Autumn Leaves

“The falling leaves
Drift by the window
The autumn leaves
Of red and gold…
Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I’ll hear
Old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all
My darling
When autumn leaves
Start to fall”

–Johnny Mercer, 1949

This is one of my favorite jazz standards, resonant and haunting, especially when vocals accompany the melody.  I particularly love Chet Baker’s swinging, more upbeat version…have a listen while you read on.

 

The curtain is falling fast on this current challenge, Lovely Leaves, over at Curtain Call.

Here is their inspiration photo:

I had one heck of a time with the first card I created.  What resulted will seem fairly simple enough; however, it took quite the process to get there.  I ultimately found myself working in a sketch over at Cardabilities, so this first creation fused both challenges.

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I began with my focal point– that was the easy part!  It was the background design that kept morphing.  I definitely was not experiencing flow with this card.  It’s not quite what I envisioned, nor does it pack the color punch I was aiming for, but I am somewhat satisfied with the result.

Coloring the Leaves

For both of my cards, I used Distress Inks in Picked Raspberry, Mustard Seed, Peacock, and Marmalade to color a sheet of watercolor paper, after which I ran through numerous Impression Obsession leaf dies.  I also feature the sweet Hero Arts bird.

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I turned to Prima for the lovely resin frame, wood leaf, and turquoise flower.

In all my paper confusion, I found a scrap that had some dictionary entries on it, and I noticed the word ‘autumn’.  It was likely the happiest moment in putting this card together, as an empty frame on the card was leaving me a bit empty!

I stamped my sentiment on some woodgrain paper and layered it numerous times onto scrap paper to give it more of a wooden sign effect.

Before I layered my banners, cut from MFT dies, I decided the top needed some visual interest, but nothing to overwhelm the focal point.  Given the time this card took, and my being prone to error throughout the process, I didn’t really have it in me to sew along the top, and I wanted a really clean feel anyway.

So I die cut the holes using a PTI die, then threaded through some hemp twine.

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The inside and back are finished off with a strip of Crate Paper’s DIY Shop adhesive paper.  The green paper and the woodgrain are also from DIY Shop.

Card #2: Lots of layers

Pieces of this card were strewn about for days, only finally coalescing today.  I didn’t even think I would pull a second card together, but I needed a break from work, and figured playing with some paper would be a good escape.

I wanted more of a bright, neon pop with this card.  I maintained the grey of the inspiration photo in the background using both Grout Grey from MFT and Rock Candy from Bazzill, which has that wonderful nubby texture.

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The Grout Grey layer was stamped with Grout Grey ink using an Amuse Studio background stamp, the dictionary definition of ‘extraordinary’.

I used another background stamp from Hero Arts for my first panel.  I wanted some texture in this card, so I used watercolor paper with my Fresh Ink in Mustard.

The wooden clock from Prima was an after-thought that seemed to pull the focal elements together.

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I love how the color and sentiment of the Basic Grey plastic embellishment from Grand Bazaar fit within the overall scheme of the card.

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The resin flower is also from Grand Bazaar.  I added my die-cut Penny Black sprigs for some interest, but went with clear vellum as to not overwhelm the bold focal point.

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The inside and back are finished off with some floral and fauna washi.

Prior to making these cards, I found the first leaf drop of the season last week.  He lay there lonely on the sidewalk, so I scooped him up and brought him home.  A bit crunchy now, but still beautiful!

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That’s it for me this evening!  Thanks for stopping by.  And make sure to check out the gorgeous leaf creations at Curtain Call.  They really are show-stopping!

Oh, Hello There!

The sun is streaming into my office-studio, which is a wonderful thing after a weekend of torrential downpours!  I have to admit, though, after a very busy week, I felt fine embracing some rainy day laziness.  Don’t you love warm, darkening days when the rain pelts the roof and you can just lie there listening?  So I did a little bit of nothing and a little bit of something this weekend, which resulted in the card below and the one featured in my following post!

I’ve recently been following Cardabilities, discovered through Pinterest and some international card artists.  I really like the sketches, and found that working from a pattern that is multi-layered and more complex was really helpful in my design process.  You can find more awesome sketches on my Pinterest board.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I struggle with visualizing and engineering designs in terms of perspective, proportions, and layout.  I may see what I want but I have to do it, playing with the elements, in order to figure out how to make it work. I use models and modeling in my teaching all the time– I guess it’s about time I practice what I preach to help me improve my visual art!

So I have been studying a bit of design theory, as well, and recently purchased Lisa Dickinson’s Design Workshop from Ella Publishing.  I am tired of looking at a piece knowing instinctually that something is wrong, but not knowing how to fix it, and thus spending a long time thinking and tinkering before I get it right.  Hopefully having some grounding in the language and theory will help my designs and make the process more expedient!

Here is the sketch from which I worked:

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And here is my card:

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I just have to mention before discussing the details of the card, that on Easter we went to a large outdoor Sunday flea/farmers market in Fremont, which is always so much fun, especially if it is not raining! Thanks to Laura Davis over at The Paper Poppy (and queen of amazing bows!!!), I finally figured out that the bed of nails on which my card is resting is called a “frog”.  Frogs were used for floral arranging and come in all kinds of shapes, designs and colors.  I found this gorgeous green one, and a tiny one inch ivory one!  Laura typically features them with her lovely cards and I had been trying to figure out what they heck they were after seeing them all over the place and asking people who didn’t know either!  Luckily Laura did! By the way, she has a new challenge out–Poppy Sketches!

Okay, on with the card.  I am really happy with how this turned out in terms of pattern, flow, repetition, contrasting elements, and colors!  All of the patterned papers are from a discount pack, so I don’t know the manufacturer, though I think some are from Crate.  One of the double-sided papers has different tags on one side that I just love!  I was really excited to use this particular tag and love how the woodgrain echoes the neon pink woodgrain of the bottom panel.

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The inside and back are finished with Prima Welcome to Paris washi in that amazing wasabi green!

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In the detail photos you can see some of the texture I incorporated.  I die cut my Hero Arts Fancy Floral Die in Bazzill black, embossed it with Versafine Dazzle and clear powder and heat set for a glossy finish.

The pink paper wheel is actually cut from the same die– I just cut out the center!  Double-timing die– love it!

The pink metal embellishment is from Basic Grey’s Spice Market pack.

I finished off the cluster with some Prima wood leaves and Fancy Pants resin flower.

Finally, my little wasabi polka dot strip was a scrap cut from the edge of Spellbinders Floral Ribbon Threader die– which has so many uses.

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Love all that gold?  I found these adhesive 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets by DuoTone at Joann’s.  They are awesome!

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So this card is headed over to Cardabilities as well as Curtain Call, whose theme this week is Pretty and Pink (I wanted to write “Pretty in Pink”  Ahh, Molly Ringwald!).  I think this card fits the bill!

Check out both challenges for some very pretty cards!

Please check out my second post of the day for more pink prettiness!

Hope you are off to a great week!

Framed!

Hello folks!  I am pushing myself to get some writing and posting done, but it’s been week of slogging through thick mental mud and dizzying work commitments to get here.  I am glad I finally finished this trio of cards just in time for Taheerah’s Cure for the Monday (and, in my case, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…) blues!

Here is her inspiration photo:

The soft sea-blue punctuated by pink and red, and a bit of ivory and grey is just lovely.  I deviated a bit in my color scheming, but played with some new materials and tools, and an old, but much loved technique.

For my first card, I was in a bit of a quandary, as I loved my initial layout, but when I pulled out a piece of dreamy salmon paper from the Basic Grey Persimmon pack, I had to alter my vision.  This salmon paper is washed out a bit in some places and reminds me of an old painted wall that is thinning in spots from age or the sun.  I just love it.  It’s called “Apple Butter” and it does have that cinnamon-apple mash quality to it.

Apple Butter6x6 Paper Pad

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When I put the grey frame against it, I was in love.  I often refer to my penchant for color and texture in terms of wanting to eat it (synesthesia!)– I want to eat this.

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In these two close-ups, you can get a sense of the paper’s uneven texture a bit.  You can also see the detailing in design and texture on the other papers used for the frame’s backdrop and the vine.

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The cardstock used is from a Hero Arts Hero Hues paper pack.  It is a lovely “greige” that worked well with the frame and salmon paper.  The back is finished off with Prima fabric washi.

Now for design number two, which was actually the first incarnation!

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The grey snowflake/floral patterned paper was initially to be my “wallpaper” on which the frame would hang.  I still very much like this version.  But I think the salmon painted wall wins out.  What do you think?  Or there is this third option below!  The photo is a bit blurry; sorry for that!  Such a photo session it was!

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I’d love your take!  Which card wins in your book: 1, 2, or 3?

Moving on from this palate, I subdued my colors a bit more for the next card.  Some of the photos were taken in waning light, so apologies for the graininess, and poor lighting.  I had to keep some for the post, as I noticed in the ones taken today my bird’s arrow had drooped down a bit, which escaped me upon review.  Told you I was struggling through mud!   Photos have been edited!!  Now you can get a sense of the colors more truthfully represented and the different textures of the papers.  Love playing with texture!!

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I cut the inside of my Spellbinders Fancy oval frame with one of the smaller dies in all of my cards and love how the frame looks.  These dies had been on my wishlist for awhile!

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The inside and back are finished off with some washi tape.  The bottom of my striped wallpaper is edged with a border punch from Martha Stewart, which I haven’t used in awhile.  Seemed appropriate here, as the straight bottom edge just needed something more delicate. The key is also from a Martha Stewart punch.

Are you still with me?

Here is the last in my framed cards; this one really deviated from the inspiration photo!  But I really wanted to make a more bold spring, or even Christmas version.  I would add some mica flakes to my bird’s nest if it were a Christmas card.

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Now there are actually two versions of this one as well!  Oh, boy.  Here I have my distressed woodgrain paper straight on, and sitting higher up on the card so my dry and heat embossed background can be seen.

I love this technique and you can see it on some of my earlier holiday cards here, here and here.

Since I distressed and then inked the woodgrain, giving it an old-time feel, I thought it might look cool to recreate the look of those tin ceilings or walls from late 19th century buildings.  That, anyhow, is how this particular technique merged with this embossing folder feels to me!

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As you can see in this side shot, this is the version where I tilted the white distressed paper.

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The inside and back are finished with some scripted washi.

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And last look, here is the tilted version.

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So, your thoughts?  To tilt or not to tilt?

Thanks for sticking with me!  I can’t believe I made it through the post myself!  I have included a bit of a supplies list below.  I will be back this weekend with a card that will make you jump, and as previously promised, some paper art that will make your jaw drop!

Have a lovely start to your weekend, if it is your weekend!

Supplies (Click on any to link):
Floral OvalsSpellbinders Shapeabilities Die D-Lites-Fantastic Flourish 2Savvy Stamps Dies, SparrowEssentials by Ellen: Woodgrain Embossed  #110 Cardstock, White, 10 Pk

Tim Holtz Tonic Paper DistresserImage of Of the Heart Dies

A Card for the Seamstress

CAS(E) This Sketch Inspired Card

Good Evening!  As I write that, I am thinking (hoping) that it will indeed be one for me, as I powered through 8 hours of teaching today on about one hour of solid sleep last night.  Ahh, insomnia!  During our long weekend on the Olympic Peninsula, I slept well and was inspired by our walks in nature and exploration of new and familiar places.  How quickly all that rejuvenation can be undone by one sleepless-in-Seattle night!  I hope you will forgive my poor sentence fluency as I muddle through this entry–less will definitely be more tonight!

Here  the current sketch for CAS(E) This Sketch.

 Chrissy’s design reminded me of ric-rac, and since my mom’s birthday is coming up, I wanted to make a sewing-themed card because she is an amazing seamstress and has inspired me since I was small (and draped with patterns, poked with pins, encircled with measuring tape!)

So, pinking shears in hand, I played with paper, patterns and placement, and this is the result!

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Despite my haze (and haste), I am pretty pleased with how this card turned out!  Most of the sewing patterned paper is from Basic Grey; the rest are scraps from an Authentique collection.  The sentiment from Savvy is stamped in Color Box brown ink, embellished with a delicious enamel dot that matched the aqua paper perfectly.

It isn’t easy to see here since my photos are a bit washed-out, but the paper embellishment here is a ruler-calendar that says “November” on the bottom.  Instead of writing my mom’s birth date at the top of the card, I think I will circle the 19 on the ruler!

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I finally put my Technique Tuesday stamps to use for a simple embellishment on the back– LOVE these pins!!

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Head over to CAS(E) This Sketch to see some superbly styled cards.  This really was an inspiring sketch!  And, hey, if you can’t sleep tonight, you still have 8 hours to play along before the challenge closes!

A stitch in time saves nine…..

Have a wonderful night, fellow crafters!