Friday, August 28, 2015

let's play...

...tic tac toe!!! and not just any tic-tac-toe, let's play ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ tic tac toe and make holiday cards that use three-inna-row from any row (or column, or diagonal) on the official board:

i chose the vertical column in the center. to wit: bling, diecuts, snow. is there anyone who's been on my blog more than once who is surprised that "bling" was my first choice? nobody??! well done, darlings! here's my card:

anna aspnes' snowy map overlay printed on an inkjet transparency; patterned paper: hambly, basic grey; vellum: glitz design; snowflake die: spellbinders; bling: recollections + heidi swapp; brad: american crafts; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; doily from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, yeah, it's BUSY... even for me, which is saying something lol. possibly even too busy, but a pretty good example of what happens when you force yourself to finish something when really, you're too tired. so why didn't i toss it and start over? i confess that when i first started making cards, i tended to get rid of the ones i didn't love. and then at some point i was forced, because of time constraints, to bestow card i reallllllllllly hated and was actually embarrassed by. and it turned out to be the person's favorite thing i'd ever made them! (??!?!?!) which blew my mind. but it just goes to show you that everyone's taste is different. so now my policy is: it's a handmade card... it's got interesting ingredients and unique features... it will brighten someone's day. in this case, i'd add the bonus elements that it fits the "tic tac toe" brief and it's a fair-n-square version of the paper players sketch (challenge #259). so there! :)

stephanie has chosen the top horizontal row (santa, bling, stamping) for her card this week, and the results, as always, are impressive. check it out, darlings! ♥

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

mixed media flower frenzy? yes, please!

i'm having so much fun with the sisters with heart in art instagram challenge, i can't even tell you how much! this week's prompt is "flowers, florals, botanicals". i did a sort of a funky art journal page, with a biiiiiiiiiiiig honkin' flower on it; but the challenge is open to EVERY type of art, so if you paint, draw, doodle, make cartoons, write poems, do hand-lettering or well... did i mention it's open to every type of art, lol?! and for that matter, you don't have to use the theme as literally as i have. i really thought i was just playing around while deciding what i was going to do and the next thing i knew, i was makin' this:

the center bit with the flower was actually a piece of scrap paper i was using to wipe the ink and modelling paste off while i was making a completely different mixed media thingybob. this one, in fact. i'm not sure if it's done or not. but i like what's there at the moment, so i'll probably leave it for bit and see what i think the next time i look at it. 

meanwhile, my favorite part of the BIG flower is the sewing. there's a lot of machine stitching. a lot. sometimes when i sit down at the machine i just get into a groove, and that's what happened here. it's very loose, as you can see. no hand cranking at all and all done in one go without stopping to break the thread. on cards i like the stitching to be pretty neat, but it's fun to just wing it sometimes!

my other favorite part is the circle of silver-flake-encrusted tiny paper flowers in the center. i found a ton of tiny flowers when i was doing my clear-out for the papercrafting garage sale up at paper anthology last weekend.* i thought about getting rid of the lot, but i actually still like them, and it occurred to me that i could be using them a) with a fairly free hand (b/c there are LOTS, ppl!!!) and b) i could be trying them out in less traditional ways. i feel i've covered both sections of that brief with this page; and i'm pretty sure the fine folks at making memories (who made+sold these refined and elegant blossoms) never saw this comin', lol! and thus i shall sign off contentedly for now. ciao, darlings! ♥

*it was awesome, by the way; in all respects! i sold a lot, i bought a few awesome bargains, and i had an absolute blast! if you live within driving distance of kenvil, nj, you should TOTALLY get on the list for the paper anthology newsletter b/c the garage sale is an annual event, and next year you'd know about it early enough to *sell* as well as buy, if you wanted to... just sayin'... :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

splish, splash

this week's challenge at shopping our stash (#216 for those of you scoring at home) is called "splish, splash" and i bet you've already guessed that we'd like to see projects which incorporate wet media: watercolor, gouache, acrylic paint, twinkling h2o's, spray ink... you name it; if it's wet (and messy and awesome!) it qualifies! i used a little bit of everything, lol, because that's the way i roll! :)

wet media: artist loft watercolor paints, reeves gouache, ranger distress inks; pens: frixion colors by pilot, tombow markers and faber-castell pitt permanent black outliners in a few different widths; watercolor paper: strathmore; yellow patterned paper mat: k and co; cerise pink velvet paper mat: doodlebug; gems of various sizes and colors: recollections; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, sewing machine

this is one of those cards that took a while to make, but since it involved doing all the things i enjoy, it didn't actually seem like work, if you know what i mean? generally when i draw mandalas i just give myself a few very faint compass-drawn circles in pencil, then jump in with a pen and wing it. but since this one's pretty big (about 8" square) and it may turn out to be my lovely MIL's birthday card, i did a pretty extensive pencil sketch, and tried to keep it a bit symmetrical:

i wish i would've subsequently thought to photo again, in between the various stages, but alas, by then i was too far "in the zone" to think of it. so i'll just tell you that after the sketch i added color via watercolor paints, gouache and distress inks, some of which i applied dry with a sponge, some i used wet with a water brush. then i outlined almost all of the larger segments with machine stitching that's verrrrrrry hard to see in the main photo, but is somewhat more apparent in the detail shot below. then i outlined the small sements with the smallest nib of faber-castell pitt pen, which is called "extra super fine" and totally lives up to its name! then i added some shading to the colors with the utterly yummy frixion color pens gina got me (which i loooooooove--thanks, g!) and a few tombow markers. last of all i added the gems. a lot of gems. enough gems, in fact, that i can imagine there being people in the world who might think, "that's too many gems"; of course these would not be people i could ever become friends with, so i'm not really very worried about that part. :)

meanwhile, as always, there are some absolutely drool-worthy projects over at SOS... why not drop by for a heapin' helpin' of inspiration? you can thank me later, darlings! ♥

Friday, August 21, 2015

going postal

...but you know... inna GOOD way, lol! we're still celebrating all things "snail mail" at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and we'd love to see your holiday cards that feature all things fab and postal-related! here's what i made this week:

postal patterned paper and journal card: pebbles; other paper: graphic 45, crate; diecut label shape thingie: making memories; presents: k and co; santa hat: jolee's via gina ta v much!; twine: doodlebug; tape: october afternoon; black glossy cardstock: ranger; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, so, i had a totally different idea in mind but then i found the b+w paper with all the postal cancellations on it and my card instantly morphed into something else entirely. i kinda love it when that happens! :) i was inspired by retrosketch #177, though again, i started off with every intention of being very faithful, but in the end, kind of veered into loosey goosey land.* it's a great sketch, though, don't you think?

speaking of greatness, you NEED to head over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's card right this second! no, seriously... go, now! (why are you still reading this?) (ok, shutting up.) :) :) :)

*for the record, no, i don't actually live in loosey goosey land, but i spend quite a bit of time there; i'm thinking of acquiring a pied a terre for weekends! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

citrus + citrus + BARGAINS + tiny houses!

it's wednesday, which means it's time for a brand new instagram challenge from sisters with heart in art. this week's theme is "CITRUS", which you can interpret using any media you'd like, in any format you enjoy, any way you want to. you can be literal or abstract, think of actual fruits or just bright citrus colors, or go off on a tangent that's merely inspired by this idea... like maybe you want to hand-letter the lyrics to rem's "orange crush"? that's totally citrus, baby; go for it! :) we want these to be prompts in the truest sense-- merely a word that gets your art brain moving --what direction it goes and the destination it lands on is 100% up to you!

i've actually done two takes on this in my sketchbook and i'm not in love with either one, but they were fun to play around with, which is the point right? the first one is seriously seriously literal:

yeah. actual citrus fruits, in watercolor. nothing wrong with it, but it didn't make me go, "AHA!" so i decided to try something a little looser:

ok, so, citrus colored circles, this time... sponged in distress ink. getting a bit closer to the idea that was in my head, but still no bells or whistles. will there be a take three? well, let's just say i wouldn't rule it out, lol. the nice thing is that the prompts run for a whole week, so we have till next tuesday night to link up our citrus-y creations. for that matter, you can pretty much jump in any time; so if you suddenly come up with something that relates to last week's prompt, "HOME/HOUSES/BUILDINGS" g'head and post it! i did a fun little watercolor in my new tiny moleskine sketchbook over the weekend:

again with the literal, eh? but it was so much fun! ♥

speaking of fun, i've been making piles of stuff in preparation for the 2nd annual papercrafting garage sale at paper anthology in kenvil, nj. here's a bit of a "work in progress" shot; admittedly, a lot of my stuff is seriously elderly, but it's in good shape and i've priced it to sell!

there will be plenty of other vendors, tho, and many of them will have products from *this* century, so it's definitely worth the trip! the sale is this saturday, from 10am to 6pm, at paper anthology in kenvil nj, and if it's anything like last year's event, there will be bargains galore! so if you're within driving distance of central nj, i highly suggest a little detour to check it out! while you're there, you can meet elisabeth, check out all the goodies in the store itself, and hang out with fun crafty people who love paper as much as you do. how could any of that be less than awesome, eh?! check out the paper anthology website for all the details. hope to see you there... i'll be the tall goofy one who's buying more than she's selling, lol, so be sure to say ♥HELLO♥ darlings!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SOS215: layer it on me

i think you'll agree that this week's challenge at shopping our stash has "LAUREN" written all over it; we want to see projects with lots... (and lots; and, if you're me*, there might even be one more "LOTS" in there) ...of layers on them. so there's no time to waste! here's my card:

fish, chart, bits of map and ledger paper are all older or vintage things from my stash; other patterned paper scraps: jillibean, creative imaginations, k and co, doodlebug, sei; foam thickers: american crafts, via miss leslie, ta v much!; washi tape: love my tapes; cardstock: core'dinations; ink: ranger; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

if you've read my blog for a while, you may already know that my brother bill's birthday is in september, that he is a very big fan of fish, and that i often make him a birthday card that says "best fishes" on it. i've done a lot of different versions, ranging from collagey to stampy to hand-drawn to... well, let's just say i've done a lot of different versions. i like to think of this not so much as a sadly overworked joke as a "continuing series", lol!

this time, i've incorporated the layers stipulated by the challenge as torn paper scraps, which i've attached only at the top and sides, so that the curvy inked edges look (theoretically? k, just go with me on this...) a bit like ocean waves. this particular fish came from a somewhat falling-apart copy of a truly glorious mid-1960's national geographic book called "the wondrous world of fishes" which i obtained for the princely sum of 25 cents at a library book sale a few weeks ago. so as it turns out, the fish on the card is actually about a year older than the brother to whom it shall be given. i kinda like the serendipity of that. :)

speaking of serendipity, it just so happens that every member of the SOS design team has made a lovely layery creation that we hope will inspire you to join the fun! off you go, darlings! ♥

*if you're reading this from a location other than central new jersey, there's a pretty good chance you're *not* me, and thus feel free to stick with only one or two "lots" before your intended amount of layers. if, on the other hand, you are me: please stop at wegman's on your way home and pick up coffee... we're almost out. :)

Friday, August 14, 2015

special delivery

to you... from ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! this fortnight we're making holiday cards with a mail or postal theme. so what do we mean? well, you could use faux or real  postage... or postal images (mailboxes, postcards, stamps, etc.)... or another option is to create a holiday postcard or make a holiday card with a matching decorated envelope. see, there are LOTS of choices, and you are cordially invited to choose any (or all!) of them and join us in the card-makin' fun! here's what i made:

postcard+santa collaged image: xmas postcard journalers #1 by katie pertiet, designer digitals, printed on kodak premium glossy photo paper; patterned papers: basic grey, october afternoon, jenni bowlin; "noel" letter stickers: echo park; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

one of the very first digital items i ever bought --and it's still one of my all-time faves, actually-- was a set of katie pertiet's christmas postcard journalers from designer digitals. and holy moly, i have used the heck out of those things! ironically, i'm pretty sure the one thing i've never used them for is journaling. package tags? yepper! address labels? lotsa times! a couple of years ago i even used the bell one as part of our ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ header. but my favorite thing is to make them the centerpiece of a postal-themed holiday card. so that's what i did here. :)

meanwhile, miss stephanie has a pretty fab collection of mail-related stamps, and she's used an uuuuuuuuuber-cute one this week! check it out, won't you? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

home is where...

...the ART is! not to mention the art supplies, of which i have quite a few. ahem. quiiiiiiiite a few. last night, i used some of 'em to make this:

so why am i telling you this? well, as you know i spent june and july ecstatically immersed in the glories of the index card a day project, and the very cool instagram scene which surrounded it. i met soooo many fun people, and at the end of july everyone was saying, "oh i wish we could keep doing this" and then a little group of ladies said, "well, why can't we?!" so they decided to use the hashtag #sisters with heart in art and to post a prompt via instagram each wednesday, and invite anyone who'd like to participate to come along. it took me nearly an entire nanosecond to say, "YES PLEASE" lol!

the first prompt is, "HOME/HOUSES/BUILDINGS" and it starts today... ok, yeah, i cheated slightly and made my page last night because i just couldn't wait! :) you can use any format (atc, journal page, tag, index card, etc) any media (paint, collage, pencils, pens, or all of the above) and basically go as crazy as you'd like! so i did. and i'd love it if you did, too! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

make a spectacle of yourself!

yepper, that's what we want you to do for this week's challenge at shopping our stash! so will we all be channeling our inner kardashian? ummmmmmm... no. howsabout we just make projects with eyeglasses on them? yeah, that'll work. to this end, i constructed a somewhat fab pair o'shades, if i do say so myself... and apparently, i do! :)

black and white photo pages from a very old falling-apart book about hawaii i found at the library booksale; palm tree stamp purchased in a pearl city giftshop by my friend barb, c.1995 (!); epoxy palm tree + tiki sticker: (very old) creative imaginations; yellow chipboard thickers: american crafts (via the lovely miss leslie, ta v much!); sunglasses constructed from a scrap of ranger glossy black cardstock using a free clipart image, see below for details; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, xyron, sewing machine; book covers made of paper accents medium weight chipboard; endpapers: frances meyer; bookring and interior cardstock pages: staples; font: splash

ok, so yeah, i'm still stuck in hawaii mode. and let's face it, there are only so many "aloha" birthday cards a girl can use, lol. on the other hand, my etsy shop's stock of travel books is sadly depleted, so i just shifted gears and made one of those with a sort of vintage hawaiian vibe. the cover is 5x7; the interior pages are just over 4x6.5". it's bound by a single book ring to facilitate adding postcards, brochures and other fun "vacation stuff" while on the road.

but my favorite thing is the pair of shades, which i built from the ground up. it was easier than you'd think, too, want to see? the main thing is knowing how to cheat, which i'm pretty good at. yes, i could draw a pair of sunglasses, and in fact the idea of this was inspired by something i drew for ICAD, but i wanted this pair to be symmetrical, and i also wanted to be able to re-use the same shape in future, so i found a free clipart image online, and printed it within the size of a 3x5 photo on some sturdy index stock.

it's well known that i loathe cutting with a craft knife, but this one i found at staples last winter is by far the most comfortable handle i've ever encountered, and for interior cuts you just have to sort of suck it up. to maximize my results i attached a scrap of clear inkjet transparency to the cardstock, so i'd wind up with a stencil as well as a template.

two stencils, actually... one positive and one negative; or i suppose you could call it one stencil and one mask? plus the cardstock template, which is what i used for this project.

i traced the glasses frame on the back of some glossy black cardstock, cut it out, and then backed it with the palm trees i'd stamped on a scrap of bookpaper that looked a bit like a sunset. i adhered the little collage of glasses, palm tree, tiki and "aloha" to the beach photo, which i left large enough to wrap around the front cover of the book. since i like the front and back covers to coordinate, i found a second black and white image that went pretty well.

i trimmed up some pretty hibiscus-patterned cardstock to use as endpapers, and made two week's worth of pages with the days on them, some fun hawaiian word pages, and a bunch of blank extra pages, and attached everything with a sturdy book ring:

i've used leslie's gorgeous crooked stamper sketch challenge #7, though you can see that i've rotated it 90-degrees counter-clockwise; and admittedly, it's still a pretty loose take. but it's an awesome sketch and it really did inspire me, so i bet you'll like it, too:

speaking of stuff i *KNOW* you'll like: all of my darling dt sisters are making a spectacle of themselves at SOS this week, too;  and there's no way you want to miss that! ♥

Sunday, August 9, 2015

all kinds of happy

last week my bff trish celebrated her birthday, so of course i wanted to make her an especially cool card. trish's passion is knitting and she is ♥AMAZING♥ at it, so i've made a few yarn-centric creations in my time; but this year, i wondered if i could do something a tiny bit more personal... like maybe even hand-drawn? as often happens, i had a few ideas, that didn't necessarily connect up. i did a super-fast version of one of them in my sketchbook about a month ago, which as you can see is a real working sketchbook, with tons of little snippets of ideas and testing of pens and cleaning off of marker tips, lol!

in the next few weeks, i started playing with watercolors and stitching... then i had a truly nutso idea that involved gluing variegated yarn to watercolor paper... i also re-noticed (as i have in the past) that the individual stitches of a piece of plain knitting (known in the jargon of the hobby as "stockinette" stitch) look a bit like hearts. i also found a really old sketch i'd done of balls of yarn, and wondered if there was anything interesting in that direction. eventually, i went back to the original idea, and did a real version of it in watercolor, with some pen outlines. a few days after that, i went back to the "finished" piece, and added some machine stitching detail. lemme just say that this is by no means the way i approach most assignments... but when i'm trying something new it often takes me a few go's and when there's time to pursue them, i enjoy the process of seeing where different ideas might end up.

meanwhile, i was fairly happy with this version and felt pretty sure it was THE ONE. but i wasn't in love with the shape of it... plus, pink is probably more my taste than hers. and in the meantime, the nutso-string-gluing idea had sort of grown on me. so i gave it one more try. et voila:

pretty sure you're not going to see something like *that* at hallmark (or indeed anywhere else, lol) but trish really liked it; and as you'll no doubt have sussed... it was fun to make! happy sunday, darlings, i hope that you've found "all kinds of happy" today, too! ♥

Friday, August 7, 2015

more cookies, please

we're still making holiday cards based on this super-fun, totally drool-worthy christmas cookie inspiration photo at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥... won't you join us?

since we're using the pic as an inspiration rather than a color combo, i decided to move into the "concept" of xmas cookies rather than the specific ones in the photo. especially since i found the cool vintage-inspired recipe card that just seemed absolutely perfect:

patterned paper: basic grey; recipe card: october afternoon miscellany; diecuts: pebbles; badge:
studio calico; doily and twine from my stash; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

once again i clustered a little group of elements i thought went nicely with the focal point: gingerbread, a cup of cocoa; then grabbed a doily and some patterned paper for my backdrop. of course i didn't need to bring in any of the colors from the photo... and frankly, the teal looked ghastly... but the red, white and kraft turned out to be a nice fit, so i just went with it, lol!

why not stop over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's gorgeous creation and link up one of your own?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

show us your snark!

this week's challenge at shopping our stash (SOS213) is extra special, because it's a cross-over event with the lovely and irreverent sisterhood of snarky stampers (SOSS)* with whom our design team shares a few members. so OF COURSE we want to see your snarkiest, sassiest, silliest, most sarcastic stamps and sentiments... feel free to get as wild as you want!

patterned paper: bam pop (birds, speech bubbles, scallops) basic grey (circles + blue) ki memories (numerals); labels: dymo: ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine 

to me the funniest part of this is that the bigger bird is agreeing with the little bird's snark. i don't know why that cracks me up, but it does, so i'm just going with it. possibly nobody else will find it remotely amusing, not even my brother, whose birthday card this is going to be. something i honestly didn't realize until right now when i uploaded the photo onto my blog, is that i subconsciously used all the colors from our JINGLE BELLES "cookies for santa" inspiration picture again! but really, it was based on the fact that the ancient bam pop birds and speech bubbles happen to be aqua and red, so it just made sense.

and now why not hop over to SOS or SOSS and see all the other gorgeous, hilarious, awesome, snark-filled cards that have been made especially to inspire ♥YOU♥ to join us!

*when SOS teams up with SOSS you get SSOOSSS, which sounds like the noise my garden hose was making last week when it hadn't been shut off properly. unless you have one of those fancy keyboards that does footnote or exponential numbering; then it'd be S2 O2 S-to-the-power-of-3 which i'm pretty sure is one of the ingredients in plutonium. so just *be careful* you guys, that's all i'm sayin'... :) :) :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

au revoir, mes ICADs

cue the sad, sad music: another fab year of the index card a day project* has concluded, and once again i could not be more grateful for 61 days of inspiration, ideas, drawing practice and art friends. huuuuuuuuuuuuge thanks are due to the lovely tammy at daisy yellow who once again devised, hosted, coordinated and just generally cheered everyone on while we made our cards each day. she does all of that stuff year-round o'course, and you should totally check out her website because it's one of the most colorful and inspiring places on the whole entire internet! ♥♥♥

meanwhile, here are my last few cards of the year:

056: masheen
cogs and gears and... ummmmm... flowers and hearts and... ok, i have no explanation for why this one turned out this way, but i like it. so there!

057: sunrise
or in this case, sunset, because i absolutely loathe getting up that early, even for artistic porpoises. i tried a different method for this: i sponged and blended loads of distress and chalk inks on the blank card (having first outlined very faintly in pencil where i thought the sun and waves would be) and then drew the outlines in afterwards. definitely going to use this trick again.

058: queen of hearts
a combination of playing card and tattoo imagery... and a little bit of french... b/c everything sounds cooler en francais, non?!

059: plaid
my cousin richard is a professional stage manager, and in the mid-1990's he worked what seemed at the time like a nearly infinite number of productions of the musical "forever plaid" all over this great land of ours. so that was the first thing i thought of... and i just went with it. this also embodies my second rule/tip for art journaling or just generally getting going when i don't know what to make or what to draw; i do some doodling or hand-lettering or both.

060: advice
my first thought was to draw dear abby, lol. but then i thought i'd illustrate a piece of advice, instead. i had seen this quote on pinterest a while ago, and i thought it summed up a pretty great mindset. (plus... unlike quite a few equally smart mottoes, i found that the words suggested imagery i could use to make it visual.)

061: parachute
i wanted to make and tag (on instagram) my last card of the year specifically in honor of tammy at daisy yellow, so rainbow colors, hearts and fun lettering seemed like just the thing! ♥

the completed book
which... for the first time ever... looks exactly like it did when i started! that's because it was a pre-bound book of index cards from staples, whicht i bought specifically in hopes it would encourage me to work flat and rely less on my "comfort zone" activity of collage this year. in fact my secret goal was to draw, doodle or hand-letter on every single card... and i did it! kinda proud right here, even if it does make for the most boring "completed book" photo ever, lol! 

*there is a choice of (free!) uber-cool 2015 icad badges at daisy yellow for anyone who participated; or heck, you can start now, or next week or... just jump in and start whenever...