THD Challenge & Celebration

Hello Everyone and welcome to a special THD Challenge for July!

We just celebrated Toni’s birthday and the 4th of July, and now we’re celebrating the first anniversary of The Heart Desires Store with a sale and a new THD Challenge this month with a hop where you could be a winner! 

Here’s our current inspiration!

This month’s Hop Rules

There are up to 3 opportunities to win a $20 gift certificate to the store.

  • Leave a comment on the challenge post on the blog, on IG, and/or FB. You must be a follower of each platform you comment on for your vote to count.
  • Enter the July challenge for an additional chance to win a $10 gift certificate. Don’t forget to link back to the challenge in your personal post.
  • Winners will be randomly selected from the eligible entries and announced August 2 so you have plenty of time to comment and enter.

Challenge Rules

  • NEW:  A randomly selected participant each month will receive a $10 gift certificate to the store. Who doesn’t like an excuse to shop?!
  • NEW:  If you would like to be a guest designer on the blog, please add GD next to your name when you enter.
  • Don’t worry. We’ll still be choosing our favorites and offering the opportunity for the winner to guest design for the challenge.
  • Challenges will run from the first Wednesday to the last day of each month.
  • Enter up to 3 times and combine with no more than 5 challenges, including ours.
  • Include the challenge inspiration pic or link in your post.
  • The challenge winner will be invited to be a future guest designer.
  • Most importantly, have fun!!!!

When you post your entries, feel free to tag us on social media!

#thdchallenge, #theheartdesiresstore

Oh, and did we mention a sale?

And now for how I was inspired by our challenge graphic!

 

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I pulled together some things old, some things new for this one!  I had a few leftover Waffle Flower floral die cuts that had been colored with Brushos from my card in the April challenge. While I was playing around with them, I realized they could double as both fireworks and anemones!  Here they are playing the role of the latter!

I love how they look with the Memory Box underwater collage dies.  The inner panel was cut from hand-colored alcohol inked glossy paper; the outer from the Gina Marie cross-stitch die. The top one is adhered with a cute clip from Michael’s mermaid line!

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The inner panel was colored with Distress inks and then sprayed with Heidi Swap Color Shine.  I then stamped a sentiment from Waffle Flower’s Flora Cat Play.

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I put a clear dot from Tear Drops and Clear dots in the flower’s center.

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Finally, I added one of my sequin strands that uses a variety of sequins, including Hero Arts Ombre sequins and some anchor washi from Target on the inside!  The base paper is from an old collection from Glitz Design.

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Thanks for celebrating with us! I look forward to seeing what you create this month! Click on any of the links below to purchase items used in my card for 20% off!

Supplies from THD Store:

Memory Box Seaweed Collage and Underwater Collage Dies; Waffleflower Flora Cat Play sentiment; Gina Marie Stitched Rectangle die; Distress Ink Tumbled Glass Mermaid Lagoon; Ranger Mini Ink Blending tool; Ranger Watercolor paper; Brushos Ultramarine; Hero Arts Ombre Sequins

 

Catching Up…

I have struggled with sleep for years– falling asleep, staying asleep, needing mid-day naps to compensate for the lack of sleep.  Having experienced chronic, debilitating bouts of insomnia over the last decade, I am nearly giddy when I actually zonk out for more than 5 hours at a time.  No longer accepting early morning teaching gigs has helped somewhat with my sleep issues and has resulted in a more natural sleep cycle whereby I go to bed later and wake up later. Because I teach most nights until at least 8, sometimes 9pm, it takes a few hours to wind down after 5 or 6 hours of back-to-back students and parents.  And not until the last few months did I notice what a difference my elimination of morning teaching (at 6:45 or 7:30 am 2x-3x/week for the last few years) really has made to my health.  I have come to the realization that I am a shift-sleeper, and if I can get two 3-4 hour cycles in each night, I feel good and rested the following day.  According to sleep doctors, this kind of sleep is actually quite normal, and I am thankful to have a job where I can manipulate my schedule somewhat to accommodate my natural physical cycle.

However, when the mind is heavy or hormones are creating havoc, I typically find myself up around 2-3am, and unable to return to sleep for possibly hours.  I often chide myself to get up and do something since just lying there never helps (chiding yourself doesn’t do much good either!) and since I can’t seem to squeeze enough time out of my days to accomplish what I want, nor lately what I need, it seems even more futile to lay wide-eyed in the dark with an unrelenting mind.

So here I am, up since 1:30 (it’s now 4am in the windy PNW), having roused myself (after significant chiding) to catch up with some creative work.  I’ve taken a couple days off for the mid-winter break to relax (maybe) and organize my physical and mental spaces!  When you work for yourself, there really never is “downtime” and frankly, after a conversation tonight with my partner, I have come to the realization that I really don’t think I know how to relax, truly–or maybe I don’t believe in it, or rather what is typically considered “relaxation”?  Don’t get me wrong, I do attempt this state through massage, acupuncture, and the occasional pedicure, but even then I can find it hard to tune out and turn off. How can one relax when there is just so much to be done in this life– so much to create, and read, and experience, and think about?  Sometimes I think that is what some diseases, like migraine, are meant to teach us–to let go, relinquish control, truly rest (other times I doubt there is any greater meaning within them–they are simply chemical or biological alterations in our bodies beyond our control)–but either way it’s a paradox; my migraines FORCE me to slow down, shut off completely for awhile and reboot– but then on the other side I am often left further behind, with more catch-up!  Without rest (and frankly, better time management), though, we cannot manifest fully in any capacity– and so whatever we choose to call it– relaxation, rest, meditation, downtime– I guess it’s something I need to consider and uncover what will work for me, without guilt, in 2016 to bring many aspects of my life back into balance.

At any rate, catching up is what this post is all about and after being asked to participate in 7 days of sharing your favorite creations from 2015 on Facebook, I figured it was time to empty the folder on my desktop labeled “To Blog” (just like it’s time to empty the real folder on my physical desktop that contains all the belated cards and letters and gifts  I’ve slated to send for months)!

This was one card that actually made it into the mail and into the hands of a student who graduated in June 2015, and it is one of my absolute favorites from last year, partly because of my technique, but also because I think it shows some growth in my design knowledge and style.

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For this card, I cut the MFT Stamps world die from acetate to make a stencil and then adhered that to some Ranger watercolor paper.  From there, I proceeded to use a variety of Distress inks to watercolor my world.  This was actually my first attempt, and I was pretty excited with how it turned out!

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I also used  a MFT Stamps sentiment from their graduation set, a must-have for teachers!  I love the bold fonts of MFT’s collections.

I adhered some washi, and echoed the black and white outlined letters with the b/w striped paper.  The colorful paper layered below is some OLD stock (possibly My Mind’s Eye) that also echoed the colors of the world and the water-coloring perfectly.

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Please check out my portfolio pages for the rest of my new/old creations; I have some fun cards and mini-albums there (I entered the world of layouts and scrapping in 2015!).

May this be the start of an inspired, fruitful week with plenty of rest!

 

 

Winter Coffee Lovers Hop

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Oh Christmas bean, oh Christmas bean, how green you are before roasting; Oh Christmas bean, oh Christmas bean, once brewed, you are worth toasting!

Hey, everyone, welcome to the….

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It’s that time again to pay homage to the liquid gold that fuels us all year through, and especially at this time of the year!

Each hop more and more coffee loving papercrafters come aboard, and it’s always so much fun to meet new participants, and reunite with others at this quarterly event.  This time around there are 49 sponsors and prizes to be won!  Those super commenters have their work cut out for them, as there are already over 500 entries and two days left!  Amy and Chaitali have created a tsunami of an event, and the number of coffee stamps, dies, and embellishments that have followed in their wake is staggering!

I have required copious cups of coffee this past month, not because it is the holiday season, but because we are raising a new kitten and dealing with everything that goes along with that (kitten-proofing the house, dealing with “Utinni oops” on linens, poopy paws and runny noses, vet visits, cleaning, cleaning, laudromat, cleaning, repeat and repeat and repeat, and managing existing cat dynamics).  Luckily, I teach out of my home studio, so disasters have been apprehended early, and I can easily monitor events.  She is starting to jump higher and higher, and scaled my shower curtain just tonight…the fun is only beginning!  Here’s our little dirty snowball with icicle eyes– a perfect Christmas kitten–Utinni!

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But really, I am as sweet as an angel!

 

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Leo is such a good big brother!  He has defied my expectations!

If you are wondering about her name, she is named for a word in the language of the Jawas in Star Wars (anyone heading to theaters tomorrow or this weekend?) but it is merely a coincidence that the movie is coming out just after her adoption.  We actually named her last spring on a trip to Portland before we even knew her.  Full name is Utinni Alberta Noi (the last two being favorite places in PDX) and it’s just so fun to say!

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I love Courier Coffee in Portland!

 

So back on track (kittens have a tendency to derail you every waking moment), and on with my card, that could also function as a tag!

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I have left it open to be either adhered to a card base or just clipped onto some gifted beans.

And talking about beans!!  I Distress-inked some watercolor paper with Pine Needle ink (love that color!!) and set out to cut many, many beans from the Impression Obsession coffee set.  These dies have made an appearance in a variety of my prior coffee hop entries, which you can see here.  If you didn’t know already, coffee beans are actually green before roasting!

I adhered beans to a base, fussy cut, and then used some icicle Stickles to add sparkle, and finally adorned the tree with Memory Box’s Festive Lights die.

 

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Using my favorite embossing plate from PTI, I added texture to the background card cut from a Lawn Fawn notecard die.

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I instantly fell in love with Basic Grey’s Juniper Berry line this year, rivaled only by Pinkfresh’s holiday papers, so Juniper Berry will be featured in many of my holiday cards.  Here I have used the geometric woodgrain and the hot-pink design.

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To add to the scrappy aesthetic, I rummaged around for some fun embellishments such as this acetate Maggie Holmes leaf, Freckled Fawn metal wreath, and sentiment, created with my new, awesome, Stampin’ Up Rotary stamp– the largest rotary stamp ever.  You can order one here from my girl Tonya!!  And check out her beautiful cards while you are at her site!!

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I clipped everything to a woodgrain paper base from Ellen Hutson, added a strip of silver/teal washi, and placed a star on the highest bough!

This is also headed over to Virginia’s FINAL challenge–All About Glitter.  Virginia’s View challenges have garnered as much interest from our crafting community as the coffee hops.  Her challenge is one of the best and her own cards are amazing and always inspiring!  We will miss your challenges, but keep following your creative acts!

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I wish I had my tag completed in time for our crafty gathering and gift exchange.  The talented and lovely Katie Brooks took home my gift below!

THE OUTSIDE:

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THE INSIDE:

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THE GIFTS!  So lucky to have a great group of sweet, talented crafters to hang with regularly!
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What’s on your wish list this holiday?  Any crafting must-haves?  I saw Santa ordering a MISTI for me!   Leave me a comment on your way out and let me know about your Christmas wish, your favorite coffee, or a crazy cat story!  There may be some swag if you do so!

Enjoy the hop and have a very merry____________________ and a happy new year!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S.

And this happened while writing this post:

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I heard some noise in my studio upstairs, and then movement on the stairs, followed by a thump and a meow.  Atticus brings me the most interesting gifts–I think the messages here are “Pay attention to me, not that stupid kitten” and “You should be crafting”!

Oh Atticus!

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Grateful for This Day & Synesthesia!

grateful4bIt’s Friday the 13th and the wind is howlin’, the unrelenting rain is coming down sideways, and the sky is that November grey, but it is bright and colorful here in this latest installment for Runway Inspired Challenge #95.

Lot’s of new going on in this card and a variety of techniques, including some serious texture, which makes it a contender for the latest challenge at Virginia’s View!

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There are so many lovely aspects to the model’s ensemble from the dual toned blue-black lace and the pops of fuchsia to those capped sleeves and the intricate shoes!

Rather than incorporating the lace and blues in a bold way, I opted for a more subtle pop of color and texture against the white and a bold statement.

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The leaves are from the new Julie Ebersole set, Gourd-jus, at Ellen Hutson.  I stamped some watercolor paper with Hero Arts cornflower dye ink and this fabulous lacy, paisley background stamp from Prima, then die cut the leaves.

The flower stamp is from Unity, a stamp of the week that I hadn’t put to use yet.  I Distress-inked watercolor paper with Picked Raspberry and then stamped over the pattern I liked best with Ranger Archival Ink in that rich, fabulous black.  It works really well with highly textured paper.  The flower was then fussy cut and manipulated a bit for dimension.

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The background panel was embossed with my favorite Linen plate from PTI.  This impression is just so amazing; I experience synesthesia just looking at it (which, for me, means I want to eat it!).  Weird, perhaps, but I experience this phenomenon with colors and textures; my inclination is to taste them or have an extreme need to touch them.  Some people see color when listening to music or composing; others can experience taste through a different sense, or feel physically in a part of their body something they hear, which also happens to me.  Synesthesia is really pretty cool; except when it’s not, like when my teeth feel like they might fall out of my head if I touch or think about certain textures, or when I experience sensory overload visually and auditorily. You can read more about it here if you are interested.

Anyway, I love this linen plate! And the way the sentiment from Kaisercraft looks on it.

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And what about that border?  Oh my gosh.  I have owned this die forever and never put it to use!  It is actually being discontinued by Memory Box, (I stand corrected, thanks to my dear friend Jeanne, it is POPPYSTAMPS Longier Stem die!  You can see her use of it here.).  actually the Memory Box die indeed, Whimsy Leaves, and all this back and forth has been incredibly funny to me! You can read more about the confusion in the comments below! I am glad I not only bought it, but finally used it because it is cool! (And so is the Longier die by Poppystamps, for that matter!  And you should still check out Jeanne’s use of it and Starlit Studio!)

The intention behind it was to echo the model’s shoes and the ladder-like pattern around her ankles and feet.  Neat shoes, but boy do her feet look uncomfortable!!

Everything is layered on Studio Calico’s new digital paper from the Canyonland’s collection, which I have been putting to use in some cards and layouts.  The final touch was a bit more texture with some shimmery electric blue thread and dew-drop sequins.  Love the play of the dotted lines angling against the border and working with the grid pattern of the flower!

Smooth, textured, delicate, bold–I am really happy with how the elements came together for this piece!

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Behind the scenes, I am working on a spread for #30daysofgratitude, which I am excited about, and several occasion cards.  Looking forward to the Thanksgiving break when I can catch up on some creative and professional work, as well as mingle with some good friends.

So much to be grateful for–including you!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  And thanks to Jeanne for letting me know about another challenge–Poppy Challenge #14 “Home for the Holidays” into which this card will fit (or NOT, after all!).  Check them out–all the DT inspiration and entries are fabulous!  And if they don’t ban me from the challenge, I have plenty of Poppystamps to use when I try, try again! 🙂

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Hope your holiday season is off to a smashing start!

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: My card was chosen to be in the top 10 of 239 entries!  Thanks Virginia!!

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World Card Making Day

I am feeling a bit dispirited to say the least as I begin this post, anew.  After hours of writing, uploading, copying and pasting, and linking, I lost my nearly ready-to-publish draft.  I had decided to use the “improved posting experience” via WordPress and I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say the layout of the new page, and lack of automatic saving do not make it an improved experience whatsoever.  I feel like the bottom of my stomach just dropped out of me!

I sure hope you had a better end to your celebration of World Card Making Day!

So let’s try this again…

I had hoped to make some coffee cards with the Prima Coffee Break collection for the Coffee Lovers Blog Hop last week, but with our trip to the Olympic Peninsula, I didn’t have the time.  So after a busy return to work, I was excited to finally dig into the collection, use some new dies, and work out a few ideas this weekend.  I am happy to say I completed at least one card for WCMD, along with photographs and editing.  As I write this, I am trying to forget that I also would have had a post completed before the day was done… curses, WordPress, curses!

Anyway, here’s my foxy little number.

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After looking through the ephemera pack, I will definitely be purchasing a few more as it is loaded with some really good pieces.  Sometimes I wish you could tailor the bits that come in the packs, or buy them in bulk.  Like the stack of mint books or Scrabble pieces featured on my card!  The Scrabble pieces also included an “x” so that you could spell ‘relax’; however, I had other wily ideas!

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Is anyone else frustrated when you purchase an ephemera pack and there’s a bit included that you want 20 more of?

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I created the “foxy” sentiment on my computer, hand-cut, and distressed with Antique Linen and Walnut Stain, then adhered to the book’s spine.  The glasses were turned over so they created more of a contrast; they are a rich walnut color on the other side.

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The mug is cut from Heidi Swapp Sugar Chic paper using that fabulous Impression Obsession Coffee Set I featured in my Coffee Lovers Blog Hop post.  The “coffee” inside the mug was cut from paper distressed with Walnut Stain ink which makes such a rich coffee color.

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And what about that fox?  I saw him a few weeks ago and knew I had to add him to my repertoire.   I love the design of his tail.  For this card, I cut him from Chickaniddy Goldie Lox foil (or “Goldie fox” in my case!) and created a shadow layer with some black-brown textured paper from Bazzill.

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My patterned papers, including Teresa Collins Tinsel and Company stars, have been adhered to Ellen Hutson heavy-weight wood-grain and finished off with some signature washi on the back, echoing the greens on the front and inside the card.

And speaking of the inside:

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I layered some of the Heidi Swapp paper as a base, and embellished the edge with a cardstock sticker that was a freebie from Emma’s Paperie.  I love shopping with them because they always send you some additional materials, and once I received a little card making pack complete with an envelope!  Love supporting them!

The mint green dotted paper has been repurposed from the packaging of the 3-D stickers in the Coffee Break collection.  I cut to my desired size, die cut the stitching and notebook edge with Paper Smooches Stitched and Borders 2 dies.  Both of these are dies I reach for over and over.  The little notecard is from the ephemera pack and has been adhered with a tiny Tim Holtz paper clip.

Unity Stamps has this great Stamp of the Week and I want to use the sentiment for the inside!  I just joined their stamp of the week subscription as I love their offerings and cheeky sentiments.  In order to purchase the old stamps in their collection, you have to be a current subscriber.

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Do you ever repurpose packaging into your cards or paper art?  You can see another repurposed piece here.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not so good with space or time.  Unless I am creating a stamped piece, I rarely know how big a card is going to be before I start making it; rather, I begin with my concept and focal point, and then however big the card needs to be, it is!  In this case, my card turned out to be 4 3/4 x 6 1/4.  I was trying to work my embellishments within the flow of the stars, so I found I needed a wider space.  Didn’t exactly follow the plan step of my 3 P’s on this one!

TIP:  I spent a lot of time moving the pieces around– but with the use of my favorite 3M Restickable squares, I can easily reposition pieces multiple times without tearing the paper.  This adhesive is really indispensable if you are doing a lot of layering.

Since I didn’t know the finished size of my card until I was, well, nearly finished, it came as a delightful surprise when I pulled out a Whisker Graphics gold striped bag and the card fit perfectly inside!  So I decided to embellish the outside of the bag a bit.

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The sentiment is a deconstructed 3-D sticker from the Coffee Break collection; I really like how you can stretch these stickers.  They can all be taken apart and used as single-layer pieces.  The flower is also from Prima.

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I think this little package would be the perfect gift along with a bookstore gift certificate and coffee card for any coffee-drinking book lover, don’t you?  Maybe your favorite foxy librarian?

I have been wanting to participate in the Cutting Edge Challenge for a few months now, so I am going to submit this to their current challenge.  The design team is fabulous and the current inspiration piece is great!

Speaking of foxy librarians, check out this tune by My Morning Jacket.  It’s a perfect accompaniment for my card, and an absolutely gorgeous song with compelling lyrics.

“Walk across the courtyard,
Towards the library.
I can hear the insects buzz on the leaves, ‘neath my feet.

Ramble up the stairwell,
To the hall of books.
Since we got the interweb these hardly get used.

Duck into the men’s room,
Combing through my hair.
When God gave us mirrors he had no idea.

Looking for a lesson
In the periodicals,
There I spy you listening to the AM radio.

Karen of the Carpenters,
Singing in the rain.
Another lovely victim of the mirror’s evil way.

It’s not like you’re not trying,
With a pencil in your hair,
To defy the beauty the good Lord put in there

Simple little bookworm,
Buried underneath
Is the sexiest librarian.
Take off those glasses and let down your hair for me.”

May you find yourself today with a song in your heart, a book in your hand, and a cup of coffee to warm your soul!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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!

Pink Redux

Monday was so busy that despite having the cards and photos completed and in queue, I couldn’t get to the composition of these posts! So I have a double-hitter today!  See my other post here.

For my next card, which also features pink prominently, I worked from Wida Miller’s inspiration this week over at CASE Study.  So excited she is the muse this month!

Here is her card:

And here is my take:

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A bit more ethereal than Wida’s– but what I started from was her double frame and square orientation.  I just received my Penny Black Feather and Frames dies, and when I saw her card, I knew the double frame would be perfect.

I’ve not jumped on the feather bandwagon–though I have some feather embellishments and stamps floating around (pun intended!).  Her card inspired me to give the trend a try.

I also found myself echoing Amy’s design with her silver lining!  Love her card!

This card was so fun to put together– especially given the gorgeous papers that came in these amazing Crate Paper/Amy Tangerine discount packs at Michael’s (thanks for the tip, Amy Tsuruta!!).  My card and the backdrop papers are specifically from The Best of Maggie Holmes pack.  The tan base paper is from Crate Paper’s DIY Shop.

You can’t see it in my card, but the pink paper layer has bokah hearts all over it, a nod to Wida’s heart paper. I’ve placed the card on the paper so you get an idea of what lies beneath!

I like that the hearts are hidden like a secret beating within the body of the card.

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I strategically cut the cloud paper and covered it with a layer of vellum, adhering with a little Scotch vellum tape before I stitched the top.

I also cut a specific part of the bokah paper that looked like a sun and placed that behind the frame, so it looks like the sun and it’s halo are peeking from the cloud range.

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I cut the sentiment from a notecard in the beloved Lucky Charms pack and distressed it with Tattered Rose, as it was too white for the card.

I also Distress inked my feather with Worn Lipstick stain, and then spritzed with Heidi Swapp Coral mist to get the exact pink I wanted– along with a little sparkle!

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Here is the inside of the card, featuring a Verve Stamp that I just love!

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Now, I initially did not include the sequin on the bottom of the card.  After taking photos and stepping back from the finished product, I just felt like something was missing.  I think the addition of the sequin creates a nice line and adds subtle visual interest.  What about you?  To sequin or not to sequin?

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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The bottom is finished off with some Little B washi!

I thought this card would be perfect for someone working through a difficult time.  Even in our darkest moments and most challenging days, we need to hold onto hope and move toward the light while we sit with the uncertainty.  I think it’s important to remember the difficult days as it helps us to appreciate the better ones that will most certainly follow.

I hope you are having a wonderful week– but if not, may you find the feathers you need to lift you up and the silver linings to make your cloud seem a little less grey.

Thanks for stopping by!  Head over to CASE Study and Curtain Call for some uplifting creations!

 

P.S. Almost forgot my crafty cat Leo who loves the tulle and keeps me company!

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And Atticus who is CSO (Chief String Officer)

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A Crafty Day and A Clipboard Card

And another weekend draws to a close!  Did you find yourself inspired and productive?  I know I did– and now, not only do I have a product pile-up, but I also have a post pile-up!

But before I get to my card and muses, I must share a bit about my crafty Saturday gathering!  I am not only lucky to live in one of the most gorgeous places in the United States, the Pacific Northwest, but also lucky to live in proximity to some of the nicest and most talented card artists out there, all of whom are likely household names to many of you! One of the most wonderful aspects of this creative journey beyond the act of creating is the people I have met online across states and continents through challenges and blogs.  Being able to meet some of these online friends in person makes it even more wonderful.

So yesterday I had the pleasure of laughing, eating and creating with Katie Brooks of KB Stamps, the Kimberly Wiener of Wienerhoneymooners, Amy Tsuruta of Tsuruta Designs, and Amy’s friend, Laurel.  I didn’t get much card making accomplished, but had a great time sharing supplies and ideas, while accomplishing a lot of die cutting (what else is new lately?!) for a mini album!

Amy was a wonderful hostess, and I wanted to show my thanks not only for opening her home to us, but also for being so supportive in her commenting over the past months since I have become more active in the community.  It is amazing how she makes the time to visit so many blogs and comment on people’s work (in addition to creating, being on numerous design teams, raising kids and working!)  Since Amy loves coffee, I knew I had to bring her a little hostess gift of beans, and of course a coffee-themed card!

I have been working on what I will call “clipboard cards” from recycled cardboard and corrugate.  I am really excited about these! There are so many possibilities for different occasions and aesthetic approaches with these cards.  I plan to complete a tutorial for you once I have some others finished.

Additionally, I’ve been experimenting with different card-making styles to challenge myself, but the one I keep gravitating to is the shabby chic/vintage collage style with a modern and/or mixed media twist as seen in the work of Magda Luczak of Mama Judo, Stephanie Schutze of Scrapmanufaktur, Frau Muller, and the older work of Scrapperia, whose recent work is more modern, on-trend, freestyle collage.

These works in particular influenced my thinking, since I have been thinking about these a lot!

Stephanie Schutze, Scrapmanufaktur
Stephanie Schutze, Scrapmanufaktur
Frau Muller
Frau Muller
Scrapperia
Scrapperia
SONY DSC
Mama Judo

 

I actually had set out to CASE Magda’s tag card, but went in a completely different direction after playing around with my elements. She has another fabulous tag card over at her blog which I am thinking of CASE-ing.  Her work is just magnificent!

So here is my card!

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THE PROCESS:

I measured and cut my clipboard back out of recycled cardboard; I use a lot of legal pads in teaching, and always have the cardboard left over after the pad is used.  Great crafting supply!  I did the same with the corrugated paper, rounded the edges of each, and then Mod Podged them together.

I then distressed my top panel and stamped my coffeestains in Versafine Onyx Black, using stamping off to get variations in hues.

I distressed some scrap paper, and then die cut my little coffee mugs.  I strung them along the hemp twine and finally was able to put my Tiny Attacher to use!  Love those little staples!!

I knew immediately that I had to use Kelly Purkey’s stamp from the I Like You set– which I thought was cute in reference to a cup of coffee!  I stamped that in Memento’s Rich Cocoa onto my tag cut from Avery Elle’s Tag set.  I did not attach the tag to the twine as I wanted it to slip out so the message on the back could be read.  I also like the coffee cups sliding freely along the twine.

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I set out to layer a bit with various papers and the burlap, distressing my 7 Gypsies Conservatory paper with the Tonic Distressing tool.

I die cut the tab from My Creative Time’s Stitched File Tab, and specifically chose a section of the washi to tear and affix to the it.

Then I clipped it all together with the tiny binder clip.

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But wait, there’s a surprise inside!!

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Some fun confetti mugs and Paper Smooches “Thanks” die cut from various papers and wood veneer.  It’s not a confetti pack without some trendy sequins!  Love those Studio Calico woodgrain ones!  I snuck the vellum envelope between the layers.  You can see it peeking out in photos above.

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The bottom initially looked a little bare one assembled, so I die cut some branches from the Penny Black Nature’s Song die.  I wrote out a message on the back of the tag and then wrapped it all up with some rough twine!

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After our fabulous day together, I headed to Snoqualmie Falls, not far from Amy’s for a nature walk.  Here are some of my pictures!  I so love our PNW forests with the knobby tree-covered trees and mossed branches bending and hanging and breathing life into the forest!

And the neon azaleas are popping out all over now making my eyes pop right out of their sockets.  I could look at them in their varying hues of fuschia, red, and pink for hours!

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Well, in three minutes, the weekend will be officially over, and it is way past my bedtime.  Instead of popping out, my eyes are about to roll back into their sleepy sockets.  So I won’t be leaving a fancy linked up supplies list this time, but I have listed what went into the card.

This is headed over to CASE Study for the design team call.  There will be a new guest designer as well as a new Muse this coming week! Check it out!

And now it’s lights out for me!

xo

SUPPLIES:

Kelly Purkey “I Like You” Stamps
Prima Paper: Sunrise/Sunset
Crate Paper DIY Shop
7 Gypsies Conservatory Paper
DCWV Burlap Paper
DCWV Woven Paper
Recycled Cardboard
Corrugated Paper
Hemp Twine
Memory Box Mini Cups
Penny Black Nature Song Die
My Creative Time Stitched Tab Die
Avery Elle Tag Die
Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher
Tim Holtz small binder clip
Tonic Paper Distresser
Distress Inks: Walnut Stain, Antique Paper, Tattered Rose, Tea Stain
Versafine Onyx Black ink
Coffeestain Stamp is from Inkadinkado (I think!)
Studio Calico Woodgrain Sequins

A Maze of a Brain and Amazing Art

 

“Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called,
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.
And I was thinking maybe later on,
We could get together for a while.
It’s been such a long time,
And I really do miss your smile.”

–England Dan and John Ford Coley, 1976

“Oh – stop

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

Way out in the water
See it swimmin’ ”

–The Pixies, 1988

Ever feel like you’ve been existing in a time-warp, floating between dimensions, touching down lightly into reality and then off again?  That’s what the last ten days have been like for me!

Over the last two decades, as a migraineur, I have had to adapt to an uncooperative brain, which is not easy for someone who could be working, creating, reading, and writing 24/7!  Last week, I was hit with a three day migraine, the effects of which lasted for the remainder of the week–what migraineurs not-so-affectionately call “a migraine hangover.” So all creative and professional work was curtailed, and I’ve been playing catch-up, and taking life a little more slowly the last five days.

With a reduced teaching load due to spring break, I’ve had a bit more time to get back into my craft room and resume work on a few projects.  It has been so good to just play with colors and patterns and experiment with some new styles.  I will showcase some of those very soon!

Today, though I want to share a project I had completed right before I was derailed.  I took my inspiration from an art piece I found on Pinterest. It is called “The unending amends we’ve made (imperishable wreath) 2010,” (acrylic on cut paper, papier-mâché, wire, wood) by Brooklyn-based artist Lauren Clay.  Her work is delicious in terms of color, and at times unsettling in terms of contrasting hard geometric elements with the soft colors.

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The unending amends we’ve made (imperishable wreath), 2010, Lauren Clay

Here is my card:

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been compelled to create paper nests.  I have also been gravitating to varying hues of turquoise, coral, and pink, as you may have noted in my last few cards.  So when I saw Lauren’s work, I knew I wanted to try and replicate its form and color with my Memory Box branches.

TECHNIQUE:

I first colored separate panels of watercolor paper with a water-color brush and Distress Inks and Stains. I saturated some areas for deep color and lightened others with water.  I also flicked water onto parts of the panel for spotting.  I wanted to create an ombre effect, which you can see more clearly in the close-ups.

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After creating my pink, blue, purple, and yellow panels, I strategically cut many branches!  I’ve been quite the die cutting machine lately with my recent cards!  Flowers, circle, branches, oh my!

I then altered branches to get the desired shapes and sizes.  Finally, I worked on placement, which took some time!

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TIP: Take pictures of your stages, especially when working with a lot of large and small paper elements.  This will aid your memory greatly and allow you to compare different arrangements.

I was then ready to add that gorgeous sentiment from Winnie and Walter’s set The Big, Bold, and You.  I absolutely cannot get enough of these fonts and the quality of the stamps is awesome.  I just ordered their other set, The Big, Bold and Happy.  I used Versafine Onyx Black, which is just as bold as the sentiment!

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TIP: When working on placement of your font, use the Stamp-a-ma-jig and corresponding plastic sheet or stamp your sentiment on a scrap paper and position.

stamoamojig

I absolutely love how the flow of the “you” follows that of the branches.

 

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The inside and back are finished off with a simple strip of turquoise washi.

As some of you may know, CASE Study, run by the ever-inspirational artist, Chupa, is looking to expand its design team.  I had the honor of guest designing in March and would love to continue creating alongside all of the talented ladies on the team.

Chupa asked applicants to create a project based on the work of a personal muse in the crafting industry and a style that would challenge us artistically. I have many muses in the crafting world to whom I turn time and again for inspiration– and they vary greatly in their styles. I will be featuring some of these individuals and the cards I created based on their inspiration in upcoming posts.

However, as a writer and paper crafter, I have always looked to the art world and popular culture for inspiration.  So in this instance, while I am not CASE-ing any particular card artist, I was drawn to a compelling visual artist that inspired me to create a bold, modern, CAS-style card.  I hope this will count!

If you would like to apply for a position on the CASE Study team, submit your entry by 4/30!

Have an amazing day!