Friday, July 21, 2017

here comes santa claus!

it's time for a brand new prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and this fortnight we are celebrating the big man himself, so we'd like to see cards that feature santa, kris kringle, father christmas, pere noel, julenissen or whatever version of jolly old saint nicholas happens to be your favorite! i've gone with a classic, if slightly historical santa:

santa image from a dover postcard reproduction of illustrations by thomas nast; flower tape, paper flowers and pearl brad: eyelet outlet; pattered papers: recollections, blue fern studio, jen hadfield/pebbles, mme; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

one of my biggest tips for scoring interesting, offbeat finds at book sales, thrift shops and rummage sales is to make sure you walk down every aisle, scope out every category and take a peep in every area. why? because sometimes people define things differently than you would. i once found an amazingly lovely MINT copy of an edward gorey pop up book... in the kids' section... for 25 cents! apart from that, it's always possible that other browsers may have changed their minds and put something back incorrectly. i also always look for a "reject" cart or table near where you pay for purchases. people may decide against something right there at the register, and if he cashier hasn't had time to replace it, there might be a pile of COOL things right in front of you. oh and i've never been to any kind of sale where there wasn't a "junk box" in which everything is free or ridiculously cheap. i've found creased (but lovely) postcards, incomplete games, funky union badges, cool single rhinestone earrings and even letterpress in such catchall spaces! why am i mentioning this now? because last fall i found these two pristine books of reproduction holiday postcards in a box with kids' coloring books.

i'm playing along with this week's atlantic hearts sketch challenge (#221), and i thank them very much for the shout out i got for another cool christmas card i made a couple of weeks ago.

once again i was tempted to make all those fab little flags out of washi tape, but i decided to change it up a bit, so i made the pennants out of paper scraps and topped them off with a strip of gorgeous eyelet outlet washi instead. i used this pretty black and white flowers tape, which --as the name implies is NOT colorful-- so i added my own tinting with a few alcohol ink markers. strictly speaking, it's not even a holiday tape, but i liked how it went with the vintage flora on the postcard. i topped the design off with a beautiful EO paper flower stack and a large pearl brad.

stephanie has her own santa-centric card to show off to you. why not head over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see that right this minute?!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Beach is Always a Good Idea!

Here's a shocking true confession: I am not that great at stamping + coloring. But one of my birthday gifts from my craft-bestie and fellow EO designer Stephanie Severin was an adorable Hawaiian-themed stamp set* that I knew would be perfect with ALL of the various Eyelet Outlet Sea Shell Brad Varieties, so I couldn't wait to use it. It's featured in my post on the Eyelet Outlet Blog today, actually!

I painted a beachy little watercolor background using ColorBurst pigment powders.** I attached my title (alphabet stickers and trimmed-down Dymo Label Tape) leaving a gap for the border of shells I wanted to use, which included some Shell Corners, Sea Shore Brads, Shell Brads and even a Sandcastle Brad. Here's the most important step in my card-making process, which I've said before but it bears repeating: I dry fit the elements, including the brads-- on which I usually flatten the prongs a bit-- so I can see how everything works together! Then, I snap a pic on my phone, so I will remember what order I had everything in, and which bits were over or under something else. Only then do I start poking holes in my background! ;)

Finally, my favorite thing about sweet little character stamps like these, is that the scale makes them PERFECT to mix in a few more brads! In this case, the cute hula girl had a bloom behind her ear that I covered with a Fresh Flower Brad; and you know that as soon as you construct some bamboo lettering a Seagull Brad will immediately come and perch upon it!!!

I hope you'll be inspired to look at your stamps AND your Eyelet Outlet Brads and find more combinations that will be perfect together. If you need some ideas, the EO Blog has brand new inspiration every single day!!!

*Polynesian Paradise by My Favorite Things, a set that Stephanie knew I have been drooling over since it was released a couple of years ago! ♥

**Cerulean for the sky, with some Turquoise added in the sea; Gamboge with a tiny (TINY!) touch of Sepia for the sand.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

we've seen the light(bulb)

at shopping our stash, that is. which is why this week's challenge is called, "you light up my life" and coincidentally also why we'd like to see projects with lightbulbs on them: as a focal point, as part of a patterned paper, in a lantern, as a chandelier, on a christmas tree or... perhaps even in the form of an adorable eyelet outlet light bulb brad?

ancient patterned paper scraps: imaginisce, amy tangerine, pink paislee + some newer bits of echo park and simple stories. sentiment sticker of unknown origin; birthday die and twine: lawn fawn; lightbulb brads: eyelet outlet; scraps of white glossy cardstock: the paper cut; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, stick it adhesive sheets by ken oliver crafts

that is one of my favorite brad styles, actually, and i've always felt a bit sad that i don't use them enough, so this time i decided to make a sort of background paper that would show them off. i've used this beautiful skinny lawn fawn happy birthday die to make patterned paper once before. though only once, because applying gluestick to those tiny delicate words was kind of tedious. so i was interested-- if a bit skeptical-- when my friend elisabeth suggested using "stick it" adhesive sheets. because of course i've tried applying xyron adhesive to cardstock sheets and then diecutting. yeah, they *stick* really well, but it's a bear and a half trying to peel them off the back of the diecut words. the stick it, though, had no such issue; it peeled off easily and cleanly. i can see my super-detailed dies getting A LOT more use in future! ;)

something else that is both practical and awesome is this week's sketch saturday layout, on which i have only just realized i rotated the bottom layer. huh. howboutdat?! :)

be sure to check out the "light bulb moments" experienced by the rest of the sos design team, won't you darlings? ♥

Sunday, July 16, 2017

*WHERE* exactly did this week go??!

seriously, i'm pretty sure time is passing much more quickly than usual. and not just because i've been having fun doing ICAD with my nieces and nephew. though i have. and it is *AWESOME*! here are the cards i made this week. you might be shocked to see there is quiiiiiite a bit of collage, lol!

 day 39: ampersand
i used an oversized ampersand from a pack of chipboard letters to trace the shape onto a panel of gelato crayons over white emboss resist that was leftover from a class last winter. (a have a few more discarded versions of the flower flourish design, so act surprised when you see something similar in future, lol!) and then i layered it over... waiiiiiit forrrrrrrrrrr iiiiiiiitttttttt... a random vintage paper collage! ;)

day 40: steampunk
of course the first thing most people think of when they hear the term "steampunk" is fish-based flying machines.
(srsly, i have no idea, this is just what happened, k?)

day 41: roots
a bit tangential, admittedly. but this was partially a collage for my mother who wonders why i can't make some ICADs that are *pretty* lol.

day 42: onomatopoeia
for the record, i am NEVER going to be able to spell that word without looking it up. meanwhile, another collage... with another vintage car on it...
(i could probably do a whole month just of those cars, but i'll spare you...)

day 43: off-prompt
a collage with more layers than anything else in this post, and yet it's almost entirely FLAT. ingredients include:
a stamped index card
part of a vintage map
a nature dictionary description of hibiscus
a scrap of sewing pattern (in French!)
a Japanese tag
three kinds of vellum
 two kinds of tissue paper
scraps of awesome birch bark patterned giftwrap
a metric measuring chart
and six different rubber stamps, including the palm trees which my friend barb brought back from hawaii for me years and years ago and which i still absolutely love

day 44: blue
still a collage, but this time a collage consisting of previously made colorburst essperiments, including several unsuccessful attempts to paint a watercolor galaxy; a tinted modelling paste idea that i like but it didn't work of what i wanted at the time; and an offcut of the cerulean sky from friday's jingle belles card. thus proving there are no *surplus* colorburst pages... just ones you haven't used yet...

hope this day finds you on your way to doing something FUN! if you need me this afternoon, i'll be at my mom's house, with the kiddos, wreaking collage-based havoc all over her kitchen table, darlings! grab your gluestick and come play!!! ♥♥♥

Friday, July 14, 2017

cerulean winter wishes

we're still rockin' this gloriously bold inspiration photo at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and you still have time to choose any aspect(s) of the picture that appeals to you, and make a holiday card which reflect them:

here's what i made this week:

background of cerulean colorburst on strathmore watercolor paper; paper cut glossy kromekote cardstock; ac POW glitter paper; vintage sheet music; various scraps of core'dinations green cardstock; birch tree die: artistic impressions; christmas tree die: sizzix; snowflake brads plus white and pale blue sticky pearls: eyelet outlet; sentiment sticker: crate paper; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

once again i've chosen to feature that beautiful palette of bold blue and white, with some little pops of green. i've given the birch logs stacked in the fireplace a bit of a flashback to their previous incarnation as a forest. the diecut pine tree with the typing on it is a technique that i've done a few variations on over the years, there's a basic tutorial here, though it's a simple enough idea: before diecutting your trees, layer several shades of torn cardstock (or patterned paper, or colorbursted watercolor paper, or gelli prints) and add texture in the form of machine stitching (or modelling paste, or stamped embossing, or stickles) then diecut the "enhanced" paper in the normal way. it's super-easy to do, a great use for scraps, and you're guaranteed to get something totally different every single time!

maybe my favorite part of this card, however, is the cerulean colorburst sky, sprinkled with a little snow in the form of eyelet outlet snowflake brads, along with white and blue sticky pearls.

stephanie has also made a brand new card to inspire you this week, why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check it out? and don't forget to visit the eyelet outlet blog every saturday afternoon this month, for our awesome "christmas in july" special feature!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WHOOOOOOOOO loves ya, baby?!*

Is it just me or is almost everything better if when comes in ♥RAINBOW♥ colors?! Case in point: The cards I've posted on the EO Blog today, featuring Eyelet Outlet Owl Brads. There are twelve brads, in a variety of shades, in every packet. AND... They come in Bright and Pastel colorways! It's a rainbow of awesomeness, really, as you can see:

Of course you don't need to use all the colors, all at once, lol! But it's nice to know we have the option, right? The Enamel Hearts I've placed between the owls also come in LOTS of colors and sizes, so you'll OWL-ways have the right ones on hand!

Once again I have made my own texty patterned paper by typing the phrase "love, OWL-ways" over and over in a word document, matching the colors to the Pastel Owl Brads; then printed it out onto cardstock and layered it onto my card. I've made the file into a .jpg so that you can use it too, if you'd like. It's just one of the fun things available on the Eyelet Outlet Blog's FREEBIE Page, which you might like to check out!

Another way to use the sweet Owl Brads, and the same sentiment is to pair them up and place them in an appropriate setting. When I found this cute journal card with the branch right on it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This time I stamped the phrase, to make it a bigger part of the design. I finished off with woodgrain mats and more Enamel Hearts!

I hope you'll be inspired to make something with ALL your favorite colors today! Meanwhile, hop over to the Eyelet Outlet Blog and see what kind of awesomeness Carri has for you!

*My maternal grandfather (aka Pop Pop) was a big Kojak fan, and for years and years afterwards would say hello or goodbye to us grandkids with, "Who loves ya, baby?" ♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

are CAS and grunge fundamentally impossible to combine?

seeing as CAS stands for "CLEAN and simple" it would seem so, wouldn't it? and yet i think you'll agree that, in the laurniverse, the card you are about to see is about as minimal as any i've ever made in my whole entire life. which ought to count for something, surely? but why does the question even arise... especially HERE, of all places? if you've guessed that there's a CAS-related challenge at shopping our stash this week, you're headed in the right direction! in fact, july 12th is national simplicity day, so we are paring down to just the essentials. which i think you'll agree i have actually done fairly successfully.

in the spirit of full disclosure, i have to admit that i somewhat cheated. because whereas i can recognize and LOVE a very minimal design when i see it, i have a hard time coming up with one on my own. so i decided to find an awesome CAS card and try to recreate it. i picked this card by an SCS member called biggan, and i stayed fairly true to the original. i even used a PLAIN WHITE BACKGROUND and stamped my sentiment right on the plain white background. which is how i lost the "clean" from "clean and simple". because i used a new set of woodmount alphas in a typewriter font that i absolutely love. and when i stamped them on scratch paper they came out beautifully clean. but... (you can see what's coming here, can't you?) ...when i stamped on my actual card i got a big honkin' black mark. i could have just started over. but i wanted to see what would happen if i added a few more black marks, and a tiny bit of distressing, to the design. so i added the 2nd and 3rd impression from all the other letters to the area around the sentiment, and the 2nd and 3rd impressions from several ink-ups of my favorite texty background stamp to the area underneath the hearts, to which i'd already added a little bit of crackle embossing paste, just to get some texture on here somewhere. so i'm not sure it's still CAS... but i think it's still simple?

you may --or may not-- be wondering where the hearts came from; but since they involve the stamping that qualifies me for the current retrorubber challenge (#66: going to the chapel: make a wedding card) i'm going to tell you, lol.

when i was designing the garden friendship book, for one of my july/august paper anthology classes, i tried out a lot of ideas using a beautiful tim holtz cling stamp set called "garden flowers" which is from either last summer or the summer before (2015, i think; but i'm honestly not sure!). a couple of the techniques involved smooshing together a few of my favorite shades of colorburst (peony and wisteria for the flowers; pthalo and turquoise for the leaves) on watercolor paper, letting it dry completely, then stamping the flower outlines on top to achieve that really loose watercolor stamping look i love.

in the end, i had several extra panels that didn't work for the book, but were much too pretty to toss away. i've used a couple in various ICAD collages, and for the remainder, i traced heart shapes onto the back of the panels, cut them out, and machine stitched them to the card. which brings me full circle, to my original question: is a card still CAS if you've grunged up all your elements??

meanwhile, my dearest SOS dt darlings have made beautiful cards that are clean AND simple, and i'd love for you to go marvel at their skill!!! ♥

Monday, July 10, 2017

there are index cards EVERYWHERE!

which is just the way i like it!

day 32: desert or dessert

i compromised with a DESSERT ISLAND! featuring another die --the awesome palm tree-- from stephanie; i've used it on a leftover bit of colorburst-ed watercolor paper on which i used up several shades of green and a tiny bit of blue from another project; thus proving that there's never any SURPLUS colorburst experiments, just ones you haven't used yet!!! 

day 33: orange

more yummy colorburst, this time in shades of tangerine, orange, lemon and verrrrrrrrry diluted fuchsia. i painted the mandala shapes, let them dry, then came in with some paint pen and marker details on top. in case you're wondering, "hey lauren, aren't ordinary index cards a bit too thin to use for watercolor?" well... yeah... they are, really. even working pretty dry and blotting each color (which is how i got such soft pastel shades!) this card had warped considerably by the time i was done. so after it dried, i did quite a bit of smoothing and stretching to get it --more or less-- flat again. 
day 34: fourth of july

i'm not sure i've ever done this much collage during ICAD! i hope it isn't too boring to see, but i've been enjoying it so much, and since these cards are my "treat" at the end of each day, i just go along with whatever feels the most FUN!

day 35: favorite type of apple

yep. it's another collage! this one's composed of vintage bits, rice paper (which is so thin it's hard to see in the pic, but adds a lovely texture irl) and ink. my favorite part of this is that the sequin scrim pocket was just a few little leftover scraps which i used to demonstrate, for my nephew matthew, how the sewing machine works. after which, he sewed a bit of netting to one of his ICADs! 

day36: off prompt

a "clean up" collage of bits that were laying around on my art table. some loose ink + overstamp flowers that didn't afterall make it into the garden book; a tiny snip of vintage photo, and loads of different sheet music scraps that i tried to piece together like a puzzle. oh and a bit of drywall tape --my new favorite weird collage item, lol-- on top. it's funny that whereas, in other years, the 3x5" format has seemed constraining to me... this year that feels like the PERFECT size; so i'm just rollin' with it...

 day 37: off prompt (again) 

another colorburst mandala card! this time tangerine, lemon and olive are my colors, and i was trying to play with layers of color without making my divider tab card so wet that it got all pilly. thus my design has morphed into a kind of fiery, flowery, swirly hybrid! 

 day 38: charcoal

i started off with the best of intentions: i'd follow the prompt, albeit tangentially, by making a collage entirely from greyscale ingredients. i got as far as the ballerina, and the next thing i knew, there were all these other non-black and white bits! including a scrap of glittery papaya art giftwrap that they no longer even make, so i'm kind of happy to commemorate that in collage form! 

hope your monday has started off well and that this will be the best week of your summer so far!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What to do with Watercolor Doodles

July is World Watercolor Month, so there are a lot of awesome watercolor-related prompts and challenges in the blogiverse and on Instagram. Which means you might very well wind up with a bunch of random ColorBurst paintings of patterns or shapes or rainclouds... or... possibly even stripes with loads of pen doodles on top, lol. You could paste them into a cool watercolor journal, or use them for backgrounds. Or you could make a fancy (but super-easy) custom monogram, like this one:

What You'll Need:

Watercolor Doodles 
(mine consist of rainbow ColorBurst stripes, painted with a flat brush about 1/16" apart on Strathmore watercolor paper, allowed to dry thoroughly, and then doodled upon with various sizes of Pitt Artist Pens by Faber-Castell)
Monogram Template 
(instructions below)
Scissors and possibly an Xacto Knife
Foam Tape
Plain Gift Bag

Let's Go!

Type the letter of your choice into a Word document, 
size it to fit your watercolor panel (mine is 4x6")
print it out in a light color, reversed, on plain paper.
(I've used a free font called "Storybook")

Tack the printed monogram to the back of your watercolor panel
with a small amount of dry adhesive and cut it out, 
using an Xacto knife for any interior cuts 
(like the "window" at the top of the A); and scissors for the rest.

Ink or outline around all the edges in black, 
so your letter will really stand out.

Affix the monogram to a gift bag (or card, or package) 
with foam tape and embellish as desired. 
I've attached a couple of Paper Flowers to the letter 
and trimmed my plain white bag with a few strips 
framed by Pearl Bling Strips

Put a little present into the finished bag and practice looking modest 
when your delighted recipient asks, "HOW did you do that??!"

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Christmas in July...

...with the Eyelet Outlet Design Team is taking place every Saturday afternoon this month, on the Eyelet Outlet Blog. Last week my fellow designers Susan Creech and Kim Venezia wowed us with their beautiful brad-bedecked holiday cards; this week I'm hanging out over there with... well, actually, no, I'm not going to tell you, you'll just have to hop over there and find out! ;)

But first, here's my card:

It's no secret that I ♥LOVE♥ Eyelet Outlet Washi Tape, and I have amassed (some might say hoarded, lol!) a nice collection, especially of Christmas tapes! So of course as soon as I saw this week's Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge (#219), my first thought was that those awesome strips needed to be done entirely in washi tape!

Since most of the tapes I wanted to use are horizontally oriented, I decided to rotate the sketch. I chose a notebook-style patterned paper, because I love the look, but also: the horizontal lines make it SO EASY to apply your tapes and have them be perfectly straight! I used *NINE* different tapes! From top to bottom they are: Skinny Hearts, Skinny Pastel Green, Season's Greetings, Holly, Skinny Merry Christmas, Heart Washi, Wide Tree Tape, Merry Christmas and Skinny Green Stripe. You'll notice that not every single one of those has a holiday motif, I just chose tapes that had some red or green, that I thought went well together. My top tip for combining lots of tapes is to choose a few skinny or wide patterns to go with your standard tapes; OR you can get a similar visual effect by using all 5/8" tapes, but overlapping them somewhat randomly, which makes it look like you have tapes of different widths! I used some uber-cute stickers as my focal point, and finished off with a little bit of twine, some white Heart Brads and red Heart Enamels!

Why not grab a few of your favorite Eyelet Outlet holiday tapes and brads and join us in celebrating Christmas in July, every Saturday afternoon, all month long! 

and her Eyelet Outlet design team sister Stephanie Severin,
make Christmas cards all year long 
on their holiday card challenge blog, Jingle Belles!

Friday, July 7, 2017

what's blue and white and awesome all over?

it's the inspiration photo we are using to build our holiday cards at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this fortnight of course! see?

you can use any aspect(s) of the picture that you like: from general impressions, such as the colors or the clean lines; to specific details, like the candles, the birch logs, or even that adorable westie! i chose to focus on the palette and the sparkly snowflakes:

background created using colorburst pigment powders in cerulean, ultramarine and indigo; snowflake stencil: tim holtz; copper embossing paste: dreamweaver; ancient sparkly star stamp: psx; snowflake dies: tim holtz/sizzix; snowflake punch: martha stewart; glitter paper: american crafts/pow; watercolor paper: strathmore; cardstock: core'dinations; jewel brads and gems: eyelet outlet; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

stephanie has approached this challenge in a completely different --and completely FABULOUS-- way, that already has my gears spinning with ideas for next week's card. you really should check it out at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

july and august classes!

woohoo, i've remembered to post my new paper anthology classes* during the first week of the month! go, me! :)

Xmas in July (and August)

Prepare to Die(cut)! We’re going to mix Tim Holtz’s “Holiday Greens” Thinlit dies (in both full-size and mini) with some really luxurious materials, such as wood veneer, glitter paper, burlap flowers and velvet leaves to make a trio of elegant (but EASY!) cards that will jump start your Christmas card-making duties this year!

Garden Themed Friendship Book

More than a card, less than a present… this sweet 4×6″ booklet is just the thing to give your BFF! We’ll combine papers from Kaisercraft’s “Telegraph Road” collection with stamped parchment, torn sheet music, washi tape and diecut ColorBurst flowers, then bind it with sticky-back canvas, waxed floss and a few beads.

if you're in or around kenvil, new jersey, and feeling a bit crafty, be sure to check out the complete list of classes available, with dates, times and full details on the paper anthology class page! ♥

*for map-questing or other GPS uses, paper anthology is located at 717 US highway 46, in kenvil nj, 07847

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Many Multi-Layer Mandalas

Hi folks, it's my day on the Eyelet Outlet Blog again. I was lucky enough to receive some incredibly cool layered mandala dies for my birthday, from my crafty bff and fellow EO designer Stephanie Severin, and of course my first thought was: how cool they would look when paired with Eyelet Outlet brads, washi tape and paper flowers! Here are a couple of cards that I think prove my point, lol:

My first idea was to cut each layer of the mandala in a different color, and reassemble them all using classic small 1/8" Round Brads and teeny 1/16" Round Brads as accents. Luckily both varieties come in loads of beautiful colors, so I had plenty of choice. As I was stacking up the embellished layers, I noticed that the smallest and largest of my Purple Paper Flowers were the perfect size to be incorporated into the design, and they added even more color and texture! When I was assembling the finished card, I realized that the one thing that was missing was *SPARKLE* so I added a border of Skinny Glitter Washi Tape to the mat under my mandala, and it was the perfect accent!

My second card was inspired by the leftover mandala layers, and how much I loved mixing them with the Paper FlowersI started stacking them in different combinations, and instead of using the center from the die, I grabbed these fun Daisy Flower Brads, which are rather mandala-like, don't you think? I added Champagne Swirl Bling (though there were actually quite a few colors which looked equally cool!) and some Foil Dots Tape and called it good.

I hope you'll be inspired to look at your dies --and your EO Brads!-- and see lots of new possibilities. Meanwhile, there are always loads of ideas on the Eyelet Outlet Blog. Why not hop over and scroll down and see what my Wednesday partner Carri is up to today? ♥