It’s Birthday Time, Again!

It’s 3am.  Somewhere, east of Seattle, tucked within a mountain pass, a light goes on.  Coffee sputters to life.  A computer casts a blue glow as eyes adjust to the colorful flow of paper and ink creations dancing across the screen.  Perhaps inspiration strikes an idea for her latest design team piece.  Or perhaps another cup of coffee calls before the craft room beckons.  Time moves swiftly in the morning, but before any of us can even think about smacking the snooze bar, she’s already clocked half a workday in her creative corner of the world.

There is only one person who fits this description, the one and only Amy Tsuruta, whose birthday I will be celebrating, for at least the first few hours of the day here in the PNW, in my sleep!

Amy is an organizer extraordinaire whether in real life or virtually, whose card making style is a fabulous combo of cute and spunky, always on-trend and always fun–just like her!

So today we are celebrating Amy, wishing her a year that is as sweet and inspiring as she is, and hoping she has a day where she receives as much crafty love as she spreads in the wee hours of the morning!!

So hop along with us and make sure to drop by her site to pass along a birthday greeting!

When we recently gathered at Impress for Kelly Purkey’s class, I picked up the Pink Paislee paper collection Citrus Bliss.  All of these papers remind me of Amy, so I knew I had to make her a card using them. I wish I had found all the ephemera and rest of the collection, as Amy loves pineapples and wait til you see the goodies in this collection (at the bottom of this post!). I associate Amy with green, so that was my leading color!  Since I have been on vacation this week, and then catapulted right back into teaching, time was not on my side the last 2 days, nor was the disappearing light this evening, so regretfully the photos don’t represent terribly well.

Photos UPDATED!!

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I love the Memory Box vines as they remind me of Orla Kiely designs, so that was definitely a inspiring factor.

I used the PTI Wet Paint Celebrate die and SSS “You” stamp for the inside.  Easter Grass by Bazzill comprises the card base.

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Getting crafty and connecting after much too long with Kimberly and Amy!

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Alright, now it’s time for you to connect with my other PNW friends.  Please leave some love along the way!  And check back here this weekend to see my first mini-album inspired by Kelly’s class!

Happy Birthday Amy!!

Tonya (Big thanks for hosting the hop!!!)
Laura
Kate (You are here!)
Katie
Kimberly
Lisa
Toni
Vicki  
Amy ← Birthday Girl! 

Citrus Bliss Collection!  Maybe something here for the birthday girl?

Most available at Scrapbook.com!
Pink Paislee - Citrus Bliss Collection - Embossing Folder - 4 x 6 - Pineapple

Pink Paislee - Citrus Bliss Collection - 12 x 12 Vellum with Foil Accents - Welcome

Pink Paislee - Citrus Bliss Collection - Wood Veneer Shapes

Pink Paislee - Citrus Bliss Collection - Puffy Stickers

Pink Paislee - Citrus Bliss Collection - 12 x 12 Paper Pad

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

“Everything we choose in life for its lightness soon reveals its unbearable weight. We face the fear of unbearable weight….The residue of history: the printed page, the flicker of the image, always fragmentary, always saying something less than the weight of experience” (Richard Serra, quoted in A. and D. Lefferts, Richard Serra 2013, New York, 2014, p. 14).  Source: Christies

My latest piece certainly weighed on me, despite its ethereal lightness.  I couldn’t stop looking at the inspiration image from Runway Inspired Challenge–that fabric, that dress!–and feeling that nothing could quite do it justice in the form of paper, in the time I had.  Really the image had me re-measuring my dress form and stuffing its bra full of poly-fill so I could finally tackle bust alterations (but that’s another post for another time!).

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Despite the gorgeous floral pattern, I didn’t want to do flowers, but all my other ideas lay half-formed on my work table throughout the week–one which left my brain a bit gummy and my lids too heavy.  So flowers, or rather a flower, it was.

I’ve been altering and manipulating die cuts, though, for a few weeks and working with some 3-D and geometric patterns, so that worked its way into this piece, echoing the geometry in her dress.

I’ll let the piece speak for itself because try as I might the words are just not flowing tonight!

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The Lil’ Inker’s background die, Faceted, and card base are a lovely “Arctic Ice” blue watercolor paper that is decades old.  The sentiment and rose are both from Paper Smooches.

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The banner is a dark grey, and I loved how the frosted grey Co’ordinations paper looked atop it.  Subtle, and beautiful indeed!  It pulls in the grey of the lines and her belt.

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I watercolored some paper with varying shades of yellow and then cut numerous roses to attain a shading I liked along the outline.

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Here are a few views from the side and top.  I am really excited about this die; I have deconstructed it further and plan to manipulate it and Mod-Podge it for some other pieces.  I love its architectural nature–reminds me of Rem Koolhaas and Gehry’s work, both of whom have prominent buildings in Seattle–the Public Library and EMP respectvely.

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I chose the background paper from DCDW to echo the diagonals on her dress.  Here are a few more images to leave you with.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to head over to Runway Inspired Challenge where there’s always something to get your juices flowing!

UPDATE: Lil’ Inker Designs is having a monthly meet-up challenge over at their blog as a way to share projects designed with Lil’ Inkers’ products.  I just happened upon it today, and there are 9 days left to submit.  Lil’ Inker’s background dies are some of my absolute favorite, and Laura provides excellent customer service.  Head over and check them out!  There are prizes to be won!

And please check out my PORTFOLIO pages, which are a bit more thematic and image focused.  I have some new entries of holiday thank you cards, and more backlogged work to be added this coming week!

Have a beautiful Valentine’s weekend!

Candy Crush

Happy Weekend, All!

It is a gorgeous, cloudless day here on the beach, much like the afternoon when the idea for this card sprung to life!

A few week’s ago, my partner and I were walking along the water and spotted a collection of candy necklaces just hanging from a post.  How odd, and wasteful, (I still love candy necklaces!) that someone would have left five uneaten strands there!  Then my partner said, “You should make a card like that.” I started thinking about how I would execute it, but I only had time to think until today.

Candy necklace.
Candy Necklaces were invented in 1958; click the image for an article on vintage candy favorites that are still around today!

 

Now before I get to the actual card, I must relay a bit of synchronicity. I played along with Fusion last week, and Kimberly told me that I would really love this week’s challenge.  Sure enough, she was right, as it aligned perfectly with my candy necklace idea!!

So today I was able to finally fuse together that moment on the beach and the inspiration below!  I was also thinking about the colors in Taheerah’s Cure for the Monday Blues challenge photo–for which I have another card slated, but potentially won’t finish in time…additionally, her photo conveys the soft, sweet dreaminess of childhood so it connects perfectly to one of my favorite candies from youth!

So here is this week’s Fusion image:

And Taheerah’s image:

And here is my sweet card:

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Before I saw the photo, I knew I wanted to stay pretty faithful to the powdery soft colors of the original candy necklace, so they just happened to align perfectly with the softness of the pastel rose garland.  I decided not to fill the whole necklace with “candy” and left a bow at the top for interest; it also echoes the bow within the garland.

I pulled the blue tablecloths in the photo into my side panel, a scrap paper from a discount pack.  Initially, I thought I would use the white linen for both the card body and front panel; but decided to go with the turquoise.  It was only when I turned the Bazzill paper over to cut it did I notice that the color of the paper is… Candy Necklace!!  Another fusion!!  I had to read it twice to believe my eyes.  This paper is so delicious in terms of weight and color, I don’t even think you can get the full impact from my photos.  It’s from Bazzill’s “Green with Envy” set of papers.

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PROCESS:

Okay, so how did I execute my little “candies” and their placement?  I immediately thought of Avery Elle’s Simply Tags set when I saw the real necklaces.  The little circle die was a perfect, if not tedious, choice!  I cut 12-15 of each color.  And I only have one of those little circles…

At any rate, once I had finally finished die cutting, I got to thinking about how I would be able to adhere the necklace while giving it dimension and interest, but making sure it stayed on the card and the adhesive would not be seen!!

I used a combination of Mod-Podge and Scotch ultra-thin glue dots.  The glue dots anchored certain parts, while I was able to manipulate other areas easily using the Mod-Podge.

I wanted some of the pieces to move, so I anchored those on either end of the loose ones.  In the photo below you can see the texture of the papers I used, and the standing pieces are moveable.

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The back and inside are finished off with yellow washi– I love how the striped back of the front panel peeks through just a little!

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Last but not least, I needed a sentiment.  I had planned to stamp a bold black “sweet” on the front originally, then my eye wandered over to the American Crafts Valentine Phrase Stickers I had bought waaaaay back in February at Target for some valentines that never materialized.  Another moment in this process where stars aligned.  And a card was born!

To be honest, I am crushing pretty hard on this card!  What about you?

You have until the 22nd to play along with the challenge at Fusion, and only hours until Taheerah’s challenge runs out.  But don’t worry– she’ll be back with more on Monday!

Since Simon’s Challenge this week is all about sweets, I am going to send this card right over there as well!  A triple-header!

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

Wishing you crafty time full of flow and sweet serendipity this weekend!

I am off to catch what is left of the sun!

 

 

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!