Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Let's Pretend It's Spring For a Minute, Ok?

I realize that compared to the winters in, say, Canada or even New England, we have it pretty easy here in Central New Jersey. Nevertheless, there is always a point towards the end of January or the beginning of February, where I feel like I just cannot stand one more day of cold, grey, overcast weather. Luckily I have Eyelet Outlet Wide Flower Washi Tape and Bright Dragonfly Brads, so I can make myself a little bit of Spring, in card form, which is what I'm showing off on the Eyelet Outlet Blog today.

I love that this Wide Flower Washi alternates about a four inch repeat of the same pattern in blue and pink. Of course you can use the tape in long strips that feature both colors, but sometimes I like to separate the two and use them individually, which is what I've done here. Because this tape has a design that's more straight and solid at its bottom edge than its top, I thought it might make sort of a cool border, with the bottom edge towards the center. For the smaller card, I cut one complete repeat of pink flowers from the roll of tape, then snipped it in half. I applied one 2" section along the side of a 3.5" square of plain white cardstock, just following the edge of the paper with the edge of the tape; then I affixed the other 2" section to the opposite side of my square. Since I needed a second run of pink flowers, I cut the intervening strip of blue flowers off the roll and stuck the whole thing along the edge of a separate 5" square of white cardstock. Then I came back to the pink flowers and cut another run, snipped it in half, and applied it to the other two sides of my square.

In the center of the design, I was left a little blank window of about 1.5" that I could use to frame a sentiment, a photo, a stamped image or, in this case, a little snippet of Thai book paper, with a couple of pink pretties from the Bright Dragonfly Brad set, which i bent very gently at the centers, so their wings would stick up a tiny bit, as if they just alighted on my card. Something I love about this brad set is that you get purple, pink and yellow Dragonfly Brads, all together in the same packet. Something else I love is that these guys are the current special deal in the Eyelet Outlet Store, so for a limited time, they are only 99c!!!

Since I had started the blue square, I had to finish it, so I cut off 3 more segments... (yes, you'll be seeing something made from "extra" pink flowers sometime, lol!) ...and this time, I let the repeats overlap at the outer edges, which gives a really pretty soft effect that I love. This time the framed area in the center was just a smidge bigger than 3" square. Coincidentally, I had just found some very pretty small Buddha drawings in an Indian travel book, so I fussycut one of them, added a purple waterlily from the Frog Set to match my handsome pair of purple Dragonfly Brads, backed the panel with  pretty Hindi script, and finished off the card with a mat of soft purple paper.

I hope you'll be inspired to look through your Eyelet Outlet goodies, and create your own tiny world that is the color, season, and temperature you're in the mood for right now! ♥

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

all you need is love... participate in the new challenge at shopping our stash, which is called, "he loves me, he loves me not" because we'd like to see valentines! here's what i made, but first, i have to confess that while i was thinking about what to make (and specifically what sentiment to use) i saw my design team sister donna's awesome card on our crew blog and totally stole her words! ♥

cute character stickers: funny sticker world; patterned paper: photoplay (blue cloud background), echo park--i think-- (hearts), amy tangerine scraps (tiny cloud hearts) + a scrap of vintage sheet music for the heart frame; punches: fiskars + ek success; label: dymo; glossy white cardstock: the paper cut; ink: colorbox; outlining pen: faber castell pitt artist pen in XS nib; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

ok, so, i've mentioned before that tiny kawaii stickers are like catnip to me, i can rarely walk past a display without buying some. but... i make big, grungy cards! so they tend to accumulate and become a sort of tiny sticker museum instead of a supply source. thus i've been making an effort to dip into them more.

something else i can never resist is patterned paper with clouds on, but i'm not even going to pretend to be sorry about that one, because cloud paper is (imo) endlessly useful; it basically allows you to make an instant landscape! in this case i've got fairly big, fairly new, clouds from photoplay paired with pretty old, medium sized, hearts from echo park (i think!). my ancient heart and cloud punches still get used constantly; almost always on scraps, as they are here.

i used the current (awesome!) sketch saturday to guide my placement of elements:

finally, i have a little bit of a public service announcement to make, based on the fact that i found this combination of pre-cut-out elements which i swear was EXACTLY like this, when i was sorting through leftovers, looking for something else entirely. so if, like me, you store extra diecuts jumbled up in envelopes, you might consider separating predators and prey, or things like this are bound to happen!!! 

be sure to check out all the fab cards my teammates have made at SOS and maybe leave them a little love?! ♥

Friday, January 26, 2018

the flattest card i've ever made. seriously. in my entire life.

we've got a brand new prompt called, "text me" this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ so what we'd like to see are designs that feature text paper, script washi tape, book pages, letter stickers, big sentiment stamps... how ever you'd like to get *texty*! here's what i made:

patterned paper: photoplay (plaid) and carta bella (merry); journaling card: graphic 45; border sticker: making memories; gems: eyelet outlet; cardstock: the paper cut; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine 

ok, so, as i mentioned in my title, this card is *FLAT*. like... really flat. yes, it's got a couple of layers popped up on foam tape; but no flowers, no lace, no big swirly gem flourishes... just a sentiment-centric journal card, a texty background paper and some pretty plaid mats. i kept trying to add more stuff, but it didn't look right. so i'm going with this. they might ask me for ID at the post office when i try to mail it, lol! i used the current sketch saturday layout, which is really cool and i guess kind of essplains the minimalism a bit:

stephanie also has some texty awesomeness to show you. why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥  and check that out right now, darlings?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Black and White (Again!)

I really thought I was done making Valentines. In fact, I had a totally different plan for this week. And then I sat down with my Eyelet Outlet Tapes and Brads and it turned out I had two more ideas, lol! So there are Valentines again on the EO Blog today!

My first card features a heart covered with Red Dot Tape, inspired by something I saw on Instagram, in which the artist covered a shape not with neat strips of washi, but little randomly torn segments. It gives a totally different, much more casual look, that I really like. For this method instead of cutting the shape from white cardstock and then covering it with tape, I covered an area of cardstock slightly larger than the heart template I wanted to use, and then traced and cut out the shape after all the tape was applied.

When I had my heart all set to go, I added a glittery "XO" in letter stickers, and made a background using a sort of gridded patterned paper, with strips of Love Tape, Music Tape and Music Note Washi. I don't actually need to mass-produce cards for anything just now, but the next time I do, I want to remember this method because it was easy and fun!

For my second card, I went back to lining the tape up neatly. In this case it's the gorgeous wide Butterfly Music Washi, and instead of placing the strips of tape right next to each other, I left a gap between each segment about the same size as the gap between the lines of notes on the tape itself. For my sentiment I found the perfect pre-made journaling card, which I trimmed down a tiny bit, because I didn't want to cover more of the pretty background than I had to, lol! I placed a pink Heart Brad directly over a pink heart that was part of the card's design, then added a Butterfly Brad and a Butterfly Profile for even more texture and interest.

I hope you'll be inspired to look at your tapes differently and try something new! For even more inspiration --up close and personal-- be sure to check out our newly published 2018 Trade Show Schedule on the sidebar of the EO Blog to see when Eyelet Outlet will be coming to a town near YOU! ♥

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

you say it's your birthday?

or perhaps not. but much in the way it's always, "5 o'clock somewhere", every day is SOMEBODY's birthday, which is why most of us need more birthday cards throughout the year than anything else. this week at shopping our stash we are all about getting a jump on birthday cards, so let's see those cupcakes, presents, party hats, balloons, pinatas and... well, whatever says, "birthday" to you! here's what i made, and then there's a little story, lol:

ok, so the night before i made the card above, i made this card, for our grand niece, maddy, who will (already!) be *three* in february:

and i woke up the next morning and thought, "wahhhhhhhhhh!!!" because honestly there is JUST. TOO. MUCH. going on here. even for me! as i was slightly dreading having to start from scratch, it occurred to me that i really liked both the center circle panel (YES, apparently i'm in a Circle Phase!) and also the background... i just didn't like them together. luckily, the circle panel was attached with foam tape, which meant i could gently pry it off with only minimal damage to the background and none at all to the circle. so i did. and i made a new, much calmer, background:

but then i thought, "welllllll... it doesn't have many traditional birthday accoutrements without the cupcake paper". so i made another circle panel, with a big cupcake on it. and thus, although i spent a bit more time than anticipated on one assignment, i did actually wind up with two cards i really like--  both of which use absolutely ANCIENT stash items-- so i'm callin' this a win!

patterned paper: junkitz ('member them?!) cupcakes, dcwv pink plaid, creative imaginations word circles, best creation sparkly animals (which i fussycut), echo park, crafty secrets, mme and doodlebug scraps for cupcake and animal background; birthday stickers so old i honestly don't know who made them... maybe mambi?; flower diecuts: simple stories; dark pink cardstock: core'dinations; glossy white cardstock: the paper cut; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

something else that can absolutely always be called a win is the amazing work of my SOS design team sisters. in fact, you should probably go and see that right now! ♥

Sunday, January 21, 2018

paris travel books are ALWAYS a good idea!

unfortunately, i haven't been to paris yet, and thus have had no need to make one for myself. luckily, though, my friend amy got to go last autumn, which i decided was the perfect excuse to get my "ooh la la" on!

at 8 x 10" this book is quite a bit larger than the ones i make to take with me on a trip, and the ones i make for my etsy shop. but since i was constructing this after the fact, i wasn't that worried about size. and in fact, the bigger pages mean that amy can paste in more photos and souvenirs and things!

another consideration when i was determining what size book to make is that i had quite a few larger items i wanted to include. such as this page from an old history book that shows the construction of the eiffel tower, the pronunciation guide from a children's french lesson book i've trimmed and layered over it, and even the commercial patterned paper i used on the front cover.

when i thought about how much i'd need to trim off (and thus waste) it made me cringe a bit. so although it might sound silly, it truly is the #1 thing that made me decide bigger was better.

i think by know everyone know how much i like to mix old and new, elegant and funky. and the more you do that in a travel book, the more it allows for the inclusion of EVERYTHING we collect on trips; including those that we might not think "go with" a more homogeneous design. so yes, there is a map of the louvre my mom brought back a few years ago... to a glittery eiffel tower from a calendar page, interspersed with a hambly transparency. 

another fun calendar find: hello kitty cycling past the arc de triomphe!!! meanwhile, you'll notice that instead of hand-binding the book, or even using a fun sprial binding, i went with two simple book rings. they aren't as fancy looking as the alternatives, but they allow amy to add, subtract and move around the pages, which seemed like a pretty important consideration.

more funkiness: a page from a 1960's french comic book, which i xyroned to some thin patterned cardstock to make it sturdy enough to be a stand-alone page.

a neat illustration from a fairly recent magazine, included just because it fit and i liked it. (most of my design decisions are made using those two very scientific considerations, lol!) 

a copy of, "alouette" from a book called, "world's greatest easy-to-play songs" which i found at a garage sale and absolutely fell in love with.

i put the title on the front cover using two different styles of vinyl thickers. they were not the first ones i tried, by any means, and when they turned out to be my favorites, i was frankly kind of shocked. but i do think they work. 

i wound up with a rather collage-style cover made of new products because i LOVED the eiffel tower paper, but that oddly shaped piece of  was all i had. and you can see right off: it's not big enough, lol! so i added a strip of vintage-inspired ledger paper and taped the whole thing together with a few strips of washi... which i repeated on the back cover to make it look more intentional!

et voila!
this concludes my paris travel book tour for today.

here in new jersey it is *FIFTY* degrees, so i'm off outside to take a walk! i hope it is sunny where you are, or if not, that you have found something fun and creative to do indoors!

Friday, January 19, 2018

three flowers and a sketch

we're still rockin' the "we three kings" prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and thus we're including three of something rather prominently on our cards. in this case i've got three red flowers, with eyelet outlet sticky-back pearl centers. see?

vintage postcard from my collection, scanned, re-sized and printed on canon glossy photo paper; patterned paper: blue fern studio, authentique; gold glitter paper: american crafts POW; red flowers: recollections; small pearls: eyelet outlet; distressing tool: tonic; ink: prima; glossy white cardstock: the paper cut; skinny gold cording from a package i think; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

in retrospect, i rather wish the flowers were a tiny bit smaller, or the scanned and re-sized vintage postcard i used as focal image was a tiny bit bigger. ah well. they are not, and i'm ok with it. luckily i had the awesome current layout from sketch saturday, whom i'd like to thank for the shout out to my love, always card from the end of december. i also thank the nice folks at "fred she said" for the beautiful digital stamps i got as a prize. i had intended to use them this week, actually, but alas i failed to make the sketch, the images i chose and the "three" directive from JB all work together. but you'll be seeing them soon!

meanwhile, stephanie has also made a gorgeous card to inspire you so why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check that out, darlings?!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

All You Need Is Love (& Maybe Some Washi Tape?)

Everyone knows I love Eyelet Outlet Washi Tape, and that one of my favorite uses is to make my own patterned paper, by neatly lining up strips of tape on plain white cardstock. But did you know that some tapes can be "stacked" to make a bigger design than you can see within one strip of tape? In fact, both of today's cards on the Eyelet Outlet Blog are made using just one style of tape-- this gorgeous Wide Music Washi.

I made the backgrounds for both cards in exactly the same way, by adhering the Wide Music Washi to a piece of plain white cardstock in strips, and lining each subsequent strip up very neatly so that the design on each segment match perfectly and the fully assembled panel looks seamless. This is not difficult, just a little bit fussy, but if you work carefully and take your time, you get wonderful results! It took four strips of tape, layered vertically, to make the complete design of this tape. You can see below that because I was overlapping the (clear) top and bottom edges by about 1/16" there was a little "blurry" bit at each level. I think it'd be absolutely fine to leave that as is, but being a bit persnickity, I wondered if I could take a very fine tipped permanent pen and fill in the black just a little darker. And I could! After a bit of practice, I even got faster at it. I made two panels that measured approximately 4 x 5" and then started to plan my cards.

For the first card I decided to use our Fancy Long Zig Zag Bling Strips to make a frame. This meant I'd need a card big enough to hold the tape panel AND the frame, so I made an A7 card blank from glossy black cardstock and adhered my tape panel to the center of it. I "dry fit" the bling by leaving it on the clear plastic backing, laying it on top of the design and trimming it to size. When I knew exactly where I needed to place each piece (so that the "point" of the teardrop gem was just overlapping the printed panel) I removed the backing and set each section in place.

I made the rest of my sentiment on the computer, using a free font called "Vogue" at 24 point size, and printed it out on plain white cardstock. I matted the strip for the first card on a piece of Cruise Tape so that my words covered the anchors and ships' wheels that are on the tape, but left that elegant braided border, which I think is the perfect finishing touch.

My second card is a standard A2. For this one I thought I'd leave off the bling, but bump up the texture factor by making an extra partial tape panel which contained the word "Love" and the sweet bird in the design... then fussy-cutting the bird and the letters, so I could raise them on some foam tape.

I borrowed this technique from old-school decoupage, and while it seems like a small touch, it adds a bit of dimension and a lot of elegance, in my opinion. 

Once my 3D pieces were attached, I added the sentiment. This time it's trimmed into a little flag shape and framed with a scrap of the same glossy black cardstock from which I made the card base.

I'd like to write more, but now I'm kind of anxious to find out if any of my other Eyelet Outlet Washi Tapes can be stacked into a bigger design! I'll report my discoveries on the Eyelet Outlet Blog!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

in a sentimental mood

we're all talk this week at shopping our stash. the name of our challenge is, "getting sentimental" and the brief is to make your sentiment the focal point of your card or project. fun, right? here's what i made:

oversized letters made by tracing around ancient basic grey chipboard alphas onto cardstock and collaging with vintage paper; background paper: allison kreft/echo park; birthday die: paper trey ink (on a scrap of gelli print); watercolor panel made with not-very-diluted colorburst pigment powders in indigo and turquoise on strathmore watercolor paper and trimmed with an oldschool circle cutter!; elderly large and small star brads from my stash; black glossy cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox; adhesives: scotch brand gluestick, elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i love big sentiments. which probably doesn't surprise anyone who has been here before. i have more alphabet stamps and die sets than anyone i know. and i still wind up, a fair amount of the time, using either a printout from t'internet or a set of oversized chipboard letters-- in this case an ancient set of basic grey's awesome "mini monograms" --as template for hand-cutting more letters. like this time.

ordinarily, the way i would make a set of collaged letters like this would be to 1) figure out how much space all my letters will take up; 2) randomly attach small scraps of vintage paper to that size of a piece of plain cardstock; and 3) trace the chipboard letters onto the collaged panel, then cut them out with scissors and/or xacto knife. and frankly, that's what i'll go back to doing in future, because it's easier and you get very similar results!

what i did this time, however, was 1) trace and cut the letters from plain cardstock; 2) attach scraps of vintage paper to each letter individually; and 3) trim up the excess with scissors and/or xacto knife. i thought this would give me more precise placement of collaged elements and a more interesting look. which... i guess it did a little bit... but not enough to justify how much extra cutting and trimming and fussing there was, imo. it's always good to try out new processes though, you never know when you'll stumble on to something that's way better than what you were already doing. not always though, as this little caper proved! :)

once i had my collaged letters i was ready to affix them to a colorburst-ed circle. i should probably confess right now that i actually made the circle FIRST... (which is just under 5" in diameter and trimmed from a panel on which i used up some extra indigo and turquoise pigment a while back) ...and in fact, i used the circle to decide what size, shape and color my letters should be. but i forgot to photograph that part of the process, so i thought i'd just tuck it in here at the very end, instead. you're welcome, lol. i "auditioned" quite a few background panels before deciding on this older echo park black and white text paper. finally i added the word "birthday" diecut from a scrap of gelli print and a few very verrrrrrrrrrry old silver star brads of unknown origin to balance out the top part of the circle.

there are loads more clever and stash-centric ideas to be had from my lovely design team sisters at shopping our stash. why not treat yourself to some eye candy right now? ♥

Sunday, January 14, 2018

a (smallish) barrage of collage

just in case you're at a bit of a loose end this fine sunday afternoon, and thinking, "gosh i wish someone would post some utterly random and unrelated bits of collage" then i am here for you, darlings! (you're welcome.)

arguably a cliche, but somehow a bird illustration and vintage sheet music never stop looking good to me. (the inside of a security envelope, torn bits of sewing pattern and the edges of trading stamps which didn't come off cleanly from their books are less easy to explain... so i won't...)

park your tiny collage in the tiny garage
yep. still obsessed with the 2x3" format and my rummage-sale-derived "illustrated motor cars of the world" book. these are both french cars from the late 60's and i haven't yet seen a minor bond villian emerge from either of them, but i believe it could still happen...

flower circle #1
because i can already tell this is going to be a recurring series...

is this still a collage??
yes, it's made up of commercial patterned papers. yes, they are diecut into diamond shapes AND i've placed them in a very ordered, geometric design. so i don't actually know if this is a "collage" as such, but it was fun to make. and i see a lot of possibilities for cardmaking and such.

float like a butterfly
one of my favorite collage exercises is called "glue as you go". to explain what i mean, i have to tell you that how i generally make a collage is to choose all of my elements, move them around on the page (quite a bit!), finally settle on a cohesive design that i like, and THEN glue everything down. for "glue as you go" i select an element and attach it. then i select the next element and attach it. then i select the next element... ok, you get the idea, i'm sure. the point is that you're attaching things without really composing, if you see what i mean? you are making a decision an sticking to it, in a literal and adhesive sense. it's harder than it sounds, or at least, it's hard for me. which is why it's valuable as an exercise! it sort of forces you to loosen up and roll with the fact that you attached something too soon and now it's covered up and your whole plan has to change. i rarely wind up with a finished product that i particularly like in this scenario, but every once in a while it happens... and this was one of those.

i hope your sunday is sunny...
either in a literal sense, 
or a fun and happy metaphorical way!

Friday, January 12, 2018

we three (times three)

there's a brand new prompt up at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ today and it's called, "we three kings" although the emphasis here is on the three more than the kings; in that we'd like to see cards that have a grouping of three... somethings. it could be three strong circle elements, three packages under the tree, three adorable reindeer, or... well, you get the picture right? my card has three trees. see?

coincidentally, this next card has three trees, as well. :) i actually cleared out quite a lot of my holiday scraps while re-organizing before christmas, and part of the big clean up was to either toss or diecut any scraps that were too small for anything except tossing or diecutting. i'm hoping that having a little cache of pre-cut items will make "composing" my cards a bit faster; as well as making it possible to sometimes make multiples in weeks where i have more than one idea. so far, that plan seems to be working pretty well. 

because look, here's ANOTHER three trees in the next photo! something else you'll notice is that all of these are fairly flat cards, which can be mailed with just one stamp on them. because my other crafty resolution for 2018 is to try to make more cards that don't cost $3 to mail, lol. (if you've been reading my blog for more than a few months you'll realize that i make this resolution every year, and my good intentions rarely last much past february. but maybe this'll be THE YEAR i really follow through?!)

all of my cards were initially inspired by the sketch half of the current fusion card challenge, but since i freely admit that they strayed away from that pretty quickly, i'm not actually linking up. it's a great challenge, though, and they're celebrating their fourth anniversary just now, so i thought i'd mention it!

i'm probably never going to become a cardmaker who happily mass-produces, but even i don't mind making a few different versions of the same card, so this is a technique you may see off and on throughout the year.

ingredients for all three cards, most of which are made up of scraps and leftover patterned papers including: basic grey, glitz, crate paper, fancy pants, simple stories, pebbles, prima, echo park, creative imaginations; stickers: simple stories, echo park, studio calico; glitter paper: best creation; glossy white cardstock: the paper cut; tree die: echo park: punches: recollections, martha stewart; lace: from my stash; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

be sure to hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see what stephanie has made and link up your own tri-centric masterpiece(s)!