Christmas in the Country

Two consecutive holiday posts?  Well, I could use a little Christmas, right this very minute!

They happen to be bookends to a less than festive week spent in a migraine’s grip.  I nearly made it through this very busy summer without one, and then with one work week to go before some much needed time off, I was knocked off my feet, literally.

I’ve written a bit about my experience as a migraineur.  Being in the thick of it is always surreal; I struggle with a constricted, pulsating brain, have difficulty processing and using language, and my sense of time (which is never good anyway) completely distorts.

When I recover, the entry into the “real” world often seems just as surreal.  Today, I felt the most normal, and yet paradoxically the most alien.  After a migraine, everything around me always seems so new and hyper-real.  We headed to a favorite haunt (and in my opinion one of the top three bakeries in Seattle), Columbia City Bakery, strolled around the neighborhood feeling the hint of cool fall air, and made it to Impress Cards and Crafts for their Paperpalooza where I scored some sweet 12×12 for 25 cents a sheet!  Itching to make some fancy envelopes!

It was good to get out.  It was also good to productively create a bit yesterday and today.  Though I feel like the summer simply melted away, there is a stirring of excitement within for the coming fall.  The sweet Halloween and holiday cards at Impress urged me on.

Now, I’ve four cards queued up and ready to post, so without further ado, let the festivities begin!

This card was inspired by the current sketch and image over at Fusion, as well as Festive Friday’s image.  It’s old country (Christmas) charm indeed.

I worked from the crimson and cream background colors, the rustic paint on the door, and background designs, as well as the sketch at Fusion.  I pulled the wreath and black and cream of the sign from Festive Friday.

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When I had completed this card, it made me think of the interior of a fabulous boutique in the neighborhood of Ballard, Horseshoe.  It’s rustic, full of clothes I can’t afford, gorgeous jewelry, and lots of cowboy boots.  I always love passing through, even if I have to leave empty handed!

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So I’ve combined product from many different companies for this production!

A couple notable elements are the garland, a deconstructed laurel from the Spellbinders Laurel and Bee set; also, you will note that I have embossed my Lifestyle Crafts reindeer to add some interest and texture.  I used Versafine Champagne embossing pad, Superfine clear powder, and a background stamp from Hero Arts.

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Close up of the embossing.  I’ve layered my die cuts to give them some heft.

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The flowers are classic Prima, as is the wood frame; the banner was cut from some grungy, antiqued paper, and stamped with a sentiment from Amuse Studio.

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As always, I’ve finished off the inside and back with My Mind’s Eye Market Street washi.

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Here’s a selection of the products used.

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Other products used:

Amuse Studio Wasabi paper
Mama Elephant Femme Frames
Gold glitter glue
POW Gold paper
Gina K Ivory Base Weight paper

Last Look

I always love how a design and/or color can completely change the whole experience of another color/design.  I placed the card atop some off-white paper and it feels so different!

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That’s it for me this evening!  Check back tomorrow for more creations.  And make sure to stop over to Fusion and Festive Friday.

If you are in the States, enjoy the last day of our holiday weekend.  Wherever in the world you are, I hope Monday finds you feeling fine and inspired!

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Into the Deep

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Hello everyone!  It’s well into Thursday for some of you, and that means it’s time for another week of inspiration over at CASE Study!

I have been itching to sit down and write this post, but I have been knee-deep in work, so I didn’t get to it in time for the strike-of-midnight reveal over at CASE.

We are back with another very cool card by Joni Andaya.  This week is a move in the more modern, trendy direction.

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The minute I saw this card, back in Februrary, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, inspired not only by Joni’s technique, but also the gorgeous mercurial blue hues of the Puget Sound that lap pretty much at my back door.

I have always been drawn to bodies of water, so I am incredibly lucky to live steps from the beach.  I love watching how the Sound changes not only daily, but hourly in its depth and color.  I wanted to capture one of my favorite blues in this card.

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What I love about Joni’s card is how she created that wonderful focal point where the colors lighten in the center.  First thought–its like what you see when you are swimming deep, and begin to come up toward the light.

So working from the margins toward the center of the watercolor paper, first with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink, and blending back, adding Tumbled Glass and Salty Ocean Distress Stains on the outer edges, I tried to create that effect.  Because I used a combination of the Distress Ink and Stains, which are liquid, I decided to use watercolor paper.  Most techniques blend with the ink pads only; I wanted to experiment a bit using both the ink and the liquid stains on my application sponges.

After blending my blues, I tapped water with a brush along the card.  Then I spritzed Heidi Swapp’s Color Shine in white and Mr Huey’s Shine mist to give it a pearlescent effect, which you can really see in the photo below.

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In keeping with the sea theme, I wanted to create a lot of slippery and rough textures.

For the heart and arrow, both die cut from the Lil’ Inkers set, Of the Heart, I blended alcohol inks in Watermelon and Sunset Orange onto Ranger Gloss Finish Paper.  I have been playing around with my alcohol inks quite a bit and will reveal some of them soon!

Using some of the Melissa Frances Glass Glitter in Deep Pink, which is wonderfully chunky, I adhered this with Glossy Accents onto my arrow, creating some gorgeous deep sea coral!

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Now for those letters!  You likely recognize them from Mama Elephant; they have appeared on a few of my cards lately.  I initially cut the negatives in my paper; then I die cut multiple letters in black cardstock, adhering 4 layers of letters.

I covered with Glossy Accents, and when dry adhered below my panel so they are just about surfacing atop the blue.  I used some gorgeous turquoise Bazzill paper for my layer underneath the panel, leaving some of it peeking out from the bottom, to play on the variant blues and add some interest and additional depth.

My little nest of silver thread was a final touch on the front, which echoes for me fishing line and the silvery streams of fish that shimmer by when you are swimming or snorkeling.  A bit of Crate Paper’s DIY Shop adhesive paper finishes off the back and inside.  The grey stripe really seemed to add an important element to this card; can’t explain it–it just worked!!

I have a few other cards with this distressing technique waiting in the wings.  So be sure to check back soon for those!

May your day go swimmingly and may you find yourself deep in delight.  If you head over to CASE Study right now to see what the rest of the design team conjured, you no doubt will!

Here are direct links to each fabulous designer if you want to blog hop!

Chupa
Amy Wanford
(Amy’s not playing this week 😦 , but get over to her blog anyway for amazing creations!)
Clare Buswell
Debby Hughes

Jeanne Jachna

Maureen Merritt

Silke Ledlow

Tasnim Ahmed

March Guest Designers: 

Sarah Gough