Friday, May 29, 2015

snow far, snow good :)

ok, yeah, before you ask, this week's diabolical title has been inflicted on the blog-reading public, both here and at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ entirely by me and is not stephanie's fault at all, except that when i do stuff like this she doesn't bludgeon me to death with an extra large jar of embossing powder to discourage future episodes! :) :) :) and yes, what it means, as i'm sure you've already realized, is that this week we are still rockin' the snowpersons, the snowflakes, the snowscapes and all other snow-encrusted holiday greetings. here's mine:

patterned paper: echo park, pebbles, basic grey; snow jar sticker: pebbles; tree sticker: echo park; flower layers and frame: basic grey; brad: mme; ink:colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

having built my last few cards from the ground up, i was sort of in the mood to make something that was 100% pre-made products, starting with that adorable snowman (or woman?) inna jar. i added a fun frame, stickers, cloth + paper flower layers and a scrap of ribbon, and stacked the whole thing on a top of collection of paper scraps i made into a festive background.

want to see some more great snowy card ideas? stephanie has also made a fab card, it's over at JINGLE BELLES right now, just waiting for you to come and visit!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SOS203: play misty for me which we mean, "make a project that features spray mist... whether store-bought or of your own custom formulation" for this week's challenge at shopping our stash!

vintage book paper sprayed with a few shades of glimmer mist and a little maya mist, thru an extra large folk art decor stencil and outlined with a fabercastell permanent ink pen with an xs tip; butterfly diecut: k and co; florals: michaels, prima, petaloo; brads: my mind's eye, oriental trading co; ribbons: making memories, prima, maya road; doily from my stash; cardstock: core'dinations; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i have a little secret to divulge about stencils: it turns out some of the coolest ones are not in the papercrafting section of our favorite bix box store, they are actually in the decor/paint section. which is where i found this FAB quatrefoil! i sprayed it with a few different shades of pink and purple mist-- some of which left a cool spatter effect, that was only semi-on-purpose, but i really like how it looks. after it was dry, i decided to outline around the design with a very fine tipped pen to make it a little bolder. yes, it took a bit of time, but not nearly as much time as my first idea would have... which was to machine-stitch around the entire design. lest you think i'm becoming more sensible in my old age, the crucial factor was that lovely husband jeff was already asleep in the room directly above my sewing machine, so i decided to go with the quieter option, lol. :)

speaking of options, you will have LOTS of creative ones for using mists on your cards, especially if you hop over to SOS and check out all the amazing projects from our very awesome design team! ♥

Friday, May 22, 2015

dashing thru the snow... seriously?

why, yes! what could be more appropriate to kick off the unofficial start of summer than to make holiday cards which feature snow?! ok, yeah, it might not be the typical memorial day weekend activity, but it *is* the sort of thing we love to do at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

watercolor paper: strathmore; paints: artist's loft; kosher salt: wegmans; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; patterned paper: basic grey, glitz design; white glitter snowflake stickers: recollections; white glitter alphas: mambi (courtesy of miss leslie, ta v much!); label die: tim holtz; xl snowflake punch: ek success; silk poinsettia: michaels; brad: american crafts; doily "liberated" from my mom's china cupboard; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

as you know, i've become pretty addicted to watercolor paints lately, so when i had trouble finding just the right shade of blue in my paper collection, i decided to make my own. i painted a few different shades of blue and grey in random patches, then sprinkled a little bit of salt on top and let the paint dry. when i rubbed off the salt, there were cool little crystaline clusters of white, that kind of resemble the frosty patches you see on windows when it's really cold. i added a few white white glittery snowflake stickers, a flower + snowflake cluster and sparkly letters before calling it a (snow) day! the effect is hard to capture in a photo (at least it is if you're me... which... i usually am...) but here's a closeup that's slightly better:

for the placement of my elements, i used the current cardabilities sketch (#123) again... mostly because i thought i could do a much more faithful version of the sketch than i managed the other day (even though i do like that card, too).

need some more snowy inspiration to get you started? well, i happen to know that stephanie has made an awesome card just for that purpose. go check it out at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

happy 4th anniversary, SOS!

we are celebrating our FOURTH anniversary at shopping our stash, a pretty fab milestone, as i think you'll agree. about the only thing that'd make it even better is if you'd come along to celebrate with us. so let's get right to the challenge: we want to see projects that have some silver and some gold on them. easy peasy, right? here's what i made (sorry about the not very awesome photo, but literally EVERY element of this thing is reflective, so you know how that goes):

silver and gold printed india paper of unknown origin; white silk flowers with gold and pearl centers from michaels; antique white mulberry paper leaves: recollections vintage silver doily; silver cardstock: the paper co; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape funner, 3m foam tape, low temp hot glue, sewing machine

i should probably mention that your card does NOT have to be ALL silver and gold... you just need to work in a little of each. in my case i knew i was going to need an anniversary card for my aunt whose favorite color is *white* so this is what happened. i used the current (gorgeous!) cardabilities sketch as my inspiration, though admittedly, mine is a pretty loose version:

now why not check out all the other gorgeous design team cards at SOS... it's totally worth the trip, i promise!

Friday, May 15, 2015

happy and hybrid... with BELLES on!

...over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ again this week, because we've got a fab kit called "jingle all the way" to work with, courtesy of our lovely sponsor, deedee's digis! jealous? no need to be, since deedee's digis is offering this kit absolutely free for the length of the challenge! how cool... and generous... is that?! head on over to the "try before you buy" section of the shop and grab that fun kit, and be sure to say a big jingly THANK YOU, ok? then hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and link up a hybrid holiday card (using ANY digital element, whether it's from deedee's or not) for a chance to win a $15.00 shopping spree in the deedee's digis shop!

want to see what i made this week? i hope so, because it's what i'm planning to show you right now!

digital bell paper and "jingly" sentiment from the "jingle all the way" kit at deedee's digis; printed on a 3m inkjet transparency, enhanced with machine stitching and framed with ranger black glossy cardstock and paper company textured red cardstock. florals: prima, making memories, k and co; jingle bell brad: oriental trading co; scallop scissors: michaels; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine 

one of my little tricks for making my favorite digital elements look brand new is to print them on an interesting surface. you'd be surprised how different the same paper or stamp can look when printed on smooth cardstock, glossy photo paper, clear labels, sticky-back canvas, etc; the variety is AMAZING! in this case i've used one of my all time faves: an inkjet transparency. i've talked about these before, so i won't go into detail here, but the reason i love doing this is that the layering possibilities are absolutely endless. also... they are pretty much the best (and easiest!) way to make a shaker card, imo!

the other great thing about digis generally, and deedee's digis in particular, is that she gives you at least *two* versions of every image: a plain background for coloring and a transparent background, so you can easily place... say... a fabulous sentiment right on top of a pretty paper and print the whole thing as one layer. niiiiiiiice! :) being a texture junkie, i couldn't resist machine stitching over the beautiful script of the word "jingly" to make it stand out even more, and popping on a few flowers held with a jingle bell brad before backing the edges with foam tape to hold the tiny heart confetti inside the shaker part of the card.

i told you earlier this week that i was going to take another shot at crooked stamper sketch challenge #4, so i think you've probably guessed by now that this is it... what with the dramatic sentiment over a fab background... but let's see leslie's terrific sketch again, shall we?

want to see another cool idea for using the "jingle all the way" kit? hop on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's gorgeous card; then start planning what *YOU* want to make! ♥

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SOS201: washi, washi, washi!

we *ALL* love tape, am i right? well, if not, i'm sorry to hear that, but it won't necessarily prevent you from participating in this week's challenge at shopping our stash, because we want to see your oldest washi tape, so even if you only bought one roll five years ago, you can still play! personally, i have more than one roll. quite a bit more, actually, but i digress; for this project i've used a bunch of different ones that can (kinda/sorta) qualify as "oldest". but first here's my project and then i'll essplain:

yellow acrylic giftbag of unknown origin; sunflower shapes cut from strathmore watercolor paper and painted with craft acrylics with accents of glitter and tiny sequins; sunflower centers punched from tim holtz kraft cardstock and accented with a few different (rather ancient!) tapes and some machine stitching; dark brown peel-off tape by 7 gypsies, light colored peel-off tapes by heidi swapp, tim holtz natural-colored, text-printed washi; green tapes on bag: more heidi swapp and 7 gypsies plus recollections, october afternoon and love my tapes; 3m foam tape used to stick the sunflowers and centers on

ok, so, YEAH: more sunflowers and another giftbag. what can i say? but when i started thinking about this challenge, i wanted to do something funky and multi-media, and it occurred to me that sunflowers would work pretty well. so i painted some petal-shapes with a few colors of acrylic craft paint, leaving it a bit streaky and textural. when it was dry, i brushed on a bit of gloss gel medium to adhere some random sprinkles of clear, gold and yellow glitter. for the centers i punched some nice big circles out of kraft colored patterned cardstock and added tape accents. i used my oldest "washi" tape (a tim holtz text pattern) but also some heidi swapp deco tape that's quite a bit older and in fact pre-dates the "official" tape craze by a few years, because that heidi has always been a trend-setter! :) splitting the difference is the dark brown music print by 7 gypsies, which is a bit like masking tape, but thicker and sturdier. like the heidi swapp variety, this tape has a sort of peel-off backing, which is nice if you want to make it into shapes... but more on that later.

my original plan was to attach the sunflowers directly to the bag, but then it occurred to me that i could accent the bag too... and really easily, just by adding more strips of tape. (i'm keeping this idea in mind for the times when the bag i want to use has some sort of logo on it... instant upcycling disguise!)  

once again, i thought i was done, but then the convenience of peely-back tape resurfaced: why not use it to add some leaf shapes and extend the design further? so i did:

i added a few marker accents to coordinate with the black stitching on the flower centers and called it a day.

and now why not hop over to shopping our stash to see my fellow tape addicts'... AHEM! ...i mean my fellow design team members' gorgeous projects! off you go, tape-loving darlings! :)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

happy ♥11th♥ birthday, madeline!!!

i'm having a really hard time believing my youngest niece is eleven already, but last night we cut into an ice cream cake with enough candles to risk melting it, so i suppose that makes it official! miss maddie is even more beautiful than the day she was born (which is saying something!) and is as lovely in character as she is to look at, which is pretty awesome. of course we had to mark the occasion with a present or two, so i had to make a fancy bag to hold them:

pink croc-embossed giftwrap backed with plain white index stock and cut into the shape of a capital M in "sherwood" font, printed at almost 8x10" and then used as a template, with white machine stitching around the edges to look like a fancy monogram; florals: petaloo, prima, recollections, making memories and some funky ones from the flower section of michaels; butterfly: prima; epoxy flowers: making memories; brads: american crafts, my mind's eye, making memories, doodlebug, oriental trading co; bling flourishes cut apart and scattered around the design: recollections; adhesives: xyron, elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots; ok YEAH, there's A LOT of stuff on here, but my nieces share (or at least humor, lol!) both my love of PINK and my maximalism in design. so it's all good. :) :) :)

i was inspired by the flowers, the awesome springtime vibe, and of course the dreamy PINK-ness (!) of the shabby tearoom's current challenge, "pretty in pink"... here's the inspiration photo:

i also set out intending to use miss leslie's current crooked stamper sketch challenge (#4), which involves a bold sentiment on a fun background. as it turns out, i only hit one outta two on that, so i'll be having another go ASAP... luckily it goes until the 21st. it's a great sketch, though, so i thought i should mention it:

hope everyone who is celebrating has had the loveliest mother's day imaginable, and lots of extra ♥♥♥'s to my own mother, my mother-in-law, and all my mom friends!

Friday, May 8, 2015

happy hybrid holiday!

this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we are especially excited to have deedee's digis as our lovely new sponsor. not only are they offering a fabulous prize for one lucky random cardmaker who links up with us, they've also created a brand new kit especially for us to use (how cool is that?!) AND they are going to offer that kit absolutely free to our readers during the course of this challenge. awesome or what??! yeah, we thought so too! speaking of the challenge, i bet you've already guessed that the brief is to use a digital element of some sort in your brand new holiday card. it can be a brush, a paper, a digistamp... whatever you like! don't have anything fab? jump over to deedee's digis and grab the very festive free kit, "JINGLE ALL THE WAY!" which looks a bit like this:

want to see my card? (please say yes, or the rest of this post falls kind of flat, lol!) awesome! here it is now:

"jingle all the way" digital kit available *FREE* this fortnight to JINGLE BELLES readers at deedee's digis! i've used the bell image (as a template to paper piece), the "jingle all the way" sentiment and the red grid paper here. other ingredients: core'dinations cardstock, petaloo flowers and leaves, a fabric covered brad of unknown origin, and scraps of red and gold ribbon from my stash.

my favorite thing about digital supplies is how much freedom they offer: you can make the elements any size and scale, print on any type of paper, use a pre-colored image OR go to town with your own markers and pencils... the choices are pretty limitless! then when you add in the fact that they NEVER run out, that's kind of hard to beat, right? for this card (which is 5x6.5") i printed the plaid/grid paper as a 5x7 panel on regular old copier paper and the sentiment as a wallet-sized photo on soft tan cardstock. i formatted the outline of the jingle bell as if it were a 3.5x5" photo and printed it on plain copier paper, too, which i then used as a template to paper piece twice; once on the sand-colored cardstock and once on some super-sparkly gold glitter paper! i used my cropodile and a craft knife to cut out the holes in the bells and backed the interior with scraps of black paper; it's hard to see in the pic, but in real life it adds just that little bit of extra texture. speaking of texture-- which you know i lOOoOoOooove-- i swapped out the printed bow in the image for a "real life" version in red satin, that i embellished with dimensional florals and velvetty leaves. all of the above are popped up on textured red cardstock layered with a scrap of chunky metallic ribbon. will this card fit in a standard envelope? maybe not, but i always have a bunch of gifts to mail at christmas, too, and nothing decorates a plain wrapped package as well as a unique and fabulous card, am i right? ;)

speaking of unique and fabulous, we have another treat in store at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ as *four* of the very talented designers from deedee's digis  have joined us to show off this festive kit! why not hop over and see the lovely work of TamaraMarjiDonnaFaith, not to mention our own amazing stephanie! and be sure to JINGLE ALL THE WAY, darlings! ♥

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SOS ♥200♥!!!

can you believe we're already completed 199 challenges at shopping our stash?! well, i can't, either, but miss leslie assures me it's the case, so i'll just add in a, "holy wow, the time just seems to fly by!" and leave it at that. in honor of our 200th challenge, we've decided to quite literally go *BIG*; in fact we are calling this one "big, bold and beautiful" and the brief is to use something big (letters, flowers, ribbon...) or to use bold bright colors or images. i decided to do both... surprise, lol! :)

plain medium sized (8x10") kraft gift bag from michaels; sunflower layers made of strathmore watercolor paper embellished with artist loft paints and lots of machine stitching; patterned paper for leaves: my mind's eye, paper company and an old wallpaper book my friend cheryl rescued from the trash one day when she was out running! (b/c THAT is friendship, people!!!) :) :) :) adhesives: elmers brand glue tape, 3m foam tape

ok, yeah, it's another gift bag, but since i really do give away almost everything i make, i tend to make whatever i need next, and at the moment it was a gift bag in which to stow a few mother's day presents for lovely husband jeff's lovely mum.  the sunflower was a custom job, obviously; it's composed of three layers of watercolor paper that i cut and painted before adding lots of machine stitching on top. i put a little foam tape between each layer to give it even more dimension.

it's possible i might've taken the "big" and "bold" elements of the challenge a little too seriously. the sunflower measures about 8" across, and the center is pretty close to 4"! here's a shot with my phone that kind of gives you a better idea. but basically, yeah, it's BIG:

hop on over to see what the rest of the lovely SOS gang... alica, barb, chana, chris, deena, donna, jessi and leslie... have done to celebrate our 200th challenge at shopping our stash! ♥♥♥

Sunday, May 3, 2015

the week in random journal-y-ness

it was a good week for making fun and funky art, though now that the weather is warm and the grass is green, journaly pursuits are getting a bit more competition with outdoor fun... and outdoor chores, as well. we spent most of yesterday in maryland having an early mother's day celebration with jeff's mom; and most of today out in the yard mowing, trimming and seeding. there's a continuing war to be waged with the ivy that's trying to choke our big pine tree, but i *think* i've got it on the run. so now seems like a good time to blog the random art bits i had fun playing around with this week. the most "finished" page i did was the top one; it features a buddha silhoutte i hand-cut from stencil film, that i surrounded with ink, filled with doodles and made a background using tape, label stickers and paper scraps:

having decided that my "official" sketchbook for the sketchbook project will be about hawaii, i did quite a bit of thinking and doodling this week, both sensible (well, sensible-ISH)... 

...and a bit silly... but then, the food of hawaii was so integral to our enjoyment, that inside my head, it all makes sense, lol!

i've been playing around with some re-discovered jars of gold and silver metal flake, and tried them out on everything from bookpaper cut-outs to photos and inky experiments. my favorite so far is the mixed media lotus flower towards the top of this group. i'm pretty sure you'll see that as the centerpiece of... ummmmm... SOMETHING... pretty soon! :)

i did a couple of watercolor sketches this week, as well. one is of the wonky-but-recognizable front of our house (i'm especially pleased with the stones and of course the shingles of our brand new roof, lol!):

the other is a copy of a photo i took a few years ago of our lambertville neighbors' sunflower field:

...which i liked enough to use it as my blog header for a bit, as you can see. my mom has actually asked if it can be part of her mother's day gift, which is why it's been ripped out of my sketchbook, in preparation for a trip to the frame place.

i hope your week has been awesome and that you are having a happy sunday with enough time to do something fun and creative... just for ♥YOU♥!

Friday, May 1, 2015

does bling count as a "neutral"?

well, it does in the laureniverse, especially the clear/rhinestone/silver variety of bling... because silver is basically just a fancier version of grey, right? (just agree with me, k? i promise this will go much faster!) :) so if bling is a neutral and kraft is a neutral and white is a neutral, then basically today's JINGLE BELLES card is 100% neutral, see?

glittery christmas label sticker: papaya art; patterned paper: hambly, fancy pants, my mind's eye; florals: petaloo and making memories; victorian style snowflake diecut: k and co; bling: recollections; adheisves: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

i should probably remind you that this fortnight we are working with a truly fabulous sketch created by the lovely and talented stephanie:

i started out with a completely different... much more colorful... idea; but then i found the awesome glittery papaya sentiment sticker and a scrap of belovedly hoarded kraft+silver hambly snowflake paper and the whole neutral-but-glitzy idea was born. i filled in with florals, a premade vintage-look snowflake diecut and a few frankensteined rhinestone flourishes that i snipped apart and put back together in a shape that worked better for my design; then called it a day. in retrospect, i wish i had put a little strip of ribbon or washi against the long vertical seam, but by the time i realized that, the other stuff was ON THERE, so i'm learning to love the card without it.

speaking of love, i *know* you will enjoy stephanie's beautiful card, so why not hop over to JINGLE BELLES and see that right now?!