Friday, September 30, 2016

Surfin' the Web

Apologies to any arachnophobes out there, I know that not everyone is a fan of our eight-legged friends, but these Eyelet Outlet Mini Spider Brads are so adorable, it's scary, lol! Which is why I couldn't resist weaving-- or in this case, machine stitching-- a web for them to inhabit on my Halloween card:

I drew some very light pencil marks to make the long straight "anchor" lines of the web, then sat down at the machine and did the curvy connecting lines. The nice thing about spider webs is that you don't need perfectly neat stitching; in fact the messier it is, the more organic your web will look!

If you're not really up for web-weaving, though, this Spider Web Washi is absolutely perfect! I created my oversized sentiment by neatly covering a scrap of white cardstock with lines of tape, then tracing some chipboard letters and cutting them out. 

To make the smaller letters I covered a scrap of cardstock with Glitter Black Washi and used alphabet dies. After all my elements were attached to the card, I added those Adorable Arachnids and called it a day.

I was inspired to use the grey background by the Mood Board Inspiration (challenge #235) at Use Your Stuff; for which I thank them!

If the spider brads are still too creepy crawly for you, there are lots more Halloween Brads at Eyelet Outlet so there's sure to be something you'll love! ♥

the belles, the bellllllllllllllllllllles!!!

we're still ringing out the xmas cheer at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and you still have plenty of time to link up a bell-based card! here's what i made this week:

holly brads: eyelet outlet; journal card with bells and sentiment sticker: simple stories; patterned paper: basic grey, doodlebug + a scrap of vintage sheet music; kromekote cardstock: the paper cut; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

the fab bell image was actually on an oversized rectangular pocket-scrapbooking card, but when i saw the current fusion sketch, i was inspired to trim it into a circle instead. i did a bunch of machine stitching, added some super-cute eyelet outlet holly brads, and painted a bit of pewter liquid metals onto the center of the bells for a cool shimmer effect that... alas... can only be seen irl!*

despite a massive flooding event in cedar rapids and the mandatory evacuation of both her home and office this week, the amazing miss stephanie has still produced a gorgeous card which you can see over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥. leave her a little love too, k?! ♥

*you're all invited round to see the card in person, i'll put more coffee on, shall i? 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

i love you a latte, amy tsuruta!

i enjoy coffee quite a bit, too; and we all know that making cards is my favorite thing, so it's a bit of a puzzle that this is the first time in a couple of years i've gotten my act together to make a card which celebrates all of those things, but at last i've made something for the 2016 fall coffee lovers' blog hop, woohoo!

i'm hoping this is autumnal enough for the seasonal hop... i went with a sort of loose back-to-school theme is somewhat fall(ish) colors, at least partially so i could add the gorgeous eyelet outlet book washi tape which i absolutely love. the fab new coffee cup and coffee bead brads are eyelet outlet, as well, and so is the skinny hearts washi. i've also got a dictionary page with COFFEE actually on it, that i consider a bit of a triumph, lol! and a couple of the tiny sunflowers from a bouquet my aunt found at a garage sale.

vintage dictionary page + sunflowers from my stash; coffee brads and washi tapes: eyelet outlet; cardstock diecuts: october afternoon; patterned paper: american crafts, october afternoon, with scraps of basic grey and doodlebug for paper piecing; pink twine: lawn fawn; ink: ranger archival for stamping, colorbox chalk for edges; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i'm jumping in on the current retro rubber challenge (#48), "all tied up" and for once i know EXACTLY how old my stamps are! mick and keef, the two adorable monstas, were carved for me by my girl gina for a monsta swap we did in 2009 (!!!); the coffee sentiment stamp is from the first set of stamps my friend becca cruger designed for stamplorations (in sept 2015), it's called "literary caffeine-ations" and is still available from that fine company! :)

be sure to check out the fall coffee lovers' blog hop, say "hey" the lovely miss amy and soak up the glorious inspiration in the readers' gallery. oh, did i mention there's a chance at some amazing prizes?! you know, if you like that sorta thing... 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SOS271: an apple for teacher

we're going a bit tutti frutti shopping our stash this week! we'd like to see cards and projects that have fruit or veggies on them; alternatively, you could make a teacher appreciation card or gift, so there are plenty of different ways to take this! here's what i made:

patterned paper: basic grey; journal card: simple stories; cardstock stickers: doodlebug; strawberry, cherry, sun, cloud and mini butterfly brads: eyelet outlet; tape: love my tapes, doodlebug, scotch, little b, heidi swapp, martha stewart; glossy kromekote cardstock: the paper cut; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

this is my favorite sort of card, because i've mixed some brand new must-haves (those uber-cute tropical-themed cardstock stickers from doodlebug ) with some of last year's eyelet outlet brads and scraps of ancient basic grey paper. i love the way new supplies make me look at my older stuff with new eyes and find cool combinations i hadn't thought of before!

my favorite part of this is the sticker collage, which i've built on top of a trimmed-down 4x6" journal card whose letters are a pretty good match for the colors in the stickers. i added the typed sentiment strip to make this read, "aloha, birthday girl" which i think is a fun thing for a card to say!

i used the current sketch saturday layout (#431) to guide the placement of my elements, though clearly i've played around with the proportions quite a bit... i *think* you can still see the "bones" of the sketch though?

there's lots more fruity food for thought over at SOS, why not hop over and enjoy that right now, darlings?!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

*ALL* the colors!

if you've ever asked my niece maddie what her favorite color is, she will have said, without the least bit of hesitation, "RAINBOW!" at the age of twelve she's old enough to know that technically, rainbow isn't a color, as such. but she doesn't care. it's still her favorite. something i've noticed lately in my sketchbook is that if i'm doodling or doing anything abstract without being given a specific palette, i will probably use my favorite color: RAINBOW! :)

this color burst watercolor was made for #sisters with heart in art on instagram, the prompt was "drips and drops". well, that just SCREAMS rainbow hearts, doesn't it?!

this was a marker testing page that i later filled up with black pen doodles. well a girl's gotta do something at 10:30pm, right?!

someone asked me recently if my half- and two-thirds mandalas actually go off the page, or if i just crop them that way for instagram. IG does kind of force you into a square, so sometimes i am posting a slightly smaller version than real life, but if they look like they go off the page, it's most likely because they do. i just find it more dynamic when the art fills up the space really well. also... symmetry is HARD you guys! 

i had fun in september jumping intermittently on an instagram challenge hosted by @aisforanika called #backtopattern. this particular prompt was "shapes". i'm still not sure what possessed me to do that much precise measuring and coloring, but i like the result; sort of "vitruvian man" meets 1970's tv test pattern, eh?

another #sisterswithheartinart prompt, this one was "circles" and i had just gotten a tiny (round!) paint set on a trip to the metropolitan museum of art.  

another day of #backtopattern, this time "paisley". i actually set out to make a funky version of a color wheel using all the shades of color burst, similar to some very cool ones i saw on ken oliver's facebook page. well, i DID use all the shades of color burst, lol, so there's that... :) 

whatever ♥YOUR♥ favorite color is, i hope before this lovely sunday ends you will have used a bit of it in a project that makes you especially happy!!! ♥

Friday, September 23, 2016

belles are ringing

this fortnight's prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ is called "christmas bells, those christmas bells..." and for once, it means EXACTLY what you think it does: we want to see holiday cards with bells on them! jingle bells, church bells, silver bells, sleigh bells, or any other kind of bell you can think of! here's what i made:

cardinal brads, holly brads and glitter gold washi tape: eyelet outlet; vintage sheet music and doily (inked green and layered) from my stash; chipboard letters: basic grey; plaid patterned paper: october afternoon; sage green cardstock: core'dinations; ink: colorbox; adhesive: elmers brand gluetape

the very first year of ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ my lovely blogging friend and fellow jersey girl lorraine of paper vernissage gave me this beautiful memory box "jingle bell border" die and it is still one of my all-time faves! in this case i've used it-- and most of the other elements on the card-- to make my oversized sentiment even more prominent; a task for which those adorable (brand new!) eyelet outlet cardinal brads are admirably suited, imo. my layout was inspired by this week's sketch (#178) from atlantic hearts sketch challenge:

stephanie has also created a most inspiring holiday card (literally) with bells on, why not check it out at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I was fairly surprised earlier this year when my retired, and not especially "tech-savvy" mother got her first smart phone. The reason? She wanted to be able to text with her grandchildren! Of course the best part of texting is being able to use all those cuuuuuuuuute emojis, right? Well, good news, now we can use Eyelet Outlet Emotion Brads and Emotion Mini Brads on cards, too!

I made a fun background of text speak using my vintage typewriter, but you could easily stamp or computer-generate something similar. Before I began typing, I lightly traced around the brads and the Heart Enamels I wanted to use, so that I'd be sure to leave enough space, in the right places. It's pretty hard to type right down to the bottom of the page, so I filled in the last few lines with a strip of Tape Measure Washi and a strip of Skinny Hearts Tape.

I can think of sooooooo many fun uses for these... I'm probably going to need more than one pack! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SOS270: fairies and angels

the new challenge at shopping our stash is pretty self-explanatory this week; we want to see projects that feature fairies and angels. easy peasy, right? yeah... UNLESS you want to make a card with a fairy... it turns out you have not one single thing with fairies on it. not in your whole entire stash. not even in your vintage book and/or digital files collection. i'm pretty sure this is not a situation that will apply to anyone else, but if it does, take heart. you can always make a christmas card, instead. :0

vintage postcard from my collection, scanned, made a bit smaller, and printed on kodak premium glossy photo paper; patterned papers: graphic 45, craft and you design; vintage ribbon from my stash; glittery snowflake: my mind's eye; ink: ranger distress in several brown and tan shades for toning down all the white and all the edges; adhesives: elmers' brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

having had a bit of a moan over my thwarted intentions, i must say that once i shifted gears from fairies to angels, i had quite a few from which to choose. i decided upon this beautiful vintage postcard, which i scanned and re-sized to make it a little more card-friendly. also, it was the one i thought would work best with the current sketch saturday sketch (#430) so that sort of clinched the deal.

loads more angels and fairies to be found at SOS... hop on over and savor the magic! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

hand lettering, anyone?

i've always liked type. i have more alphabet stamps and stickers than any other category, and don't get me started on computer fonts. but the last couple of summers during ICAD i've really enjoyed doing little bits of hand-lettering on some of my cards, and this year i discovered quite a few calligraphy and lettering artists i like on pinterest. there are even some pretty cool challenges on instagram... so now and again, when i've got a little "sketchbook time" at the end of the evening, i will do a bit of hand-lettering. here's a bit of that now:

the fall lettering challenge, hosted by @inkcitra and @letteringbymhel runs the entire month of september and features (as you might've guessed from the name) a distinctly autumnal flavor. this might be my favorite entry for that so far, mostly because the finished piece looks almost exactly like the picture that was in my head. 
(gotta love it when that happens, right?!)

i do most of my lettering with tombow dualbrush pens. i've tried other brands of waterbased brush markers, i've got some copics, and occasionally i even treat myself to a fancy lettering pen. but 95% of my every day marker-ing is done with the tombows, and i have to say that if i was only going to own ONE BRAND, they'd be it. because they're good quality, come in LOTS of colors, and function well in pretty much any situation, on any type of paper. they are, in sports terminology, a true "utility player" imo.

most of my outlining is done with faber-castell's pitt artist pens, specifically the XS (.1mm) and S (.3mm) nibs. they have fairly durable tips, (admittedly, i'm a nib-killer) and i find them to be the *most* smear-proof of the major brands. they are not, however, as permanent as, say, a sharpie. so i tend to outline last (as in OVER my marker or watercolor) whenever possible. i do like sakura's micron pigma with the .005 nib, too, because it's such an amazingly light line.

more fall lettering challenge prompts, obviously. i've been experimenting with different letter shapes and styles. and every once in a while i manage to resist outlining in black, lol. (but, no, not all that often.)

"full harvest moon" is lettered with tombows over a background i watercolored using ken oliver crafts' color bursts, and the lettering has highlights done with liquid metals. in real life it looks soooooo much cooler, but for the life of me, i could not capture that in a photo. 

aaria baid, known on instagram as @surelysimpleblog is another of my lettering and doodling heroines. i especially love her short IG videos, one of which inspired this wreath, using her "geometric roses" technique. 

yep. another FLC entry. the pumpkin is watercolored with colorbursts and then the letters are tombow. again. because that's the way i roll. ;)

what's this, you ask? why, it's a sunflower rendered in blendy shades of colorburst, with tombow lettering on top. made for the FLC. what are the odds, people??!?!

amanda kammarada is a tombow brand ambassador, and yet another lettering star on instagram. i admire her amazing talent, of course, but i'm also impressed by how friendly she is, and how generously supportive she is of other letter-ers, especially beginners. she is a true "encourager" which i admire tremendously!
(if you want to absolutely marvel at her skill, check out this video in which she does a much more impressive version of "galaxy lettering".)

Friday, September 16, 2016

home *SWEET* home for the holidays

we are still celebrating holiday architecture at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ with structures ranging from gingerbread houses to cityscapes to the eponymous little town of bethlehem to... santa's house at the north pole, perchance?

patterned paper: photoplay; cardstock stickers: doodlebug; brads, washi and enamel hearts: eyelet outlet; glossy red cardstock: jam paper and envelope; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

this little house and the uber-cute reindeer couple were just a few of the stickers on a sheet of doodlebug's icons i bought recently. i can never quite resist how adorable their products are. i've dipped into some of the BRAND NEW eyelet outlet brads to dress these cuties up even more: the boy reindeer has donned some antler brads, while the girl reindeer is wearing a hat that comes in the elf brads set. i've also added some of the fab new heart enamels (these come in soooooo many gorgeous colors!) plus a bit of skinny washi tape with hearts, and holiday dots washi. i'd love to take credit for thinking up that super-fun diagonal swathe of tape, but actually, i just followed the current sketch saturday (week #429) layout:

head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's card and check out the "little town of bethlehem" gallery!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

it's a THREE-fer on TWO-sday!

yes, i have *three* blog posts today, if you scroll down you can see my guest DT post for the current retro rubber challenge, and below that, the fab project i made for the eyelet outlet blog this week! meanwhile here comes my regularly scheduled post for shopping our stash. this week's challenge might be a toughie for some of you hardcore stampers, because we don't want to see ANY stamping this week; instead we'd like you to, "cut and paste" by which we mean swap out your stamps in favor of diecuts or stencils or BOTH! c'mon... it'll be fun! here's what i made:

patterned paper and florals: prima; black and white tape: scotch; leaf stencil: penny black; distress ink: shabby shutters and peeled paint; label die: nestabilities by spellbinders; black glossy cardstock: ranger; machine stitching uses coats and clark heavy duty upholstery thread in black and the highest number of stitches-per-inch on my sewing machine; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

i happen to love stencils and diecuts, so i've got both on my card. the former involves my favorite leaf stencil and a few shades of green distress ink; the latter uses one of the many label shape nestabilities, which i still consider to be one of the best papercrafting tools of all time! i've incoroporated both halves of the current fusion challenge into my card, because heck, they're both pretty awesome, right?

since i knew i wanted to place everything according to the sketch, i made a few light marks where my focal point/label would go and then started stenciling the leafy background to emerge from behind it. the plain leaves definitely had great shape and color, and they resembled the inspiration photo quite nicely, but there was something missing. i mention this because i think it might help anyone who is longing at this point to grab their stamps; the thing that i thought was missing was definition... so i added some outlines, by machine stitching around one set of the leaves and adding veins to the other. you could also do this with a pen if you don't like to sew. either a plain outline, or faux stitching would work!

to give the leaves even more interest, i borrowed a trick from hand-lettering, which is to add a drop shadow to one side of each letter, or in this case, to one side of each leaf. i use a grey tombow brush marker for this; at the moment my favorite shadow color is N60, which is just the right color and intensity of blue-ish grey, imo.

there are lots more beautiful "cut and paste" creations from the design team over at SOS. do stop by and check those out, won't you, darlings?! ♥

anything goes? that sounds very laureny, lol!

i'm super excited to be the guest designer on the retro rubber challenge blog this week, especially since it's a sort of free-style week and you can basically do whatever you'd like! just remember to use at least one stamp that's more than a year old, AND you must mention the stamp and it's approximate age in your post, ok? other than that, you can go as wild as you want! here's my card, or at least... here's one of the cards i made:

paint chips from my mom's friend valerie, who gave me a whole entire huge keyring book of them, which i loooooove! thanks, valerie! ancient flourish stamp: sassafras lass... and yes, the package still said "lass" which shows you just how old these were, lol!; red background paper, floral and wooden button: prima; black swirl pearl bling: eyelet outlet; archival ink and black glossy cardstock: ranger; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, 3m foam tape 

ok, so, you can see i've taken the assignment of "anything goes" quite seriously, lol! my card was inspired by... wait, you'll LOVE this: a brochure i found in home depot! (see pic below) i saw all those colorful hexagons and i thought, "i have a hex punch! and i have paint chips! and i can stamp flourishes on top of them, then add some eyelet outlet bling!!!" and thus, my idea was born. the flourishes on this card are old faves from a set of sassafras lass clear stamps. i knew they were considerably more than a year old, because of course sassafras closed longer ago than that. what i didn't realize was that they had closed in 2011! and these were not new, even then. so they are well and truly *OLD* you guys. for that matter, the giant tattered angels flourish stamp that i used on my other card is pretty old, too. possibly not pre-2011, but at least pre-2013 because i know i had it before we moved into this house. 

so here's the other card, which is actually the one i made first. there's no bling on this one, but i've matted it on some rather gorgeous croc-textured vinyl paper, and i outlined the flourish with a sharpie to make it stand out a little more. oh, and i sewed around the edge, for texture. but other than that, it's the same idea, accomplished in the same way. 

i hope you'll come on over to retro rubber, see the other designers' awesome cards and join us in having fun with some of your older stamps! remember to mention the age of the stamps, and please note that your card may be submitted to a total of no more than *10* challenges, including retro rubber!

Click for Options
ready... set... STAMP!!! ♥

Really Big Cards...

...need really big envelopes, it stands to reason, doesn't it? You might see this as a hassle, but I consider it an opportunity to go really big with beautiful Eyelet Outlet embellishments, such as Solid Color Paper Flowers, 15mm Pearl Brads, and elegant Pearl Swirl Bling. A bit like this:

The card for which I made this particular envelope measures 5x10", so yeah... it's BIG! I like to make collages, and when you're working with original vintage items, they are whatever size they are. Luckily, it's super-easy to construct a custom-sized envelope. I started with a piece of vintage wallpaper measuring about 11x16", but you could use any oversized sheet of giftwrap, kraft paper from a roll, or even an old map. 

Neatly fold and crease one side so that it's slightly shorter than your card... this will be the pocket into which we slide the card. Next make another fold a couple of inches from the opposite end... this is just decorative, to give the top flap a nice clean edge. Finally, make a nice crisp fold just about in the center between the other two... and that's it! 

Secure each side of the pocket with adhesive, or machine stitch along each edge. Line the inner flap if you'd like to. Use a tiny bit of velcro, a magnetic closure, or some pretty ribbon to hold your envelope closed. And that's it! Now it's time for the fun part: EMBELLISHING!

I made a little cluster of  Solid Color Paper Flowers. Since each packet has three different sizes of blossom, and a total of 40 flowers, I could afford to be a bit lavish and stack some of them, securing the centers of the larger blooms with 15mm Pearl Brads, and the smaller ones with 5mm Pearl Brads. At the edges of the arrangement I used some gorgeous creamy Pearl Swirl Bling. These are absolutely beautiful right out of the package, but in this case, the flourishes were not quiiiiiite the right shape, so again, I went with the "customized" option. I left the swirls attached to their clear backing sheet, but snipped the swirls apart and re-arranged them. Once I had exactly the right positioning, I peeled them off their backer and added them to the design. Et voila! One special collage card in a very fancy presentation envelope!

I hope you'll be inspired to think outside the box of standard sized envelopes and give your own handmade cards the couture coverings they deserve!

Friday, September 9, 2016

oh little town of bethlehem...

one of the sneaky things challenge blogs sometimes do is make the title of a challenge just a teeeeeeeeeeny bit obscure. we don't do it intentionally to see who will actually read the whole challenge post... well, ok, maybe we do that once in a while, lol. i mention all of this because this week's ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ prompt is called, "oh little town of bethlehem" which you might think means we want to see religious images, but actually, we want to see holiday cards with at least one building on them. which at first seems kind of tough, but when you start looking through your stash, i expect you'll find --like i did-- that you have patterned paper with cozy christmas cottages, and stamps of gingerbread houses, and stickers with santa's magical castle at the north pole; not to mention cityscapes, eskimo igloos, lovely snow-covered churches or yes, even a stable with a manger in it! so there's a lot of ways to go with this. here's my card:

another great source of christmas building images: snowglobes!!! this one and its attendant embellishments and sentiment came from a pack of my mind's eye cardstock elements... some of which are very sparkly, which i love. i grabbed papers from a couple of different manufacturers that just happened to match, and called it a day.

i've used the incredibly lovely sketch saturday week #428 to guide my layout; i'd also like to thank those lovely ladies for the shout out on my pink and grey card from last week.

stephanie has a gorgeous card to inspire you, as well. why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check it out, darlings?!