Silver Beans: Coffee Lovers Holiday Blog Hop!

Silver beans, silver beans,
It’s Christmastime in Seattle…

Hear the beans grind,
See the brew drip,
This is Coffee’s big scene
And alongside this bustle you’ll see…

Coffee lovers, paper crafters,
it’s a holiday hop in the blogosphere,
Cut and paste, stamp and post,
Now sit back with your cup and savor!

Well, hello there coffee loving paper crafters!

I found very little time to craft in November, and with the renovation of my website, I had even less time to post anything new! So I am excited to be joining the festivities for the Coffee Lovers Holiday Blog Hop! If you missed the previous one back in September, you can check out my post here and the link to Chaitali’s blog!

Amy of Tsuruta Designs has taken the reins on this one and I am sure the participation will be just as outstanding.  I started this post last night, and from the looks of Amy’s site now, there are already over 150 participants so far!

Back in September, I received the new Prima Coffee Break papers, stamps and ephemera.  I was able to put some of the collection to use for World Card Making Day in this post.  Since then, I have received even more goodies that have been sitting pretty in their packages.  It was high time to tear into them and get to work on a holiday-inspired card for the coffee lover!

And here it is!

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It was a pretty simple construction; I really only labored over the additions of my silver beans and wax twine.

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The card features a 4.25 x 5.75 panel of the Prima paper, stamped with a holiday greeting from Tim Holtz’s Handwritten Holidays set  in Unicorn White.  The wooden coffee pot is also from the Prima collection.

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I just love my Impression Obsession coffee beans and mug!  The mug was given some dimension with a layer cut from foam.

I was worried the beans might be a visual distraction from the paper’s design and flow of the other elements, but I couldn’t resist.

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I cut the outer and inner snowy mounds from some thick glitter cardstock with Paper Smooches border dies and Stitches die.

Kelly Purkey provides the inside sentiment on my Peppermint candy stripe paper!  All has been adhered to Ellen Hutson’s divine Linen 110# Cardstock.

The hop is full of great sponsors with many generous stocking stuffers to be won!  You have until Friday, 12/12, to participate.

Details from Amy’s site:

  • Linky to remain open until Friday, December 12th @ 11:55 pm pacific.  Blog Hop participants (those that link up with a newly created holiday/winter coffee/other favorite holiday hot beverage project) are eligible for Sponsored prizes.
  • Hop ends on Sunday, December 14th @ 11:59 pm pacific.  Comments made before the end of the hop are eligible for the individual blog sponsored prizes.

I’m not planning to be a ghost of Christmas past as I’ve two other posts queued up for this week, so please stop by again soon!

May you feast your eyes on many a wondrous creation and may all your mugs be full this holiday season!

 

Christmas in the Country

Two consecutive holiday posts?  Well, I could use a little Christmas, right this very minute!

They happen to be bookends to a less than festive week spent in a migraine’s grip.  I nearly made it through this very busy summer without one, and then with one work week to go before some much needed time off, I was knocked off my feet, literally.

I’ve written a bit about my experience as a migraineur.  Being in the thick of it is always surreal; I struggle with a constricted, pulsating brain, have difficulty processing and using language, and my sense of time (which is never good anyway) completely distorts.

When I recover, the entry into the “real” world often seems just as surreal.  Today, I felt the most normal, and yet paradoxically the most alien.  After a migraine, everything around me always seems so new and hyper-real.  We headed to a favorite haunt (and in my opinion one of the top three bakeries in Seattle), Columbia City Bakery, strolled around the neighborhood feeling the hint of cool fall air, and made it to Impress Cards and Crafts for their Paperpalooza where I scored some sweet 12×12 for 25 cents a sheet!  Itching to make some fancy envelopes!

It was good to get out.  It was also good to productively create a bit yesterday and today.  Though I feel like the summer simply melted away, there is a stirring of excitement within for the coming fall.  The sweet Halloween and holiday cards at Impress urged me on.

Now, I’ve four cards queued up and ready to post, so without further ado, let the festivities begin!

This card was inspired by the current sketch and image over at Fusion, as well as Festive Friday’s image.  It’s old country (Christmas) charm indeed.

I worked from the crimson and cream background colors, the rustic paint on the door, and background designs, as well as the sketch at Fusion.  I pulled the wreath and black and cream of the sign from Festive Friday.

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When I had completed this card, it made me think of the interior of a fabulous boutique in the neighborhood of Ballard, Horseshoe.  It’s rustic, full of clothes I can’t afford, gorgeous jewelry, and lots of cowboy boots.  I always love passing through, even if I have to leave empty handed!

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So I’ve combined product from many different companies for this production!

A couple notable elements are the garland, a deconstructed laurel from the Spellbinders Laurel and Bee set; also, you will note that I have embossed my Lifestyle Crafts reindeer to add some interest and texture.  I used Versafine Champagne embossing pad, Superfine clear powder, and a background stamp from Hero Arts.

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Close up of the embossing.  I’ve layered my die cuts to give them some heft.

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The flowers are classic Prima, as is the wood frame; the banner was cut from some grungy, antiqued paper, and stamped with a sentiment from Amuse Studio.

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As always, I’ve finished off the inside and back with My Mind’s Eye Market Street washi.

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Here’s a selection of the products used.

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Other products used:

Amuse Studio Wasabi paper
Mama Elephant Femme Frames
Gold glitter glue
POW Gold paper
Gina K Ivory Base Weight paper

Last Look

I always love how a design and/or color can completely change the whole experience of another color/design.  I placed the card atop some off-white paper and it feels so different!

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That’s it for me this evening!  Check back tomorrow for more creations.  And make sure to stop over to Fusion and Festive Friday.

If you are in the States, enjoy the last day of our holiday weekend.  Wherever in the world you are, I hope Monday finds you feeling fine and inspired!

ff318-blog2bbadgeGrab Our Badge!

Love Nest

Good evening!

Two posts in 24 hours?  Another card completed today?  And a fabulous sunny Sunday spent checking out a new coffee/wine shop for brunch (Vif), flea-marketing in Fremont (and scoring, at long last, a gorgeous refurbished dresser along with a vintage Indian tunic– pictures forthcoming), cooling off with some favorite Bluebird ice cream, followed by a Fremont Brewery stop and finally one more coffee for the road at Milstead?!

Yes, indeed, it’s been a good weekend!

And to celebrate that as well as CASE Study’s 4th anniversary here is my card–with love to Chupa and the gang!

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I have been working with so many patterns, layers, and embellishments, that this card felt so good to make.  I love the crisp, clean nature of it, as well as the modern palette.

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My card features PTI dies and vellum, MFT Fuse Green cardstock for the base (and matching enamel dots!), as well as that gorgeous paper from Studio Calico, “Encircled”.

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I had to include the additional picture above because I just love the Basic Grey Grand Bazaar paper in the background, and was thinking of perhaps including it on the inside of the card in lieu of my usual washi tape border.

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Is this washi to die for or what??

I was inspired by two of the amazing cardmakers in the CASE anniversary blog-hop, the MFT queen Ms. Keisha Campbell–who rocks their papers (especially Fuse Green) and dies like nobody’s business–and the lovely Anna of Creativity Mango who nails trendy, crisp, and colorful in her layouts and cards every time!

Here’s Anna’s inspiration card–

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And Keisha’s–

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I was thinking my card would be good for either a wedding or anniversary card–I’ve not yet stamped an inside sentiment.  The pink Scribbled Circles die reminds me a bit of a heart and the vellum wreath around it, an airy bridal veil.  What do you think?

The anniversary celebration is going on all month, so head over to CASE Study for some great work and fun prizes!

 

CASE Study 4th Anniversary

xo

Kate

Hello from Seattle!

Good afternoon, all! As promised I am back with my second post featuring the other cards I created based on our current challenge over at CASE Study.  If you haven’t dropped by CASE or read my post from yesterday, make sure to check them out, get inspired, and play along this week with us!

Thanks!

Before I get to my pictures and products, I want to send a warm hello and thanks to all my new followers here and through Pinterest!  I also want to thank Chupa of Random Acts of Creativity, and owner of CASE Study, for the  chance to join the fabulous team over at there this last month, alongside the incredibly talented Sarah Gough of Thinking Stamps!  I have had the opportunity to reach a greater audience and meet more talented creatives as a result!  I am excited about growing my network!  So the cards that follow are for you all!  Hello from Seattle!

Stamp Nation

Additionally, last week I joined Stamp Nation, run by the energetic and passionate Catherine Pooler!  After hearing about it from Maureen of MamaMo Stamps and Chupa, I just had to check it out.  I have experienced a wonderful welcoming over there and encourage you to explore all the community has to offer in the way of videos, discussion, and inspiration!

News from the Industry

Lastly, a bit of news I thought I would pass on!  I just read that Tasnim, a design team member at CASE Study, and the brains behind the stunningly clean and not-so-simple cards over at Cards & Bookmarks has started her own stamp company, Altenew, with Jen Rzasa of Our Change of Art!  So they will be bringing some awesome combined talent to what will be fresh, artful, modern designs!  See either site for the details! Congrats, ladies!

Jen Rzasa’s card from their new set of stamps!
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Tasnim’s Card featuring their new stamps!

Okay, now on with the show!

Here’s Joni’s inspiration card just to remind you!

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Since the card I featured this week at CASE was giving me such a hard time, I decided to try a few different options.  This one here I really like in its graphic CAS style.  I followed that center line that Joni established in her card with the positive and negative die cuts.  I used my turquoise vellum here as well.

I had really wanted to experiment with Ranger’s Crackle Accents as I had it in mind to create a rain-like appearance on my buildings, but I wanted more texture than what Glossy Accents could provide.

Here are some close-ups:

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I like how it turned out, but I was pretty controlled in my application on both cards.  So I think freeing myself up a bit, experimenting with more coverage, might make a better impact and more visual interest.

Here is the other card using the Crackle Accents, and this time a much softer, ethereal palate inspired by Joni’s pink vellum leaves.

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This time I created the front panel with Crate Paper’s DIY Shoppe water-color paper, and adhered it to Bazzill’s Robin’s Egg cardstock– this color is out of this world!!  I decided to use the silver vellum umbrella for a little shine and added clear sequins for some rain-droplet sparkle.

TECHNIQUE: STAMPING OFF

I love my Color Box Charcoal pigment ink, but decided to stamp off on a scrap then stamp onto the panel as it created this lovely soft grey that worked so well with the “watercolor” paper it almost looks like it is part of the background.  I didn’t have any grey in my collection close to this, so it was a perfect technique.

So stamp off to create a color you might want but not have in your collection– works well with your darker pigment inks!

TIP: HEAT SET YOUR INK!

And remember, heat set your pigment and oil-based inks, like Versafine.  If you don’t, smudge is bound to happen.  If you smudge the Versamark and catch it early enough, a good art eraser might be able to take up the still wet ink (I had success a couple times with small smudges).  But once it sets, that’s it.  So get that heat gun out and fired up!  It takes an extra minute, but it’s worth it!

SCRAP POSTCARD

Finally, I had a little scrap piece from some water-coloing and misting a few week’s ago.  I liked what was left over and when I stamped on it, I liked it even more.  So I made a postcard!  I used Lawn Fawn’s You’ve Got Mail.  Super simple.  I may put in a vellum envelope and send out, as it would look good behind vellum!

The scrap was adhered to 100# cardstock with Mod Podge, so it is stiff and durable.  All stamping was done with Versamark just in case I do send as a postcard, then the ink won’t run.

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And all four creations together!

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SOME PRODUCTS:

Memory Box Petite Umbrella (my favorite out there of umbrella dies!)

Seattle City Die

Hello From Seattle Stamp

Bazzill Paper Pack

 

CAWFEE TAWK

Well, since the theme is Seattle, I must share with you a fabulous coffeeshop that is relatively new to our area and following in the footsteps of some other great third wave coffeeshops that are here and taking hold in other major cities around the US.

Over the last few years, my partner and I often found ourselves bemoaning the lack of decent coffeeshops in the very city that is supposed to be known for coffee!  After our travels to Vancouver, BC, Chicago, New York (yes, even New York City (not typically known for quality coffee offerings), and even more incredibly our hometown of Rochester), Salt Lake, and of course the darling to our south, Portland, we just could not get over how far behind Seattle had fallen in the world of coffee.

Within the last two years, though, our Emerald city seems to be catching up, and the latest addition to the scene is Slate Roasters in Ballard.

We dropped by on Sunday for a flight of single origin coffees, all of which were delightful, and happily the service was equally so.  We geeked out on coffee talk about bouquet, flavor profiles, chemistry, complexity, and mouth feel with the baristas.  Yes, folks, just like with good wine and beer, the dimensions of coffee are incredibly complex and exciting, affected not only by varietal, processing, roasting, grind, and preparation, but by temperature, food, and the chemistry of your own mouth.  A world of wonder in that little cup of America’s favorite legal drug!

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My favorite of the three coffees we tried; layered, complex, juicy fruit upfront, wafer cookie and light chocolate at the end. Phenomenal!

So if you are in the Seattle area, I recommend a stop at Slate.  Be prepared to kick back and enjoy.  This ain’t no Starbucks!

Heading to Chicago, New York, LA, Salt Lake, Vancouver, BC, or Portland, OR?  Check out my other recommendations for coffee pleasure in my links on the right sidebar!

The latest issue of Imbibe will walk you through the libations of the Pacific Northwest and Seattle’s fall from and slow rise back to coffee greatness, including a feature on Slate Coffee Roasters!

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Want more recommendations for places to see in Seattle?  Check out my post here.

Thanks for stopping by today, and let me know if you’ve found any coffeeshops in your area or travels you would recommend!

May your cup be overflowing with creativity today!

 

Expectations and Aspirations

For the past month, I have been delving into Dickens’ Great Expectations with one of my students.  As a teacher and student of literature, I have read my share of ol’ Charles, but never this tome.  It would be easy to get lost here in the mists and marshes of my own ideas about the novel, but I will spare you all but one thought since I’ve got some cards waiting patiently in the wings!

As I prepared my lesson on aspects of irony in the novel (not the least of which being the title!), I got to thinking about the difference between expectation and aspiration.  Expectation connotes a sense of certainty, deservedness, and righteousness. It is a passive act; expecting is waiting, or literally a “looking out for” (“spectare,” from Latin, meaning to look). In the novel, the characters’ expectations and consequent attachments to particular beliefs lead them to not only make poor decisions, but also cause them deep unhappiness. The greater the expectation, the greater the devastation!  Poor Pip!

On the other hand, aspiration, which literally means to breathe in, carries with it a more positive, and active connotation.  The Latin root “spirare” (to breathe) is related to “spiritus” or spirit.  When one aspires, one strives or breathes toward a higher purpose.  The goal or desire will not simply be had just by waiting or thinking it will be so. There is work, life force, flow and action involved!

So how does this all relate to this week’s final CASE Study design?  I approached my card with an image in my mind and an expectation that it would manifest as perfectly as I’d perceived it. I had my own great expectations for this piece.

And as a result, I experienced a deeply unsatisfying and frustrating session when I attempted to make my vision a reality.  There was no breath, and no flow.  And then there was very little time to revise.

So there my card lay as I contemplated expectation and aspiration and hyperventilation, and prepared for my student’s lesson that afternoon.

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…(Okay, okay get back on the shelf Steinbeck!)

It took until yesterday for me to be able to see the card with new eyes, rip it apart, start again, and then find something still missing after I had taken and edited all my photos for submission!  What a comedy of errors!  I was dreadfully afraid of how the image would represent over at CASE since I captured it at night under the garish glow of an overhead light!  Happily, it doesn’t look as horrible as I’d expected.  (There’s those darn expectations again!)

Joni’s Card

While I loved all of our muse Joni’s cards, this one particularly struck me in its ethereal beauty.  That breathy pink!  The layered vellum!  I remember seeing it on her site when she first posted it and I was immediately drawn to it.  Let’s take a look!

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And here is the final incarnation of my card!

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I knew I wanted to follow lines of Jodi’s card, and originally envisioned the city as the centering point, with vellum and cardstock umbrellas dancing beneath just as her leaves are doing below the sentiment on her card.

However, hard as I tried, those umbrellas just wouldn’t work.  They seemed to overpower or compete with the city.  There was just no flow!  I won’t even get into how I ruined the top of that nearly completed card by smudging black ink on it.  Then I cut it too short and it was really all over then baby blue.

TIP: Make sure to ALWAYS heat set your pigment and Versafine oil-based inks!! Even if you think they have dried after 30 minutes!!!!

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I recently purchased some PTI vellum cardstock and gorgeous turquoise and silver vellum at Impress Stamps. I wanted to capture the airy feel that the vellum conveys, and so in my final incarnation, I laid a panel of the turquoise down and tried a couple of my “cloud” scraps (left over from the Avery Elle Love Notes pockets I made last week, seen here).  That seemed to work.

But when I returned to my card and saw it in pictures, it just felt off.  I kept wanting a black and white stripe along the bottom of the city, but none of my washi looked right.

So it was, at long last (11pm to be exact), the addition of baker’s twine that tied it all together (pun intended!).

CASE Close Up

Another aspect of the card that was inspired by Joni’s is the subtle, airy sparkle of my stenciled raindrops (really they represent the tears I shed and the HELL-o this card gave me! 🙂 )

I used Kelly Purkey’s stencil, Heidi Swapp’s Color Shine in White., and some masking to achieve the background.

All papers are from Bazzill– that gorgeous texture of the grey, like stone, and the crosshatched orange–delightful!

The back and inside are finished off with some coordinating orange washi.

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So in the end, it wasn’t quite the card or the process I’d planned, but I am fairly happy with the result, and I hope I’ve done justice not only to Joni’s work, but to my post as the guest designer over at CASE Study this month.  It really has been wonderful working alongside and getting to know some of the very talented ladies on the design team.

I hope I have provided you with some inspiration along the way!  I encourage you to get your CASE on and play along with us!  Check out the design team’s individual websites while you are at it.

 

Chupa
Amy Wanford
Clare Buswell
Debby Hughes

Jeanne Jachna

Maureen Merritt

Silke Ledlow

Tasnim Ahmed

March Guest Designers: 

Sarah Gough

Here’s a sneak peak at all the cards I created based on Joni’s design.  I will be back tomorrow to talk process and products, and since it’s all about Seattle, I’ll also share some details on an awesome new coffeeshop we discovered this weekend!  And a lil’ something about Stamp Nation!

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May you aspire in your creative endeavors this and every week!