No matter how you stack it…

Fall is awesome (once you get past the fact that summer has exited stage left).

Know what else is pretty cool?

The Heart Desires Challenge #5.

Check out this witty graphic!

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Reminds me of Brach’s candy peanuts.  Remember those?

Love the non-traditional take on Halloween, but I typically love most things that buck the trend.

Here’s my fairly literal take, up close and personal.

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I cut my pumpkins, keeping the pieces together with washi and then carefully stamped the sentiments, all from Kaisercraft, most deconstructed via stamp surgery so I could make my own sentiment.  The bottom one is from a Christmas set, available at The Heart Desires.

The real deal, full size, in all its glory.

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Pumpkin dies are from Carta Bella and Essentials by Ellen, cut from Crate Paper Bloom, available at The Heart Desires. Background paper is from Indigo Hills set.  Rose Gold Bazzill metallic paper provides the stem and edging.

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The black mini-leaves panel is stenciled and heat embossed. Love the Richard Garay Knit embossing folder.  See the challenge post for links to products at The Heart Desires.

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Inside finished with some coppery-rose washi that echoes the outside elements nicely.

And while you are there checking out the rest of our team’s inspiration, won’t  you play along this month?

We have a few new designers and lots of eye candy.  You have until 10/26 to show us what you got! So creep on over!

And creep it real, folks.

Good Spirits

I am an idealist with a healthy dose of realism.  We can be taken down by the disappointments of our daily lives and the dark forces within them, or the greater world, or we can confront these realities and counterbalance them with creativity and compassion.  My idealist nature has opened me up to not just a few tricksters throughout my life, and in recent years, I’ve experienced a not-so-healthy dose of disappointment.  It is easy, and human, to become discouraged, to want to disengage as a result.  And this reaction very well may be necessary for our own healing and growth.  Like a yoga instructor once said to me, “It’s important to open, but you have to close, too.” This was a really important revelation for me.

But then you need to find a way to open back up again–to trust, to forgiveness, to acceptance.  That is the hard task of living.  Cynicism, negativity, rigidity are much easier, but if prolonged, much deadlier states of being.  I know I have held on to people or incidents using them to stoke my anger, as proof of what a dismal business any relationship can be.  The reality is no matter how generous or kind you are to some people, no matter how authentically you try to conduct your life, you can’t necessarily expect reciprocation, and to expect as much, while only natural, can be a recipe for disappointment.  It also leads to a transactional view of the world or relationships (rather than a transformational one) which isn’t healthy or realistic in the long run.  What I’ve come to find, rather, is that often you will receive what you need when you need it, and it may be from an unexpected source, at an unexpected time.  Sometimes this source is within us, other times it is outside of us.  Reminding myself of this on a daily basis is one thing that helps me persevere in my personal and professional realms.  It also helps me recognize my own shortcomings and forgive myself when I haven’t directly acknowledged or repaid someone’s kind act.

And this weekend in particular gave me pause to reflect on all of this, not only because of the conversations and interactions I had, but also because I received an unexpected gift in the mail from a fellow paper crafter.  There are myriad reasons why anyone creates art–for me, one reason is to counteract the ugliness in the world, and sometimes in my mind.  It is the same reason why I, and many of us, retreat into nature.  Both remind me that the world is a beautiful place and we can have a hand in that beauty.  Becoming part of an international group of paper crafters and artists has contributed to that sense as well.

So I just wanted to publicly thank Jeanne of A Kept Life for her kind gesture.  Not only did she send me one of her gorgeous cards with a wonderful note, she included some Pretty Little Studio materials–and I love their work.  In case you don’t know Jeanne, she is on numerous design teams and has an amazing flair for color and pattern.  Her cards just pop out of the screen, and are even more delightful in real life.  Please pay her a visit!  These are just a few of my favorites of hers, seasonally appropriate! Click on image for more information.

I have been working, as usual, behind the scenes quite a bit on different pieces, but haven’t had much time to write and post the work.  I finalized this card last week, inspired by Fusion’s latest challenge.  There are some AMAZING entries (as usual) from the design team and players this week!  Go check them out!

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I integrated most of the imagery in the photo, including the branches and the mini candelabra, and manipulated the sketch a bit.

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The inside sentiment is from Waltzingmouse’s Halloween set released last  year. inside trick or treatAll of the ephemera is from an old American Crafts set; I die cut the clock (Crafter’s Companion), branch (Memory Box), and leaf sprig (Maggie Holmes).  The papers are old October Afternoon, and the base is one of my favorite cardstocks, “Fuse” by MFT.  I am not a big twine or ribbon user in my cards, but I do love the look of that moldable wax twine as a finishing touch sometimes.

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Click to enlarge.

I am also playing along with AAA Cards and a new-to-me challenge, Time Out (I made it over, Anita!!)

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Time Out Challenge

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In the next few days, as the moon becomes full and the veil thins, I hope your world will be full of good spirits, and if you encounter any ghouls, may you find the power to cast them off.  I plan to be back with some more Halloween fare before the week is out, but if not, enjoy this enchanted season and revel in the treats of Halloween night!

Skeleton Dance

CAS-ology Black Challenge

Happy Dios de los Muertos!

Can you believe Halloween is now a ghost floating behind us and thoughts (as well as advertisements and stores!) are turning toward the spirit of another season? Yesterday, I tried to make up for some lost time and embrace my favorite turn of the year, frosting Halloween cookies, carving a pumpkin, and finalizing a few paper creations for the bottleshop where my partner works (photos forthcoming!). Sadly, I entertained only a few trick-or-treaters as my pumpkin glowed into the night and I watched Halloween II while eating way too many mini snickers!

Today, as I look at all my Halloween stamps and papers that didn’t find their way onto a card this year, ideas continue to swirl like leaves, and I realize I am not quite ready for the transition from pumpkin patches and spiced cider to tree lots and mulled wine!

But Samhain is here and we are turning toward the darker days, so what is more perfect than an all black card to celebrate a skeleton dance and remember all the souls that have passed into another realm?

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When I first saw these Tim Holtz embossing folders, I knew I had to have them!

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For my card, I embossed some black-brown paper from Impress Stamps, but it just seemed so bland and I was having a hard time figuring out how to make it pop. I didn’t want to add layers, but rather keep the focus on the wonderful scene itself.

Then I recalled a technique I tried last month with some other embossed paper, and realized that was just what this card needed.

To achieve this glossy effect, I rubbed VersaMark Dazzle Ink Champagne pad all over the card, specifically the embossed portion.  After that, I covered with clear embossing powder and set with a heat gun.  I love the glossy, plastic feeling of the card when it is set.

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The sentiment inside and bats on the back are from Waltizingmouse Stamps “Halloween Party” set.  This is one set that I adore, but did not put to use as much as I would have liked!  I finished the card off with two strips of black glitter ribbon.

Clean and simple with a little sparkle and shine!

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For this final shot, I added my little tombstone and Bunnicula to the scene!  I realized that the Papertrey Ink holiday tag inset die looked like a tombstone, and so using my Victorine Originals skeleton, letters from MFT, Savvy grass die and Lawn Fawn bunny, I set up this prototype and hope to make more to incorporate into cards and tags for next year!  What do you think?

Well, the news is predicting our first wintery storm of the season with high winds, rain and cooling temperatures, and snow in the Cascades.  We shall see if their predictions are accurate!  Here is a poem to bid adieu to the season of the witch and celebrate black!

What is Black?

Black is the night
When there isn’t a star
And you can’t tell by looking
Where you are.
Black is a pail of paving tar.
Black is jet
And things you’d like to forget.
Black is a smokestack
Black is a cat,
A leopard, a raven,
A high silk hat.
The sound of black is
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
Echoing in
An empty room.
Black is kind-
It covers up
The run-down street,
The broken cup.
Black is charcoal
and patio grill,
The soot spots on the window sill.
Black is a feeling
Hard to explain
Like suffering but
Without the pain.
Black is licorice
And patent leather shoes
Black is the print
In the news.
Black is beauty
In its deepest form,
The darkest cloud
In a thunderstorm.
Think of what starlight
And lamplight would lack
Diamonds and fireflies
If they couldn’t lean against
Black…
     ~ Mary O’Neill
Dance your bones over to CAS-ology for some great takes on this week’s challenge!
Thanks for stopping by Pinned & Penned!

Witch in the Foggy Woods

Simon Says Stamp Challenge: Halloween Pt. Deux

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

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Well, at the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I think I just figured out how to best upload my photos from my camera so that they are large and visible!  I am sure there has to be an easier way than my convoluted process, but with this post, I think I have figured an improvement for now!  (Where is Santa and that digital camera?)

So this past week in Seattle we were surrounded by a thick fog rolling off the Sound, perfect for these darkening days of autumn.  Through a complete accident of experimentation, I was able to capture the kind of foggy, gauzy moonlight that sifts through a thick forest on an October evening when the moon is full.  Using my Crafter’s Workshop birch stencil and some Unicorn White with a foam applicator, I brushed the ink on Amuse Studio’s Slate paper.  Because I have made a window with American Crafts Crate Paper Photo Overlays, the effect has been muted, but I love that I was finally able to find a use for these overlays.
The sequins and stars are from American Crafts as well.

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Waltzingmouse Stamps has provided this haunting, finger-wagging witch & the sentiment is another fabulous Memory Box creation.  I love how Memento’s Tuxedo black ink represents on this slate paper!

All dies are from Spellbinders.

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I will leave you with a fine poem befitting the week and my little corner of the world!

Fog, by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
May something wooly and wonderful embrace you this week!
Head over to Simon Says Stamp for some inspiration!

CAS-ology Country Challenge

Retro Halloween Harvest

 

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I have been wanting to use this stamp for awhile; this little happy farmer is actually headed to an egg hunt with a wagon full of Easter goodies, but I masked them so he could serve my current purpose!  The Jack-o-Lantern is from Waltzingmouse‘s “Halloween Party” set, which is so delightful. The witch from this collection will make an appearance in my next post!

I wasn’t really where I was going to take this card (true of most creations, since I have trouble visualizing until I can get my hands on the elements–kinesthetic learner!); Mojo Monday’s latest sketch was on my mind.

As I explored colors and textures, I realized that I was heading back about 40 years to a kitchen far, far away!  The Lifestyle Crafts embossing folder, Woven, really helped me bring it all together.  The bottom embellishment was fashioned from my Spellbinders pennant die.  Signature washi tape on the back is from American Crafts.  I just love the woodgrain!  Now that recalls a bedroom far, far away when I was about four, living in a ghostly little Rhode Island town with my imaginary friend!

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Get thee to a pumpkin patch soon, for the spirit night is upon us!

And don’t forget to check out other interpretations of “Country” over at CAS-ology!

Happy Harvesting!

Witchy Woman

Simon Says Stamp Halloween Challenge

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Ooh, ooh, she’s got stars in her eyes and all across the sky as she rides this October night!  I just love this October Afternoon paper & the little lady whose silhouette reminds me of Samantha on Bewitched!

I layered several papers from the collection,  used one of the papers as my background, and brought back my Lifestyle Crafts cauldron.   Bubbly embellishments are from American Crafts.

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I love this Memory Box stamp which came with a little coordinating bubbling potion bottle.

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Check out all the other spooky greetings & great products at Simon Says Stamp!

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

Bewitching Brew Tags

Something Spooky is Brewing!

My partner is a beer brewer, cider slinger & soon to be cicerone at a local bottle shop and bar here in Seattle.  So I have quite a few beer & wine inspired ideas that are a-brewing and spilling over in my mind!  Now I just need to hop to it and execute them all!
Here are the first in what will be a series!

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It’s tag mania here at Pinned & Penned!  These actually have been completed for a couple months now, but I am just getting around to photographing and uploading.  They were pretty labor intensive to make, as they are multiple layers, with a mid-layer of corrugated paper to make them nice and durable!  But I love how they turned out with a combination of fun paper layering, framing, stamping and embellishing!

The wine bottle die is from My Favorite Things and our little snake oil man here is popping out of a Lifestyle Crafts cauldron die.  Don’t you just love both?

All papers are from last year’s October Afternoon release.
My sayings were composed using a variety of fonts and printed on cardstock.

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For this tag, I initially used my Crafter’s Workshop birch tree stencil with Distress ink.  Then I stamped one of my favorite skeleton images (from Victorine Originals).
Poor guy!  He’s been holding on, empty-handed, so long for just a drop of liquid hops!

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These are smaller versions that can accompany a six-pack!  He is still thirsty, yet that glass is so close!

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Thanks for viewing!  I would love to hear your feedback and connect with you!

Happy drinking, tricking, treating and haunting!

P.S. Let me know if you would like any advice on pairing beer with your seasonal dishes!

Crisp & Clean Challenge

CAS-ology Crisp Contest

imageHere is my little critter entry for this week’s challenge over at CAS-ology!

CAS-ology has such a great quote on their website, I just have to repost:
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”  Charles Mingus

This is so true in music, graphic design, or writing!  I gravitate toward CAS style in art, poetry and fiction (think any Hemingway or McCarthy’s The Road)–I just love a line or image that is so clean it cuts like glass.  I tell my students continuously to cut the fat in their writing, but such refinement takes a lot of practice.  Being highly verbal myself, I tend to overwrite, which is likely why I am pulled to my opposite!  So this challenge was a good one for me!

I continue to work on developing my Copic coloring skills.  Blending is not as easy as it looks!  I am continuously impressed by all the great coloring I have seen out there, notably the ladies over at Flourishes, Kay Miller, and Sandy Allnock, all of whom have inspired me.
Sandy has a good video on coloring white polar bears here!

The trick is having enough colors in your family, so it is a matter of investing to slowly build the collection.  I have some reds, greens, blues, cool grays and earth tones so far, as well as a colorless blender which I can’t seem to get the hang of using just yet!

For my little Lawn Fawn Bunnicula, I used Memento Tuxedo black, and Copics C00, C02, C04, E40, E44 (two colors I just love), E47, and R01.  I used G02 and G05 for the carrots, along with an undercoat of E0000 and R01 to lighten the Tombow orange 946.
The moon is shaded with B0000, B01, BG05, and the stars are Marvy Le Plume II no. 68.

The pumpkin and graphite paper is from Amuse Studio, here in Seattle.  I used Neenah Solar White for the images.  I always like to add a strip of coordinating washi tape to the back of my cards, and this particular one is from American Crafts.

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There are many wonderful CAS creations entered over at CAS-ology, so be sure to stop by for some inspiration in keeping it simple!

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment, suggestion, or tips on Copic coloring!