Monday, February 29, 2016

do you love color challenges as much as i do??

i ask because there's a fabulous new one that's just gone live on the eyelet outlet blog and i think you'll enjoy it as much as i did. i mean, just look at the palette... gorgeous, no?

i was in the mood to paint a little seascape because i thought it'd be a pretty good use of these particular colors (irl, my ocean is greener, i swear!) AND i wanted to use some of my all-time favorite eyelet outlet brads (sea shoreshells, and shell cornersto frame it.

eyelet outlet goodies: shell brads, shell corner brads, sea shore brads, 8mm pearl bradswhite paper flowers, gold glitter washi tape; cardstock: core'dinations; watercolor paper: strathmore; watercolor paints: artist's loft; ink: colorbox; vintage text paper from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i stand by that decision, on the grounds that it's a pretty cute card, plus it was totally fun to make. i didn't have blossoms that were quite the right shade of pink, so i watercolored a couple of white eyelet outlet flowers with a little bit of streaky soft pink from the palette. instant matchification! ;)

tell the truth: you're DYING to jump in on this gorgeous palette, right? why not hop on over to the eyelet outlet blog for all the details right now and be sure to leave my uber-talented teammates a little love whilst you're there, ok darlings? ♥

Sunday, February 28, 2016

like a flipagram... but slower! :)

if you visit me on instagram you already know that a month or so ago, when i had just finished the big canvas project, i discovered a free app called flipagram which lets you turn a series of static photographs into a little video. which is perfect for posting a project that has a lot of steps, or a series of related projects you want to showcase together, or even to create a sort of time-lapse effect of say... the same tree... (or kid, lol!) photographed every week or month. i made a couple flipagrams of the canvas project, and one of a crocheted garland i made for my niece which was difficult to really get a sense of in just one picture. (click the links to see them; you don't need the app or an iphone, any computer will work!)

the other night, though, i went from using the app on existing photos, to deliberately creating content for it. i actually sat and photographed each step as i was drawing a mandala, then assembled them at the end. i'm pretty sure that's a sign i'm obsessed, lol. the only problem with this method --and possibly there's a workaround i don't know-- is that you cannot stop the animation and look at each photo slowly. so here's a blog sequence, just in case anyone wants to see all the steps in a mandala:

step 1: 
this is the grid i devised for teaching my mandala class, it consists of using a ruler to find the center of the paper on each side, making a cross, dividing each of the four segments, then using 3 punched circle templates (sm, med, lg) to make the "target" looking rings. this is the ONLY measuring and the only pencil drawing we do! it takes approximately one minute. i can do it faster than it took me to type this. it does seem to be the difference between confidence and fear when drawing one's first few mandalas, though, because you have specific segments to fill, and it's very easy to keep things tidy.

step 2:
from here on out, we're wingin' it, baby!
(ok, yeah, i cheated very slightly and added an even smaller circle to the very center of the design... but after this, we're wingin' it, honest!)
can you see how the 8 pencil lines show me exactly where each petal goes? and the concentric circles allow me to effortlessly make them the same length. well... sameISH...

step 3:
half circles between each petal

step 4:
balloony tear-drop thingies between each half circle
(and again... i know where each one wants to start and end... 'cause i have another penciled circle mark to guide me)

step 5:
more petals!
(of course you can do ANY shape in any order; you can make some of your concentric "rings" only contain four petals and some have sixteen; you needn't even attempt curves... a design with all straight lines give you a sort of starburst effect that's also cool!)

step 6:
more half circles!!
(at this point i've decided that the "macro" shape of my mandala is more or less done, i'm not planning to make it any bigger, so i can add detail. thus i'll go back into the center again, and work outwards)

step 7:
adding "inner" outlines with the little hatch marks is quite traditional. also the radiating lines. dots, swirls and scrolls often make an appearance as well; you can be as simple or as complex as you'd like!

step 8:
more detail. someone asked me how i choose which bits to highlight. actually, i almost always use the embellishments to hide my mistakes, lol! heavier lines are the ones i thought needed to be straightened; dots cover up stray pen or pencil marks; i color in the wonky shapes to make them more symmetrical. so now ya know!!! :)

the finished mandala! it's your turn...

ps: if you don't believe that you can get AWESOME results with no experience necessary, you should know that the photo at the top contains the very first mandalas drawn by some of my paper anthology students!!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

layers? again??!

yep, coincidentally, on the same week as the dreaded/awesome one layer challenge at SOS, it turns out that our brand new ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ prompt is "all bundled up" for which we'd like to see cards with at least three layers! go figure. so there's layery challenge goodness for both minimalists AND maximalists, woohoo! here's my take on the latter:

uber-cute santa tag: target; patterned paper and journal card: pebbles; bingo card: jenni bowlin digital kit, printed on kodak premium photo paper; tape: heidi swapp, october afternoon; black glossy cardstock: paper accents; corner rounder: we r memory keepers; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

being a fan of layers, myself, this card was a lot faster for me to put together. also, it helped that i used all ready-made items, such as the cute sentiment and pre-printed bingo card. but my ace in the hole was the suuuuuuuuuper-cool santa, who started life as a gift tag, an entire package of which i acquired in the holiday giftwrap section of target in december (...for like... $3??) and then promptly forgot all about, until the box literally fell at my feet whilst i was looking for something else. sometimes the gods of crafting just smile upon us, eh?

another way the gods of crafting are both bountiful and generous is by providing a brand new fusion card challenge every few weeks. i only used the sketch half of this one, but i wouldn't rule out a second attempt that uses the cool flowery "pretty in pink" mood board, either:

meanwhile stephanie has a gorgeous card to show you at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ so i'll let you hop over and check it out!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

two cards i half like

this week's shopping our stash is a doozie, you guys, we are assaying the dreaded* ONE LAYER CARD! i don't have all that many "nevers" in my crafty life. i try not to have any, actually, because i think it's really useful, creatively, to try everything at least once in a while. but i hardly ever make one layer cards, and i always need a push to do so. which is what's great about challenges, they get us out of our comfort zone, which is excellent. and sometimes, the very stretch of trying out unaccustomed ideas results in awesomely serendipitous surprises. alas, this is not one of those times.

both cards are made from strathmore watercolor paper and are colored with ranger distress inks, tombow markers and faber castell pitt artist pens. "happy birthday" also uses my favorite freckled fawn alphabet stamps, and a gorgeous indian-inspired flower cluster stamp by sheena douglass for crafter's companion. the mandala card uses a stencil from the same collection. both cards have my own doodles added in to the mix

the crazy thing is, that 99% of the work i do in my sketchbook is one layer, using stencils and doodles and handlettering. so i kind of thought that i'd be able to take some of those ideas and translate them into fabulous unique cards. ah well, i think i managed the "unique" part, anyway, lol. there's nothing really WRONG with either of these; they're colorful and fun and i will definitely send them. i just won't necessarily promise not to add a little bit of machine stitching and a few sticky-back gems before i do so. ;) but i did enjoy the challenge of this, and the fact that i don't feel like i really "cracked it" just spurs me on to try again soon.

some folks who've already got one layer cards down pretty danged impressively are my amazing SOS dt sisters. so i heartily suggest you give yourself the treat of checking out their cards as soon as possible, darlings! ♥

*dreaded if you are me, which, quite possibly, you are not. i realize quite a lot of people enjoy making one layer cards and all i can say is that i now admire their work EVEN MORE than previously! well-done, one layer cardmakers, i salute you!

Monday, February 22, 2016

eeeeeeeek! it's my first *OFFICIAL* eyelet outlet project!

so obviously, i'm pretty excited!!! also, i think i MAY just have set a record for using the most different kinds of eyelet outlet shaped brads in one project, woohoo! but then, there are sooooooo many uber-cute sets, it's kind of impossible to just choose one. here's a little peek at my project:

want to see more? hop on over to the eyelet outlet blog, where i'm today's hostess. be sure to scroll around a bit once you're there, though, because the design team is pretty flippin' awesome, if i do say so myself! (which, apparently, i do, lol!) 

meanwhile, i hope you'll take the advice of my two favorite spokesmonstas and, "keep smiling" throughout the rest of your day!

craving any of the fun brads used in this project? 
click any link to hop on over to the eyelet outlet website
where there are even more cool choices!

ps: the light bulb icon is hand-drawn, but it was inspired by 
these adorable Light Bulb Brads which i predict you'll love as much as i do! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

merry and bright (especially BRIGHT!)

we're still celebrating text paper, fonts, lettering, alphabet stickers, quotations and all other happy holiday wordiness at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ with our "text me" prompt, and there's still loads of time for you to jump in and play along! here's what i made this week:

"merry and bright" handlettered with alizarin crimson colorburst using a tim holtz water brush on strathmore watercolor paper tinted with picked raspberry distress ink, outlined with faber-castell pitt artist pen in XS nib, distress ink grey marker for shadow, sharpie white fine tip paint pen accents; holly accents are several shades of blue and green colorburst; gems: eyelet outlet clear edge 12mm jewel bling (the packet has both red and pink gems, yum, yum!); stripey patterned paper: ancient ki memories, you cannot see the shimmer but it's there!; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i love handlettering. i may have mentioned that 3 or 4 GAZZILLION times before, lol. at the moment, i'm specifically obsessed with brushlettering as my instagram "following" list and youtube video history will attest. and i've been practicing. i'm still not to the level i'd like to be, and i'm still doing quite a bit of outlining and touching up, but i'm getting there. and i'm pretty pleased with this rendition of "merry and bright" done using colorburst and a water brush. this is quite a pared down card (for me, lol!!!) but i still found room for a few hand-painted holly leaves and some scrumptious eyelet outlet jewels standing in as particularly upmarket berries.

there's loads more inspiration in the readers' gallery and of course stephanie has created a particularly lovely card to show you, won't you hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check those out right now, darlings? ...ciao...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SOS239: fantastic plastic

i love acrylic elements in cardmaking. i know they can be challenging to attach (more on that in a bit) and don't get me started on photographing them without a big giant light bounce. (arrgh!) but i still love them. which is why i'm pretty psyched that this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "fantastic plastic" and we want to see (i expect you've already guessed) something plastic on your project, whether that be the window in a shaker card, some old (or new) plastic alphabets or flowers, or even the ultimate plastic-based endeavor... a card built on a transparency, like mine is:

pink grid transparency: hambly screen prints (out of print, alas); pink acrylic letters (embellished with beachy rub ons): heidi swapp; beachy rub-ons: fancy pants; sea shore and shell corner brads: eyelet outlet; patterned paper (scraps): recollections, doodlebug, fancy pants; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i used some of my sadly dwindling supply of hambly* transparencies as my card base. at some point i may start to actively hoard these, but i love clear cards (and also clear pages in a journal or travel book!) and i am most fortunate to have a lovely friend called stephanie who on my behalf snaps up any hambly she finds, so at this point my motto is, "use 'em 'til they're gone". i will admit to using them judiciously. ;) i've also employed some of my favorite eyelet outlet brads (sea shore and shell corners) to attach my clear pink acrylic letters to the beachy faux polaroid, thus:

which answers part of the question i get asked most often when i post a clear card, "hey lauren, how do you keep the adhesive from showing through on the other side?!" there are a few answers to that one, including, "i use adhesives (like a tape runner) that don't show very much" OR "i use hardware like eyelets, brads and staples which provide an additional design element" OR "i machine stitch so that it looks cool on both sides" but my ultimate/favorite answer is, "i make the adhesive as low profile and tidy as possible, but it does show a bit, and i don't worry about it." here's the inside view of my card to illustrate what i mean:

yes, i know the color's awful; see "arrrgh" above about photographing clear stuff

you can see that i backed the polaroid with a leftover piece of sky to hide the multiple brad legs and thread tails. the surfboard rub-ons don't have a pattern on the reverse side, but they're a cool shape and re-iterate the beach idea, as does the sunshine. i did use (neatly cut and placed) pieces of foam tape to stick on the sunshine and the faux polaroid and yes, they're white and visibile. and i'm ok with that. if it really bothered me, i suppose i could cut two of each element and attach the second one on the inside and make it into another decorated element. for that matter if you really reallllllllly look for the evidence of elements attached to a transparency with tape runner, you can usually find it. again, i'm fine with that. i do take a little extra care to apply the adhesive neatly around the edges, but that's pretty much the extent of my concern. life's too short to obsessively worry about adhesives, imo. especially in an election year, but that's a completely different issue that i refuse to address on a papercrafting blog! :0

meanwhile, over at SOS my lovely design team sisters will be happy to provide you with further evidence that plastic is indeed fantastic; you need merely to hop over and confim that, darlings! ♥

*yes there are plenty of brands of utterly GORGEOUS transparencies being sold for papercrafting. however, i've yet to find any which are as strong as the hambly ones, and thus suitable for making a layery, laureny, loads-o-stuff-piled-on-there cardbase. alas. on the other hand, when hambly was still plentiful i had not yet heard of glitter embossing paste. the gods of craft take away, but they also give... 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

heart, heart, polka dots... pineapple?

yep. that pretty much sums up my sketchbooking lately. wanna see? the first heart was for the first day of kathy racoosin's latest 30 day coloring challenge, which is taking place throughout february. i'd love to tell you that i've used her awesome example to color every day and really practice shading and so forth. alas, no. but i've jumped in here and there. and i ♥LOVE♥ seeing the gorgeousness everyone is submitting via instagram!

 the second heart was for last week's sisters with heart in art instagram prompt, which was (...wait for it...) HEARTS. i busted out my most vivid shades of color burst and went color craaaaaaaaaaazy! (woohoo!)

POLKA DOTS are this week's SWHIA prompt. mine are kinda freelance polka dots. polka dots without portfolio. ok, maybe not. they were fun to make though, which is the main thing, imo.

finally the pineapple. because... ok, no, there's no particular reason. i've just seen a bunch of kawaii pineapple illustrations around and they put me in a pineapple-y mood, i guess. i'm taking bonus points for having resisted the urge to outline the whole thing in black. at least i haven't done it yet.

meanwhile, i wish very happy ♥VALENTINE'S DAY♥ to everyone who's celebrating; a very happy ♥GAL-entine's DAY♥ to all my friends who treasure their gal pals as much as i treasure mine; and a very VERY happy ♥chocolate's gonna be on sale tomorrow day♥ to anyone who'd care to join in!


Friday, February 12, 2016

say the word!

this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we are celebrating fab fonts, lovely lettering and all things terrifically typographic with a prompt we're calling, "text me". so what does that mean in terms of your design? well, it's a pretty fab chance to break out your oversized alphabet stickers, your big honkin' sentiment stamps, your text papers --or book paper?!-- to make a holiday card with the emphasis* on the words!

alphabet stamps: freckled fawn; journal card: pebbles; red/pink solid(ish) paper: basic grey; black glossy cardstock: ranger; border strips: echo park, crate paper; cardstock tree stickers: echo park; tiny enamel dots (recolored from pink to red with a copic marker): eyelet outlet; ink: colorbox; red pen: flair; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

once again this year, i'm making a concerted effort to reduce my hilariously large post office tab by making more rectangular, standard-sized cards which aren't too lumpy. once again this year, i expect to fail as often as not by not being able to resist adding flowers with gorgeous gem brads and/or making huuuuuuuuuuge oversized greetings and/or preferring the beautiful symmetry of square cards. but i'm making the effort, when all things are equal, to make design decisions that lean towards smaller and flatter, whenever it's possible to do so and still love my cards. and this week i did really well, woohoo! one of the things that keeps me interested is adding my own spin, so instead of using one of the many lovely text papers in my stash, i hand-stamped the background using my current favorite alphabet set:

i also added texture to the printed holly berries with some sweet little enamel dots from eyelet outlet, and bumped up the fun factor with machine stitching all around the perimeter. (a move which coincidentally guarantees my cardstock border sticker strips will still be firmly attached when the holidays roll around!) ;)

i used the current retro sketch (#201) to guide my layout:

stephanie has a gorgeous card to show you, as well, won't you hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check it out right now?

*yes of course you can use images, too, but we'd like to see more than an ordinary smallish sentiment on your card to qualify; let's just say the words should be "prominent" ok?! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

we're getting in shape... shopping our stash. but don't worry, there will be no painful exercises required, we'd just like to see you make an awesome shaped card! doesn't that sound like fun? well, it's more fun than calisthenics, anyway! :) :) :)

patterned paper: glitz design; dimensional flower (formerly a pin; acquired at a garage sale); fabric flower and leaf layers: basic grey... i can't believe they're getting out of papercrafting... that's really a bummer!!!; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine 

i made a flower-shaped card, and i freely admit that i did so mostly so i could break out the cool blue dimensional flower with the rhinestone gems on it. i got that months and months ago at a garage sale and i've been dying to use it on something ever since. it originally had a pin back thingie on it, which i removed so i could mount it to the card front a little more securely. i had imagined this card having a few more layers than it wound up with... but everything else i put on just seemed to "compete" with the flower rather than enhance it, so finally i gave up and went with what you see here.

there are lots more fun and inspiring shaped cards at SOS, won't you hop over and enjoy those now?!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

i'm so excited!

because i'm going to be on the eyelet outlet design team! my first official projects won't actually debut until later in march, but i've already got loads of ideas and i'm already having a lot of fun hanging out at the eyelet outlet blog. right now there's a pretty fab color challenge going on, and i was longing to play. just look at this gorgeous board, i dare you NOT to want to make a card using these colors!!! ♥

i was inspired by the full-on sparkle factor of that shoe, as well as the gorgeous palette, so i decided that it might translate into a pretty good mandala. i stand by that belief, actually:

pearl hearts, pink bling and red clear edge jewels: eyelet outlet; background created on strathmore watercolor paper with ken oliver's color burst in several shades of blue; mandala drawn using faber-castell pitt pen with XS nib; patterned paper: basic grey; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, sewing machine

i used a few different styles of gorgeous eyelet outlet bling*, including pearl hearts (which make excellent mandala petals, don't you think?!) red clear edge jewel bling, and some smaller gems that started out pink, which i slightly re-colored using a red copic marker, to fit better with the scheme.

i hope you'll check out the challenge post and that you'll have as much fun as i did making a magical (...and perhaps also sparkly?!) creation inspired by this bright and beautiful palette!

*i'm sure you know and love eyelet outlet eyelets and their fabulous brads, but did you know they also have tons of bling, awesome washi and even gorgeous florals? srsly... ya gotta check it out! ♥

Friday, February 5, 2016

bling it on (again!)

we're still celebrating all things glittery, glimmery, sparkly and shimmery over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this week. well heck, some of us (ME!!!) pretty much do that every week, but for our "bling on the holidays" prompt we are officially requesting that you use gems, jewels, pearls, glitter, stickles, beads, sequins or the like in your card. here's what i made:

ornaments: strathmore watercolor paper, watercolored with ken oliver's color burst in blues and purples and stenciled with silver viva decor glitter embossing paste (damask stencil= tim holtz; medallion=sheena douglass for crafter's companion) inked with colorbox chalk ink and outlined with a faber-castell pitt pen in xs; patterned paper: elle's studio, hambly; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; heart shaped sticky back jewel: eyelet outlet; bling lines: recollections; scraps of silver foil paper and blue seam binding from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

it's no secret that i'm in love with embossing paste generally, and glitter embossing paste especially. i made a few cards last year which featured hand cut baubles, gussied up with stenciled glittery patterns, and i can tell you right now that this won't be the last time for this year, either.

i particularly love adding glitter embossing paste to ornaments i've painted with color burst, just because the range of colors and contrasts you can get is so awesome. in this case i've also outlined the embossing paste patterns to make them stand out even more. i'm pretty sure you won't be seeing that technique again in conjunction with the super-detailed damask pattern stencil anytime soon because it was fairly tedious to do. but it looks good, so i'm callin' it a win, lol!

it's a "fifth saturday" at sketch saturday, which means we could choose any past sketch between #215 and #396; so i went with #251:

stephanie also has a lovely bling-based card to show you over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and, should you need additional inspiration, i highly recommend a scroll through the gorgeous readers' gallery!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

beachy keen

this week at shopping our stash the challenge is entitled, "i'm dreaming of a warm _____" and your assignment is to fill in the blank, then make a card based upon your answer. need some examples? ok, howsabout a warm blanket, a warm bath, a warm hug, a warm cup of coffee (or tea) or even, if you're like me and in the midst of a northeastern us winter, you might be dreaming of a warm beach!

watercolor beach and hibiscus done using ken oliver's color burst pigment powders on strathmore watercolor paper; patterned paper: my mind's eye, crate, recollections, prima; sticker: creative imaginations; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; clear gems recolored with a copic marker: recollections; adhesives: elmers brand glue tape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

the current fusion card challenge is called "woodland neutral" but alas, despite the total coolness of the theme, i didn't do the inspiration part this time, just the sketch, which is equally fab, however:

i'm pretty pleased with my color burst watercoloring this time, especially because i resisted the impulse to pencil sketch first AND to black outline at the end. not that there's anything wrong with either of those, but when i feel like something is starting to become an unbreakable habit, i start feeling slightly nervous. plus, it's good to change things up once in a while, don't you think?

meanwhile there is more warmth and goodness awaiting you at SOS in the form of projects by my amazing DT sisters. go forth and enjoy those, won't you, darlings? ♥

Monday, February 1, 2016

painty and colorful

once again i find that i've got a backlog of things made for various prompts set by sisters with heart in art, the instagram art group i'm in. we've been having a ball, choosing a new theme each wednesday, and everyone is welcome to join in! this week it's RAINBOW, so i broke out the cool set of frixion color pens that gina gave me for a marathon doodling session!

last week's prompt was PEACOCK. i love the palette and the shapes, so i did some watercoloring with lots and lots (and LOTS!) of machine stitching on top.

the week before that, we had CUP. i had intended to draw a traditional teacup and saucer. i'm not sure how it turned into a fanciful lotus teacup, but it did, so i just went with it:

finally i have a few random colorburst paintings, sort of vaguely back to the RAINBOW theme, but a lot looser. some wavy striped circles...

...and some random paint splodges that i doodled upon... very messy, but fun.

one more colorburst painting, this one is loosey-goosey flowers in kind of a pam garrison(ish) style, just playing around.

it seems like i cannot get enough color in the winter, especially when there are still such mountains of snow piled everywhere! hope you are keeping well, getting enough vitamin c AND enough art play time, darlings! ♥♥♥