Stars in a Jar

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Happy March and welcome to the first challenge of the month at Fusion where I will be guest designing all month!  I am excited to be sharing in the inspiration and hope you will join us for each of the fabulous challenges this month.

To kick off the fun, we have this sketch and photo to get your gears turning:

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When I first saw the photo and sketch, I knew I wanted to use stars and an ombre pattern; however, there were a few surprises along the way in terms of design!  You have to love those creative “accidents'”!

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I wasn’t entirely sure what paper I would use for the front of the card, but I knew I wanted to use a technique whereby my stars would only be partially die cut from the face, and thus able to extend from the card.  This is not an easy feat with such small dies!

I decided that embossing them first into the paper and then die cutting would provide not only a template useful for lining up the stars, but also add definition for the part of the star that would not be die cut.

This was especially important should I have used white cardstock for the actual façade.  Here is my sample below:

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You can see the tiny stars atop the card ended up being cut completely; it was quite a trial with my Big Shot trying to stop the roller just shy of the bottom of each star, and after many attempts with the real card, you can see I wasn’t 100% successful with a couple of the stars at the top.

Having chosen the Jen Hadfield gold bark paper, I found the design to be a bit more forgiving than had I used a white or plain cardstock.

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The middle and bottom stars were a success, and you can see a bit of the embossing detail where the stars are still attached.  It is not as pronounced as this paper is thinner than the white cardstock.  I inlaid and adhered the top stars with a small dot of glue.

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The liner paper is from a Crate Paper design modeled after paint swatches, so the panels move from light to dark teal, 3 of which I captured behind the stars.

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So the big a-ha moment came when I was playing around with my draft of the card, and I had planned to run some twine or cord around the top, echoing the top panel on the sketch, but I thought, why not use my thumb notch to cut two notches for some interest.  when I did so, I noticed the panel looked like a jar!

I am not one to make many shape cards; my only other one was also the result a creative accident, which you can see here.   I had some left-over corrugated silver sparkle paper, and fashioned a top to the jar, rounded all the corners and wrapped with twine.

The Lucky Die from Amy Tangerine set, Stitched, and Maggie Holmes tassel were adhered and a star a card was born!

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I haven’t stamped an inner message yet, but depending on the recipient, it might say “you” or “to know you” or “birthday”!  Befitting as well would be the “I am lucky because…” sentiment from the PTI Monthly Moments set below.  Maybe you have this set and will put it to use for this week’s challenge!

Monthly Moments: March Stamp Set

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I am thanking my lucky stars that Fusion invited me onto the team, and that you stopped by today!  I hope you have been inspired to play along with us and think outside the box when it comes to designing.  Here’s to lucky, creative accidents!

Head over to Fusion to link up your card and check out all the inspiration!  You have until the 15th to link up!

PROCEDURES:
1. Play with just the sketch challenge.
2. Play with just the inspiration photo challenge.
3. Or you can create FUSION by combining BOTH challenges into one card.
4. Use the challenge graphic and link back to Fusion in your post.
5. Please read the other considerations on the Our Rules Page before playing along.

Prettier in Pink

 

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Moving blindly through a thick fog.  That was yesterday.

Today, clarity returned and I was much happier with the outcome!

Whether it’s exercise or sport,  writing or another art, there are times when the motivation and the muse have departed and all that’s left is discipline to drive the day. And a girl’s not going to improve if she only tackles projects when she feel like it, right? Still, I’m not totally convinced the extra effort that those times require is worth it when the project or routine takes three times as long to complete.  Numerous moments yesterday I thought to myself maybe I should just close up shop and stop fighting my brain. When all was said and done, I wasn’t even happy with the outcome.  Nothing more unsatisfying than creating a dud and spending all day doing it (and then looking around at everything else that didn’t come to fruition)!

But maybe it wasn’t for naught after all, as I suppose yesterday’s effort helped guide today’s project.  Something must have been stirring behind that fog!

And so I present you with the shabby-trendy-edgy-chic style (a card concept I have coined with the latest efforts)!

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When I saw this week’s challenge over at Fusion, I was totally captivated by the colors– blush/pink with navy, baby blue, and grey–I set about to gather all the papers and objects in the palate.

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Most of the items for this card (resin frame, digi paper in frame, tag, flower, dymo sentiment) were gathered and put aside as I toiled away on my first attempt; after yesterday, I wasn’t even sure I would have time to see my ideas through for this card. It was Cris G. (see her work over on Flickr) who reminded me I had the blue and ivory floral paper she used in her card (the flipside of which ended up being the unifying background piece for this one).

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The pink and silver dotted paper is from Seven (Studio Calico) and love the quality of the pink– it has these wonderful purple undertones that work so well with the dark and airy blues.  Love that deep blue-black leaf!!

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Initially I had played around with some papers from the We R Memory Keepers “Love Notes” collection for the front background panel, but none worked.  Given the sentiment and the colors, what did work was the paper I have adhered inside as a non-traditional greeting.  I love the encouraging sentiments, and figured I could write a message underneath on the card base, or stamp a sentiment on a small piece of vellum and overlay the paper.  To be determined!

I am happy to say this all came together pretty quickly, and left me feeling a little better about yesterday.  If you’d like to see that card…. well, I suppose I teased you long enough.  Here you go: IMG_20160228_185059

It’s the kind of card that will be headed for the deconstruction pile, where its parts will live on in another, more inspired creation!  I was wise enough to know I’d likely be revisioning it, so I used non-permanent glue dots! As a result, it promptly fell apart after a few hours, beginning the process for me (those little birds are heavy!!)!  Do you ever do the same with your work?

That’s all from me tonight.  I hope you savored your extra day this Leap Year! Have a fabulous week and be sure to check back on Thursday, as I have a surprise to unveil!

Hooray!

Hooray…

For returning to my site after a month, and seeing that I still have a few visitors popping in on a daily basis!

For the first day of fall!

And of course, for Tonya!!

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So, this is not the card I had planned for Tonya; I had two different ideas coming together last week, and while I was away in Portland for some much needed fun and R&R the past few days.  However, neither idea has had a chance to manifest just yet, so since I’ve such a backlog of work to blog, and this card seemed fitting, I will say “Hooray” for Tonya today, and surprise her on Saturday with her real birthday card (to be blogged sometime in the next year!).

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Tonya is a wonderful listener and creative spirit whom I always look forward to seeing at our crafty gatherings or other outings.  She is understanding and inspiring!  I only wish there were more time and fewer miles between us so we could see each other more often!  She and I share a deep love for cats, and an even deeper disdain for our migraines!  I can’t wait to see her this weekend so we can catch up and I can give her a big birthday hug in person!  Here’s to a most fabulous year, Tonya!  Hooray for you!

Check out what my other crafty friends have up their sleeves in celebration of Tonya!

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vicki
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Thanks for stopping by!  Hope your week is one to celebrate!

*Materials: Studio Calico digital print “Hooray” journal card; Crate Paper floral paper and rose; Freckled Fawn metal wreath; love

Fiesta Forever: It’s Another Birthday Blog Hop!

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Happy Birthday, Katie!

I am always late to the party!  But I’m so glad you’ve stopped by because our PNW crafty group is celebrating a card maker you may know well from a variety of design teams, Ms. Katie Brooks!  Today is her birthday, so we have pulled together a little hop.  As usual, I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, but so happy to be included in the celebration!

After what seems like centuries of sun and heat here in Seattle, the thunder is rolling and a sweet coastal breeze is floating through my windows as the clouds darken down on the beach, but that won’t dampen our spirits any!  Because “my friends, the time has come to raise the roof and have some fun; Throw away the work to be done. Let the music play on!”

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I’ve been working with a lot of pink lately, thanks to the Confetti collection from Maggie Holmes, and the Fancy collection from My Mind’s Eye.  I’ve lined up a graduation card and mini-album to post soon featuring both collections.

For this card, I’ve combined some Maggie Holmes and MME, using the Fancy collection pink and gold polka dot paper and some of the awesome flowers and leaves from the Open Book collection.

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The smile die cut is from PTI’s Wet Paint collection, and the Chochitlan Wreath from Poppystamps was a must-have after I saw it featured in one of Maria’s cards, of Riesling Mama.  The camera is from an awesome Spellbinders set by Donna Salazar, which I don’t think is available any more.

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I’ve got a little bit of a retro soft-palette reminiscent of the Eighties going on here, especially love this washi!  And the wet-paint style of the inside paper, which is from Studio Calico’s Lemon Lush.

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Lizzie McKay’s birthday stamp set “Let’s Party” from Studio Calico provides the sentiment, which I stamped in gold.

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Katie’s cards and personality always make me smile, so I thought this would be a fitting sentiment for her.  And while I don’t necessarily equate Katie with pink, as her style is bright and colorful, a bit quirky, and always smile-worthy, pink seems to be ruling the day over here at Pinned & Penned.

And I hope Katie’s day rules, that she was showered with love yesterday at the crafty gathering I was sorry to miss! Unfortunately, my teaching schedule and other obligations have prevented me from not only gathering with the ladies, but also posting anything since our last birthday hop!!  I have been creating though, and hope to get some of the backlogged work posted here soon!

And can you believe the celebratory month of June is nearly over?  Graduations, anniversaries, birthdays have filled these last few weeks, not to mention the celebration of the national decision to grant marriage equality to all.  We found ourselves celebrating friendship and our anniversary last night, a balmy evening, with friends over some lovely French food and champagne at Le Pichet, followed by dessert on the deck overlooking the Sound at The Pink Door, one of the loveliest spots in the Seattle summer, day or night.

Let’s keep the party rolling with your next stop on the hop, Ms. Kimberly Wiener!   Big thanks to Amy for pulling this all together, and really, what can’t she make happen in the blogosphere?  I mean have you seen what she’s done for coffee and paper crafting?  A force to be reckoned with, I tell ya!

Please leave some love for everyone along the way, and of course wish Katie a happy birthday and check out her fabulous work over at KB Stamps!  And if you comment here, I am going to choose a random winner (or 2!) for some blog candy because I’ve got a whole bunch of crafty wares that need to find a good home.  Stamps, straws, ephemera– who knows what will be awaiting you.  Leave me a comment to possibly find out! 🙂

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Kate— You are here!

Kimberly

Laura

Lenae

Tonya

Vicki

Katie ← Birthday Girl!!!

Believe It or Not, Look Who’s Back (and feeling magical)!

We lead such fragmentary lives, occupying a multiplicity of physical and virtual spaces at any one time.  We touch down here, flit there, ever attempting simultaneity.  Yesterday, I sat down to my sewing machine and really focused on the motions of threading my machine, paying attention to the tiny eye of the needle, the bobbin spinning, the thread through my finger tips; it was so refreshing to be present, performing such a simple, physical task without any thought to the work I would do later, the emails I needed to return, the photographs I needed to take and edit for this post!  I was in what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi theorized as “flow”–an optimal state of concentrated energy whereby you are intrinsically motivated by the process of the activity with no competing thoughts about outside events or the end product.  Artistic endeavors can provide this experience, but if we are so focused on the end result or the audience or the applause, then we are apt to lose our footing– flow gives way to something frantic, fractured and frustrating.

It’s really hard to be present, to achieve flow, even in the activities or with the people we most enjoy.  And so, given the pressures of my career and the necessities of my physical being, as well as the desire to focus more on my sewing skills, I needed to step away from blogging, and all that goes into the development of a post, for the last two months, so I could make time and space for other experiences.  The reality is you can’t do it all and you can’t have it all, no matter what the ad-men try to tell you. And that’s okay. Slowing down, focusing, being present, working on one aspect of your life or yourself or a project, to the exclusion of other parts is more than okay; it’s vital.  Especially in creative endeavors.  It’s good to just be an observer of words or images, letting it all sink in for a bit as you stay silent and still.

And it’s good to step back now into this little corner of my world where I’ve made such great connections and see that as I’ve been percolating behind the scenes, my little virtual home hasn’t been completely devoid of visitors! I sure appreciate your stopping by.  I have four posts lined up for this week to celebrate birthdays, national poetry month, and some fun challenges, like this one:

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I am sure many of you are familiar with the fabulous Ellen Hutson, LLC, one of the best online spots for papercrafting supplies. When I need something quickly and can’t make it to a store, Ellen’s my woman because she’s practically in my backyard and the shipping is lightning fast!  Plus she has a great new line of products designed by Julie Ebersole, another Washingtonian.  Lots of good papercrafting energy in the PNW!

So she’s developed two new challenges, which you can read about here and here.

I absolutely loved the holiday release of sentiment stamps and dies from Julie, and the winter release was fabulous as well.  The Pin-Sights challenge asks you to use the products and the mood board to create a paper project.  The current inspiration board had me swooning so I knew I just had to play along!

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Magical, right? I’ve been known to believe in magic every so often, especially when it comes to inspiration and art!

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I tried to weave in a  variety of the elements from the mood board, most obviously the colors and the brushstroke font.  I’d been wanting to create one of these sentiment backgrounds for awhile so this challenge gave me the push to finally do so using Julie’s Brushstroke Christmas set . Since the color scheme mentions charcoal, I used Versacolor Ultimate Pigment ink in Charcoal rather than black and stamped on Ellen’s 110lb Linen cardstock, my favorite paper!  I echoed the dots from the photograph with the MFT Polka Dot Coverup die background, which I cut down to create a more interesting layer.

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The challenge is open to any kind of paper project, not just cards, and in creating this, I was not sure if it would be a card–I actually think it would make a great framed piece or album cover for a mini-album, so I intentionally did not adhere it to a card base.

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The Magic die from Studio Calico was doubly cut from Paper Source’s Bronze paper and adhered so it would pop up a bit for more curved dimension.  The hot pink brick wall journaling card is a digital file from Studio Calico’s Lisse Street collection.  I love my new HP printer which is allowing me to actually print quality photographs and digital images for the first time in years, so I can add a new element to my paper crafting beyond stamping.

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Open Book from Crate Paper provided the flower and vellum embellishments.  That Art Deco green and gold panel was just what I needed to bring those layers together. I spent awhile riffling through my hundreds of paper embellishments.  I really like working in this way with my products as it is like creating with found art– I am confined by just the paper pieces I have and must assemble them without being able to create by hand the perfect image or embellishment to complete the piece.  It’s challenging in that way–sadly I cannot find any of these vellum packs from the Open Book line anywhere– so it is really a one of a kind piece.

In addition to Ellen’s challenge, I am also going to submit this to Virginia’s View current challenge which is all about dimensions and layers.   You can find my work among the hundreds of entrants!  Virginia gets the prize for challenge participation, although the Coffee Loving Paper Crafters are gaining steadily!!

Check out all three for some great inspiration and maybe a bit of magic!

And make sure to stop by here tomorrow for a special birthday card and blog hop with prizes!!