiment!" and you're quite right on both counts. the only "holiday" products are the poinsettias and the purple glitter snowflake; and there is no sentiment. but on the other hand, not everyone celebrates christmas, so it's nice to have a few cards on hand that are bright and festive and wintery without having ties to any one particular holiday. plus it's not like you can say this one doesn't have enough going on already, right?!

stephanie has also created a vibrant and glittery card this week, that i *know* you will want to see, so why not hop over to JINGLE BELLES right now?!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

itty bitty (PINK!) basketball boots...

...for the sweet and sporty newborn, lol. in this case our great-niece maddy, who turned two weeks old over the weekend and is getting cuter every single second! i was a little bit stumped as to what to make, or rather, what to make FIRST; but when i saw this pattern on ravelry, i just could not resist:

chucky baby hightops pattern by: erin blacks designs; hook: F; yarn: cascade 220 in white and three different shades of pink, because i didn't have quite enough of the color i wanted to use, but in retrospect, i love the detail that adds! ps: the elephant was a fun find at homegoods, i just put her in there because she, the boots, and the couch all matched each other so perfectly; there was also a giraffe which i got for big sister naty, but i had already wrapped! :)

i actually wound up making two and a half of these things. or, more accurately, i made one complete bootie and in the midst of working on the second realized that i had mis-read the directions for one round quite early on. ordinarily, i would just make the second one to match, but in this case, it was the round with the little ridge that divides the sole of the boot from the side, and makes it stand up (which, in crochet lingo is called a "turning" round); and when i did a little experiment it turned out that a round of backPOST single crochet looked very VERY much better than the  backLOOP single crochet i had previously done. so after the second was completed, i ripped the first one back and re-did it. don't get me wrong, i'm all for fudging whenever possible; but as my friend cheryl says, "a *REAL* knitter isn't afraid to rip out!" in this case, we need to substitute crocheter for knitter, but either way, she's quite right. on the other hand, the extra effort feels like it warrants a close-up, so here's one now:

if you're wondering how i got the boots to stand up so nicely, i stuffed them pretty tightly with white tissue paper, and YES, i left that in there when i wrapped them! sounds crazy, but without the stuffing, they looked slightly lumpy and deflated.

i should mention in passing that lovely husband jeff is pretty anxious to re-upholster the beautiful hand-me-down couch that my sister's SIL generously passed along to us last year, and while i agree with him completely that a non-pink couch will look better in the room, i have to say there's no beating a PINK COUCH for staging baby gifts, lol!

hope you have a happy, fun, crafty day, darlings! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

SOS191: (not so) heavy metal!

we have a fun challenge for you at shopping our stash this week, we want to see your oldest hardware. think eyelets, brads, buckles, ribbon slides... if it's metal and can be used as an embellishment, dust it off and put it on a card! sometimes i really have to think about what my oldest this or that might be, but this time it was really easy, because despite its being some years ago now, i specifically remember my friend lisa, who owned my favorite local crafting store back in the day, showing me how to use an "anywhere" hole punch (with a hammer!) to place cuuuuuuuuute flower-shaped eyelets in the center of a card, and then use a special tool (also with a hammer!) to set them. OF COURSE i bought some of the cuuuuuuuuute flower eyelets as well as the hole punch and setting tools. and promptly put a big dent in jeff's good cutting board the first time i used all of the above at home.  i didn't think i still had any of that first batch, and truthfully, the ones on my card might be from a subsequent purchase, but the originals were definitely of the same size, shape and style, so i'm calling it good! to get the full effect of the authentic nostalgia-based experience, i also used the everywhere punch and setting tool with a great big hammer to place paper flowers right in the middle of my card. awwwwwww! :) :) :)

ancient eyelets of unknown brand from a local crafting store that's (sadly) been closed for nearly a decade (and these were bought well before then) set with old-school bang-with-a-hammer setting tool thingie i bought at the same time (which coincidentally answered my, "i wonder why we all stopped using eyelets and switched to brads?!" question); pink paislee pre-printed 2x3" birthday themed cards trimmed to 2" square; florals: prima, recollections, making memories, basic grey; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i used the sketch from the current fusion challenge, though sadly not the cool bowties:

i actually started off using the color scheme, too, but the kind of veered off-course on that part when i found the old-but-still-fab pink paislee 2x3" embellishment card thingies...

...and realized that by trimming them down i could instantly make a pretty cool cheater's version of twinchies; for the record, i stand by that decision and am pretty psyched that i still have some left for future experiments!

and now why not head on over to SOS to see the nostalgic (not so) heavy metal embellies of my design team darlings and the fabulous cards they've made to hold 'em!

Monday, March 2, 2015

speaking of quilt-inspired cards...

...here are a few more ideas i came up with, and since they're all made 100% from paper scraps, i can link them up with the fab "use it up" challenge on the city crafter blog, woohoo! :)

i *LOVE* making cards out of scraps! sometimes i will use actual quilting patterns to come up with ideas, but these four were just the product of punching or trimming shapes and then moving them around until i liked how they looked.

i sort my scraps by color and keep them in folders in one of my filing cabinets. i put solids and prints, paper-weight and card-stock weight, of every manufacturer all together, sort of like a painter's palette, because that's how i tend to use them.

the card above is another take on maud vantours' fabulous folded paper installations that i saw on pinterest a few months ago. this is my favorite version because the ink on the inside edges makes them stand out so much more!

i had so much fun making these that they-- and maybe even a few other ideas i have up my sleeve-- will be the subject of my next set of classes at paper anthology. if you happen to live within driving distance of kenvil, nj, i hope you'll check out the march newsletter for full details! :)