Tuesday, April 28, 2015

who are you and what have you done with lauren?

it's a really fun challenge this week at shopping our stash, it's called "OPPOSITE DAY" and we want to see you try something that is the opposite of your usual style. for example, if you're a CAS kind of girl, try using a few different patterned papers... together! on the other hand, if you're the queen of collage layers and embellishments, why not attempt something a bit minmalist? will you be out of your comfort zone? yeah, maybe, but one of the great things about playing along with challenges is that they are meant to challenge us! (hence the name, lol.) in my case, i ♥LOVE♥ seeing other people do super-pared down, minimalist designs; but i find those to be realllllllllllly hard. so obviously i had to take a shot at it:

you can see i've made giftbags, for my lovely young friends carlos and isabel. they are brother and sister, both have birthdays in april, and i generally give them their presents together, so i really like their gifts to look quite obviously equal, but still personal. i saw these cool stamped burlap bags online a few months ago, and loved the fact that they had big bold letters, but running sideways. i didn't have enough huge stickers to spell both names, so i did what i usually do in these cases: format the text in a font i like... (this is impact) at the correct size... (about 2-2.5" in height) and then use a print out of the names to use as a template. yes, it takes a bit of extra time and effort to hand-cut them, so if you have an electronic diecutter, just feed it your choice of paper and have it do the work.

i knew right away that i wanted to use pages from a fun fractal calendar i've been hoarding; my friend emma creates these for her mom's birthday each year and i am lucky enough to be given the past years when they are finished... and permission to cut them up (because yes OF COURSE i ask first!!!) i figured the bold colors and intricate designs would make AWESOME patterned paper; plus they're printed on heavy, glossy cardstock that is perfect for something like this.

the other SOS gals have been stretching out of their comfort zones, as well, with amazing results; you should go and see those right now! ♥

Sunday, April 26, 2015

missus miscellaneous

it was a somewhat uneventful week in these parts, but in a good way. is it a sign that one is officially middle-aged, when the prospect of life being "dull" for a bit seems rather wonderful? yeah, probably; but hey, i'll take it! :) meanwhile, i did do a bit of art journaling and sketchbook experimentation, so for the first time ever i'm linking up to the current "art journal every day" feature on julie balzer's blog.

i'm still pretty hooked on stencils, modelling paste and doodling vaguely indian-ish flowers and mandalas, as you can see from the page above. on the other hand, collage will probably always be my favorite technique, especially when i can work in lots of vintage paper. the page below is the first time i've tried adding some maud-vantours-inspired paper folds into a collage, rather than a card. i'm fairly sure it will not be the last time, though.* :)

meanwhile, in my practice sketchbook, there are lots of random combinations of lettering styles, sketches of fabric patterns i like...


...ideas for christmas cards... illustrations of random facts i saw on television...

...and, for reasons i cannot possibly explain (or understand, for that matter, lol!) a VW microbus, parked under some palms!

meanwhile i wish you a happy and creative sunday evening, as well as a week that is "dull" in the best possible way! ♥♥♥

*apologies if you've already seen this one-- and the microbus that's furth down-- on my instagram account!  :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

there is sketchy goodness...

...at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this fortnight, courtesy of our awesome resident sketch-maker, miss stephanie:

pretty fab, right? you could basically take that thing ANYWHERE! at the moment, as you may know, i'm pretty addicted to water color paints and hand lettering, so i thought i'd try to incorporate a bit into my card:

watercolor paper: strathmore; paints: artist's loft; pen: faber castell pitt w/XS tip plus a grey tombow for shadow; patterned paper: echo park, dcwv; scalloppy ribbon/trim stuff: my mind's eye; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; glitter from michaels attached with the BEST GLUE PEN EVER, that elisabeth from paper anthology recommended and she was soooooo RIGHT: sakura quickie glue pen; ink: ranger archival; other adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

the nice thing... or at least, one of the nice things... about a sketch with segments is that you can put something different into each; thus i was able to work the sentiment on a separate piece of watercolor paper just in case it didn't come out well on the first try. i also had fun painting a bunch of multi-colored holly leaves using a cool "wet into wet" method i saw on a blog somewhere (which, alas, i cannot find now, sorry) where you paint the shape with clear water and then add brushfuls of a few different shades of green and let them mix, randomly. in the midst of fussy-cutting those (especially the tiny flippin' BERRIES!!!) i was wishing pretty strongly i had just drawn a circle like the sketch has and put the leaves INSIDE it... but i do like the texture and dimension the cut-out leaves give the panel, so it was worth it in the end.

well i think i'll stop typing now, so you'll have time to hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see stephanie's beautiful card! ciao, darlings!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SOS198: texture me!

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is technique-based: we want you to use your oldest embossing supply, whether that's a folder, powder, or even kickin' it old school with a stylus and brass template. sound like fun? awesome-- go grab your supplies! meanwhile, i'll show off my card:
(scraps of) patterned paper: teresa collins, doodlebug, sei, basic grey; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; pale pink cardstock with a darker pink inside: core'dinations; swirly cling stamps (that actually don't cling very well anymore so i just used them loose... which turns out to be harder than it seems like it would be...): rhonna farrer/autumn leaves; white embossing powder: personal stamp exchange; embossing folder: cuttlebug; ink for edges: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i may have semi-cheated, because my first embossing supplies consisted of the original psx blue-ish/clear embossing ink and gold powder, both of which got used up quite some time ago. like seriously, during the clinton administration*. so in the spirit of the challenge i used the closest thing i still have: a versamark pad and some ancient psx white to emboss the swirls i stamped as cupcake icing. to hedge my bets, i also used my very first embossing folder, which-- coincidentally-- also has swirls; i embossed a scrap of core'dinations cardstock so that when i sanded it the texture would show up even more. paper-wise i'm all scraps here, and some of those are impressively elderly; the only full sheet i cut into was the white glossy cardstock i used for my card base. so i feel like i'm pretty firmly on the moral high ground of meritorious stash-usage. which is always nice, right? :)

i started out using the current (#121) cardabilities sketch and intended to load up on flowers and other girly embellishments, but somehow nothing really looked quite right on top of all those awesome swirls. so eventually i gave up and just stretched the basic shapes of the sketch, which is quite lovely:

speaking of lovely things, each and every one of my SOS design team sisters has a glorious card to show you, why not go and see those right now? ciao, darlings! ♥

*holy carp, you guys, i just did the math: that was TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!!! how is that even possible??! i think i just freaked myself out a little bit. sorry, nevermind, let's go back and look at the cute card again, k?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

now i understand...

...why people who work in mixed media journals have a few different ones going simultaneously; because if you don't, you spend waaaaaaaaay too much time waiting for stuff to dry! and patience is not really my strongest point.* right now, i'm in the middle of three books that i expect to be ongoing for at least the whole summer, so i figured i'd show you a page or two. some are finished, some are in progress, some are just practice pages that are as done as they're going to be. i told you about the journals linda brun made for sandi t and myself, and i've posted some pics on my instagram account but here's a page i finished last night. and yeah, i'm still pretty obsessed with hand lettering! :)

the other BIG project i'm super-excited about is my book for the sketchbook project. participants can choose from the official 2016 themes, or just wing it. i've chosen "distance and time" and i *think* it's going to be mostly about hawaii, but in a sort of abstract visual way, rather than a traditional travel journal. at least that's how i feel right now. i've only done a few pages so far; partially because i'm slightly struggling with the paper, which is very thin and does not love wet media. at all. i now understand why previous participants have talked about reinforcing or replacing the pages in their "official" sketchbook. haven't quite decided what i will do, but meanwhile, i've got collagey goodness:

and zentangly/mandala sketchy type things that i loved until i colored them in, and now... not so much... ah, well:

the third book is my everyday working/practicing sketchbook. one of my goals for this year is to draw more, so i try to make sure this book and my basic drawing tools are nearby so that i can mess around and try out different ideas, usually at the end of the evening. there aren't any finished pages, just lots of random patterns, little sketches, color combos, etc. i used to do this sort of thing on scrap paper, but it's kind of cool to see the progress you make; also i use it to remind myself of ideas i want to fiddle around with later. so there are a lot of pages that look like this:

today i'm headed up to paper anthology to teach the last class of my "scraptastic" cards, which is about as much fun as a papercrafter can have. i hope you are finding time to do something you ♥LOVE♥ today, darlings!

*if you are related or married to me you may have to pause here for 10-15 minutes in order to recover from a debilitating bout of hysterical snorty laughter. it's ok. join us when you're ready.

Friday, April 17, 2015

the bad news is we're out of band aids...

...the good news is i recycled the box to make some pretty washi flowers for this week's ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ card in celebration of earth day. want to see?

recycled elements: band aid box used as a base for the poinsettias, red heart earring used in place of a brad; patterned paper: echo park, my mind's eye, studio calico; journal card: echo park; poinsettia die: bosskut; washi tapes: october afternoon, my mind's eye, recollections, heidi swapp, martha stewart, love my tapes; ink: colorbox; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i covered the inside of the flattened box-- which is nice thin white chipboard-- with strips of all my pretty red washi tapes, then used my bosskut poinsettia die:

i've also up-cycled a garage-sale earring, to use in place of a brad; jeff bent the back over for me, so it would hold the flower together:

i used the sketch and flowery elements of kirsty vittetoe's awesome card, the CASE-ing of which is this week's challenge at city crafter:

this is a pretty restrained card, for me, but i love the bright colors and i'm pretty excited to have at least one greeting which will be mail-able with just *one* postage stamp, lol!

meanwhile, stephanie has also made another lovely card for your inspiration, why not jump on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see that right now?!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

SOS197: lost and found

can you guess what we want to see for this week's challenge at shopping our stash? it's called "lost and found" which should give you a pretty big hint: we're looking for creations that feature something you lost track of for a bit... whether it was actually lost, or perhaps you just forgot about it? i've got a bit of each on my tag, which i'll esplain in a minute.

ok, i realize as i start typing this, there really aren't any official papercrafting products in this one, unless you count the (admittedly awesome) dymo label sentiment, the tiny mrs. grossman's heart sticker, and the basic grey patterned paper i used as background for the photo. lots of vintage and thrifting goodies tho: sheet music and chinese text from two seriously elderly falling-apart volumes found at book sales; little buildings cut from a new york tourist brochure; a real (tho expired, obviously) metrocard and o'course my "FOUND" items: plastic slide mount of which i have nearly an entire box (yahoo!) and that funny little heart pin (jeff ripped the back off it for me) which was in a box of treasure i'd started to think got lost or donated when we moved! oh yeah and a fab tag from amy tsuruta, who rocks, as i'm sure you already know! ♥

the thing i thought i'd lost is the little blue plastic heart pin; but actually i thought i'd lost my whole entire tin of little pins acquired at various garage sales over the years. worse yet, i knew that was in the same box as my buckle collection, a bunch of game pieces and cards, lots of weird funky earrings and other dimensional "treasures" i haven't seen since we've moved. i'd love to say i suddenly found it now because i've been doing a major organizing project in the basement, but in fact, it was a fluke discovered whilst looking for something else entirely for lovely husband jeff! the thing i'd forgotten i owned was the cool half full box of plastic slide mounts i got at goodwill, i think, quite some time ago. those guys turned up while linda was here, and we had fun playing with them.

the layout of my tag is based on miss leslie's latest crooked stamper sketch challenge (CSSC #2 to be precise); though admittedly i've done a pretty a loose take on that fab sketch:

i've been doing a lot of mixed media backgrounds lately, so it felt really cool to be making an old school collage this time. oof i nearly forgot to mention my favorite bit of this, which is the tiny picture of the queensboro bridge-- it's from an illustrated children's encyclopedia-- which is the absolute perfect size for the slide mount. even more exciting is the fact that the book in question has LOTS of illustrations about this size, so yeah, you'll be seeing this trick again for sure! :)

the other sos designers have been busy finding treasures, too-- you really need to hop on over and see the fabulous things they've made! ♥

Friday, April 10, 2015

let there be peace on EARTH (day)

if you've played along with ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ any time within the last few years you'll know that the prompt which falls at the beginning of october is always "pink xmas" (in honor of breast cancer awareness) and the one that encompasses earth day is always to create holiday cards that re-use, recycle or upcycle something! here's my take on the latter:

leafy panel trimmed from a holiday card; vintage sheet music from my stash; tim holtz reindeer diecut from a just-slightly-too-small scrap of wood veneer from kate's paperie; red and gold cardstock from paper source; ink: prima; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, xyron

the pretty laser-cut panel comes from my brother-in-law alan's card this past holiday season. he's told me many times he intentionally chooses cards that have some dramatic or interesting element he thinks i'll want to save and use on a card, and he is successful in this goal quite a large percentage of the time! on the original card, the panel was layered over a fancy gold embossed sentiment:

i carrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrefully pulled the top layer off the card... (thankfully it was only attached at the edges!) ...trimmed it down and placed it over some lovely patina-ed vintage sheet music. the reindeer is cut from quite a small scrap of wood veneer; if you look closely you'll notice that it was so small, this reindeer didn't quite wind up having any feet!!! needless to say, i'm saving this one to send back to alan in december, i hope he'll be suitably impressed!

this fortnight we're lucky enough to have our fellow belle (and my fellow jersey girl!) lorraine of paper vernissage with us as lovely guest star over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥; both she and stephanie have made gorgeous masterpieces of inspirational up-cycling just for you! why not check those out right now, darlings? you could leave them some love, too, whilst you're there! ♥

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

sing a song of SPRING!

this week at shopping our stash we're teaming up with words 2 scrap by for their challenge #16: the earth has music; which means you can make one card for TWO challenges, and we all love that, right? there are lots of ways to go with this theme, both literal and figurative. i did a little of each, expressed by quite lot of vintage paper, which always adds up to a happy time for me! :)

sheet music, bird illustration, and garden painting from my stash of vintage goodness; lovely old lace from my MIL; patterened paper: prima, basic grey, my mind's eye; florals: petaloo; leaves: prima 

i used the sketch from the current fusion card challenge, which is pretty awesome, as i think you'll agree:

i was heading towards yellows in my color scheme in order to incorporate the color aspect of the fusion, but then i saw this gorgeous photo, which is the starting point for the shabby tea room's current challenge, beautiful blooms; and suddenly i found myself veering more towards neutrals with little pops of pink and green:

my favorite part of this is the sweet sparrow, which came from a vintage nature dictionary. i fussy-cut him so he could perch on top of the beautiful floral illustration that came from different falling-apart book i found at a rummage sale. (both elements are backed with thin white cardstock i ran through my xyron machine to make them a little stronger; vintage paper can be very thin and rather brittle.) the little scrap of lace is from a bag full of odds and ends my mother-in-law passed along to me, which is kind of making me think that this will turn out to be her mother's day card... hence the lack of sentiment... i want to be able to hedge my bets, lol!

one bet of which i'm absolutely CERTAIN is that you will very much enjoy seeing the other design team members' gorgeous projects at both SOS and W2SB... why not give yourself a treat and visit those right now! ♥

Monday, April 6, 2015

speaking of art friends...

...on saturday i finally got to meet up with my fellow cardmaker and jersey girl lorraine, of paper vernissage! together we drove up to paper anthology in kenvil, nj, to take elisabeth's utterly awesome ranger techniques class. here are my cards:

is that distress ink bokeh-effect card gorgeous or what?! and howsabout that sweet dina wakley bird on his background of blended distress paints? not to mention the fabulous alcohol inks we combined to make a granite effect and then embossed on top of. want to learn how to make all of these? elisabeth will teach this one last time on april 21st and there are still places available.

meanwhile, i'll be teaching my scraptastic rainbow cards twice more: this coming wednesday, april 8th; and sunday, april 19th... i'd love to see you there! ♥ see full details for all the great offerings in the class section of the paper anthology website.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

from norway (& nj!) with love

recently i had the very great pleasure of having my lovely friend linda brun come to stay for 10 entire days of art-making, treat-eating, shopping, cooking, journaling, crocheting... in other words, pretty much the best STAYCATION ever! :)

cool chicks onna train
(photo by linda brun)

during that time we made several excursions into new york city: we had dim sum at golden unicorn, took in the feast for the eye that is the rubin museum, and even cruised a couple of favorite thriftshops on 17th street... (angel street and housingworks chelsea) ...tho alas, we have no amazing finds to report from the latter.

sesame balls... my favorite!

on a different day we met up with massachussetts' sweetest and most talented freestyle crafter sandi taloumis, and together we all rode the subway a few short stops out of manhattan to visit the brooklyn art library, home of the massively inspirational sketchbook project*! obviously we had to do a bit of art shopping, as well, at blick and the ink pad. in the face of such overwhelming fun, i somehow managed to take NO PHOTOS AT ALL, so i'm posting (with permission) this one linda took of the three of us (plus 2 extraneous passers-by, lol!) that i really love:

in front of the ink pad
(this pic and lots more awesome ones by linda brun; go check out her instagram account!!!)

the main purpose and event of linda's visit, though, was what we came to call "art camp". we set up a big long folding table in the living room, loaded it with supplies-- paint, stencils, stamps, pens, pigments, vintage paper, magazines, modelling paste, and pretty much anything else that struck our fancy-- and spent the majority of our free time playing and experimenting in our journals. you can see linda's work on her blog-- my favorites are the series of "found faces" that she made over the course of several days; i posted some of my things on instagram at the time, but here are a couple more pages, both finished...

craft paint squirted right out of the bottle, tinted modeling paste thru circles stencil, lots of outlining, plus hand drawn and shadowed bricks. the latter were linda's idea, she thought the word looked like graffiti--this is why it's great to make art in the same room with other people, i would not have thought of bricks! :)
...and unfinished:

modeling paste through a fern stencil, shadowed with stabilo pencil on top of random ink spotches; i'm not in love with this one, but i wasn't really going for a finished product, just playin' with my stuff! 

finally, to cap the whole visit off in style, linda made fabulous new multi-media journals for herself, sandi and i:

we are going to all three work in each of them in turns, via the mail, so that at the end we will each have a book with work by all of us in it. i'm thinking we'll all need to meet up again next year to review the end result! well, ladies? who's in?

*the sketchbook project-- both as an idea and an exhibition--is AWESOME; however one thing you might not realize until you get there (at least, we didn't!) is that you won't be allowed to just randomly pull books off the shelves and flick through them, each item must be requested electronically and will be brought to you by one of the librarians. for maximum enjoyment, it's a great idea beforehand to cruise the digital library, create a free account, and make yourself a little queue of examples you'd like to see in person! meanwhile, the brooklyn art library is a short, safe walk from the L train at bedford ave, through a neighborhood with plenty of shops, restaurants and other fun places to visit! well worth the trip! ♥

Friday, April 3, 2015

still singing...

...christmassy songs at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and then making cards inspired by them; alternatively, one could make a card using sheet music. mine does both-- gotta love a holiday card which can multitask, right? ;)

vintage sheet music from my stash adorned with festive rub-ons (by kaiser + basic grey; patterned paper: little yellow bicycle; kraft cardstock: core'dinations; poinsettia: michaels; brad: mme; ink: colorbox; adhesives: xyron, elmers gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i made the big "NOEL" by tracing some large basic grey chipboard letters onto vintage sheet music (backed with plain cardstock for strength) cutting them out, and adorning them with a little collage of rub-ons. some of the rub-ons rubbed on more seamlessly than others, but the nice thing about a vintage collage style is that it can be a bit distressed without causing distress, lol.

stephanie has another great musical card for you this week... why not stop over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see it right now!