Sympathy, Fashion, & A New Stamp Company

Good evening! Here we are in the last week of January, the month that seems to never end! Does it seem like that to you? The New Year and holiday season always feel like ancient history by the time January winds down.  I don’t mind a slow month, though, as I need the time to get myself in order for 2015, and since my birthday kicks off the month of February, I plan to formally spring my new year objectives into action then!

For now, I have some catching up to do here and in physical reality!  Be on the watch for  portfolio entries this week showcasing some holiday cards and seasonal thank you’s (all of which I need to finally get off my desk and into the mail!).

On a more somber note, I have a sympathy card to share today.  There were a few inspirations for this card: my Savvy flower dies, an oval shape, Downton Abbey, and the current Runway Inspired Challenge!  I wanted to play along with their last challenge, but time wasn’t on my side.  It’s funny that I’ve never played along, since I sew, love fashion, and often visit their site.  Well, I’m throwing my hat in the ring now, and plan to more often in 2015!

So here is the inspiration photo, outfit courtesy of Carven, a designer entirely new to me!

MARC0831

 

And here’s my take:
2015-01-27 12.16.50

I wanted a lot of open space and texture, but I deviated a bit from the ivory of the model’s pants, and went with white instead.  I pulled the orange-red of the belt buckle into my card base, and positioned my floral paper so the red flower would be visible.  The MME Market Street Collection, Nob Hill, is full of delightful floral papers, and this one not only seemed to echo the patches on the model’s blazer, and the obvious prominent black, but was also influenced by this season’s episodes of Downton Abbey.  If you are a fan, you may have noticed the ladies donning quite a bit of ruddy-hued and marsala dresses, as well as delicious florals, ivory and jet black.  This week’s episode 4 (state-side) even featured a fashion show!

2015-01-27 12.19.26

The texture of Ranger’s watercolor paper is divine.  I think I will be using quite a bit of it this year!  And I’ve not yet done justice to my Savvy floral dies– they will be getting quite a bit of use as well.

I used heavy vellum from PTI to emboss my Verve stamp sentiment.  The flow of the font echoes that of the die cuts and underlying pattern.

2015-01-27 12.17.06

A sampling of Downton fashion–boho, glam, and lithe flapper!

And speaking of fashion on and off the runway–

Have you heard of The Ton?  I recently purchased some stamps from them as they have just launched, and I am thinking their focus would be perfect pairing for Runway Challenges.  Here’s a little bit about them:

“Established in January 2015, The Ton was born out of a combination of one new crafter’s passion for card making, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.  Our stamp designs are inspired by haute couture fashion and modern decor.”

I am really excited to get my shipment of “Round Diamonds” and “Vintage Frames”!  Check them out, as they have some unique offerings!

That’s all for me this evening!  Head over to RIC for some inspiring paper and fabric art!  And if you are looking for other challenges, check out my links page in the menu header!

Have a fashionable week!

 

 

Craft Worthy Redux and Creative Challenges

This evening as we walked into the deserted streets of a quaint Seattle neighborhood, the sky lit up with fireworks and exploded with cheers from every bright highrise, home, and bar.  I imagined for a moment that they were all celebrating my entry into a new decade, and it made for a rousing end to a lovely day.  Of course, in reality, the swell of voices and flashes of fire followed the final moments of a Superbowl that seemed to rally an entire city, even the least likely of fans.

While it was frustrating to find store after store closed or closing early, and a favorite restaurant where we’d planned to have my birthday dinner shuttered for the game, it was hard not to get just a little caught up in the momentary excitement.  Perhaps it was the  energy of the 12th man (and woman and child) that emboldened the Seahawks.  It certainly seemed the Broncos never had a chance.  So the sun smiled on Seattle today, a good omen for the game, and more importantly, a good omen for my new year, I hope!

2014-02-02 11.21.50 (1)
On Alki Beach
2014-02-02 13.39.42
Low tide facing west; the kind of blue you want to dive into!

So in my previous post about the creative journey, I discussed the concept of letting a piece “get cold”. I really need to do this more with my work.  There is an urgency in the virtual world, or more so an urgency prompted in one’s self by the virtual world, that can get in the way of the creative process.

After I created this card, I kept looking at it and thinking something was missing…

2014-01-31 11.34.19

I decided the embroidery hoop was just too empty; it didn’t look or feel right.  So I took a deep breath and filled the circle!

2014-02-02 12.46.56

Better?  I think so.  And while I am being a bit hyperbolic about taking a deep breath (it’s not like I couldn’t distress ink another panel and re-stamp!), this is one aspect of working with visual media that has always scared me–the lack of control one has over a piece.  Painting, creating mixed media, there is always that possibility of going one step too far, setting down the ink or paint, or adding some element to a nearly finished product that could “ruin” the whole thing.  When I think back to art classes in my youth, I felt the same way–unsure about the next step, over-thinking or under-trusting my decisions.  And certainly there are those opposite moments where the happy accident occurs.

But it’s not the same with writing.  There is so much more control.  Put down a word, delete, leave it, write on, come back–no matter.  The written work is malleable.  And it is certainly much more comfortable if not necessarily easier for me to execute.  I will likely be back to tinker with this entry at some point…

So the discomfort and moments of wonderment (Oh, I could have done it that way?!) will continue to accompany me on this journey as a paper crafter.  And in all honesty, I am enjoying the challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I finalized one more card for the Purple challenge over at CASology.  I used the window screen technique a la Make-it-Monday for this card as well.  It is my homage to the month of May, lilacs, and Mother’s Day!

2014-02-02 12.40.16

The cover plate is from Lil’ Inkers.  I love this die.  The vine flourish is Spellbinders.  Lilacs and sentiment are from WPlus9 Fresh Florals, stamped with pigment inks.  The banner is from a great Spellbinders set of 4 ribbon banners.

2014-02-02 12.43.35

2014-02-02 12.40.58

The back was finished off with some washi– it looks more yellowed in the photograph, but it is closer in color to the green paper on the card’s front.

2014-02-02 12.41.33

And speaking of florals, I dropped into the exquisite Drygoods Design in Ballard today.  I adore this store; they have a wonderful selection of fabrics, cards, notions and the owner is just as nice as can be.  Look at these Liberty of London fabrics–I am still drooling over the red in the floral pattern on the right.

2014-02-02 14.27.33

The store is attached to Anchored Ship Coffee, a darling bright spot to sip in the western sun and think about fabric…

untitled
Photo by Leona Lane
l
Storefront. Photo by Yelp.
Facing upstairs to Drygood Designs.
Facing upstairs to Drygood Designs. Photo by Leona Lane

I couldn’t leave empty handed, of course!  So I bought this delightful fabric:

AF-7340-G_MED Large_0313090

It’s called “Cat’s Dream” by Andover Fabrics–notice the balloons?  Purrfect birthday fabric for a crazy cat lady, no?

Oh, and Andover Fabrics is the company responsible for the new line of Downton Abbey fabrics inspired by Lady Mary, Edith, Sybil, and the Dowager Countess!  Read all about it here!

Speaking of Downton, I am off to see if the latest episode is ready to watch online.

Keep calm and craft on you crazy cats…

A Window to the World of Purple

In my last post, I briefly explored the restorative powers of scent.  This week, the ladies over at CAS-ology have prompted me to think about the significance of color, in particular, purple.  It is the theme of their current challenge, and a color that doesn’t seem to be a terribly popular choice among card makers, based on some reactions I have read.  I, myself, own very little in the way of purple clothing or accessories, and up to this point only considered it once in my card making when I was creating an assortment of gumdrops (which can be seen here).  I needed to use a Crayola marker as I hadn’t thought to invest in Copics of purple shades!

Initially, I dismissed the challenge.  What could I say or would I want to say through purple?  Despite it being the color of my birth gem, amethyst, and birth flower, violet, I’ve never been drawn to or inspired by it, regardless of shade.  But over the last few days, my thoughts kept turning toward this regal hue.

Having just replayed seasons one and two and three of Downton Abbey while I was ill, images of ethereal lilac and lavender dresses flowed through my mind.  Unbeknownst to me before the series, Victorian and Edwardian ladies turned to soft purples for half-mourning clothes.  Purple was also one of the main colors employed by the Suffragettes in the Women’s Social and Political Union in England, standing for dignity; white and green were also featured in their flags, banners and other materials, symbolizing purity and hope, respectively.

tom-branson-and-lady-sybil-crawley-gallery
Note the “Votes for Women” sash and pins in purple, green and white. Sybil is also wearing some purple.
7060997345_35bb08645c_o
Welcoming the unsavory Duke to Downton; ladies are in transitional lavender mourning clothes for family lost on Titanic.
DA3_6_1
Again the lavender dresses are noted as ladies are in half-mourning for Sybil.
untitled
Lady Mary emerged from her black period, and mood, to a lighter purple, and more personable, one.

All of that reminded me of the annual Lilac Festival held in my hometown of Rochester, NY where more than 1,200 bushes of 500 varieties have bloomed and drawn visitors from all over since 1908.  I was prompted to pull out my WPlus9 Fresh Cut Florals set and start stamping lilacs for a card that is still in the works!

A 1910 photograph from The Stone Collection of the Rochester Museum & Science Center shows Highland Park, site of the annual Lilac Festival.

Maybe I was too quick to cast aside the color of 2014!

COY2014

So what came of all this contemplating?  Well, add a little bit of Make-it-Monday inspiration from Melissa Phillips, a dash of CASE Study # 176 and some Edwardian elegance and you get the following!

First up, Lavender Lovely.

2014-01-30 12.38.56

2014-01-30 12.41.19

Melissa Phillips’s window card had me really inspired; I created a few versions, some which are still works in progress, but will be featured soon.  CASE Study’s muse, Donna Mikasa, had me reaching for my Hero Arts Fancy floral lace die and re-visioning my approach to the window card.  The two challenges combined with purple for a match made in heaven!

2014-01-30 12.43.19

I was pretty faithful to Melissa’s tutorial, using tone-on-tone stamping with the Ruby Reprise stamps from PTI on my second layer.  However, I wanted my card to be much more clean and layered, so I did not add stamping or much embellishment on the top layer.  I really love how the cream base and top layer play against the lavender, lilac and purple hues.

2014-01-30 12.40.42

I popped my window out, but wish I’d had thicker foam squares, or more of them (I ran out of the large squares which are better for doubling up), to pop it out a bit more, as the die will cast a wonderful shadow against the background the further it sits off the paper.

2014-01-30 12.44.45

Next Up, Easter Wishes

2014-01-30 12.33.46

Purple is long associated with spirituality and piety, and one thing I love about this die is that it looks like a stained glass window in a church.  So playing off my original card, I inverted the colors, and simplified the card even more.  The sentiment is from PTI’s Mega Mixed Messages, which I stamped in lavender Color Box ink and heat embossed.

2014-01-30 12.35.52

2014-01-30 12.38.07

The card base is from a paper assortment my mom sent me, which I wondered if I would ever use!  Seems like it found just the right fit at last!

I would love to hear what you think about purple, Downton, or my cards!  Drop me line if you have the time.

And be sure to head over to CAS-ology, CASE Study and Make-it-Monday for colors and designs certain to please any palate!

Warning

Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.