Putting on the Glitz

Well, happy new year and happy February everyone!  I hope the first month of 2016 has been inspired and fulfilling so far!  For me, it has been a merry-go-round of catch up after a demanding December.  I had planned to use my holiday break from teaching to finish some home-related projects and creative pursuits, but ended up derailed.  The last few weeks, though, I have enjoyed a burst of creative energy, using my spare moments to put together copious thank you’s, birthday cards, a gift set, and some holiday cards for next Christmas!

A few of those cards were inspired by Fusion’s 2nd anniversary photo and sketch, but I missed the deadline! Boo!  Those will be featured soon in my portfolio pages.  So today I have a few cards developed for the current Fusion theme and inspired by a selection of digital papers from The Lilypad.

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My first card used the sketch and neutrals, emphasizing the black and white in the wreath, and adding some glitzy crimson, that is definitely not neutral!

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The black and white papers are from The Lilypad’s new collection, “Cheeky,” by Valerie Wibbens.  I cannot get enough of the brushstroke paper which has been layered beneath Jen Hadfield’s gold bark cardstock.  Oh my gosh, this paper!  I love all the papers she puts out– her gold cardstocks are the best!  This paper just took my breath away.  I cut the piece from Lawn Fawn’s journaling card and then used the My Favorite Things circle die to cut out the side.

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I love texture, and the pictured wreath is quite textured, so I worked in some PTI embossed paper for the banner die, swiss dot paper for the Savvy Stamps  woodland branch, and cherry veneer paper for the Savvy Stamps pinecone.  The “thanks” sentiment is from the popular PTI wet paint series cut from Jen Hadfield’s texturized gold paper, which is somewhat noticeable in the photo.  Penny black provides the poinsettia die.

You can get a sense of the sparkle in the gold bark paper in the photo above.  It is so lovely.

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The inside is finished off with some kraft and gold striped washi.  I plan to write out a greeting in gold pen.

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Lots of woodgrain to play off the background in the inspiration photo.  Again, the grey wood paper is from The Lilypad collection.  I have also used Essentials by Ellen 110# woodgrain paper for the base.

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All dies are from Savvy Stamps: DIY Wreath, Woodland Branch and Pinecone.  The sentiment is from The Ton stamps.

Keeping with the theme, I created some other glitzy, rich, holiday thank you cards, and a valentine, all of which I will post separately in my portfolio!  But here are some images.

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Head to my portfolio pages, link found in the menu or on the home page, to see the rest of the collection.  You can also see additional photos and new work on my Instagram and Flickr accounts, linked at the bottom of this page.

On my way out, I want to dedicate these cards to all the awesome crafters who participated in Taheerah’s Advent Calendar hop.  The turn out was phenomenal, and so many amazing people, many of whom are new to me, stopped by this site, left lovely comments, and even decided to follow.  I appreciate everyone and wish I could have contacted each of you personally– the response was truly overwhelming!  So thank you!

Drop by the Fusion page to follow the inspiration. It’s one of my favorite challenges out there!

And tune into to see if the groundhog sees his shadow… will there be 6 more weeks of winter?  I love sharing my birthday with the furry critter, and either way, I’m harboring a sense of spring inside.  Stop by again soon for some cards that reflect the coming season!

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Color Pop!

Because I’m Happy!

Anyone catch the Grammy’s last night?  I haven’t watched the show since the 90’s and am not convinced of its relevancy anymore. From a quick online review of the evening, it seems to have been fraught some odd antics and questionable costumes; anything to get the media machine moving, I suppose.  At any rate, Pharrell received an award well-deserved for his song Happy and tonight I’ve got a trio of happy cards for you!

They found their inspiration in a few different places, including this premature spring-like weather.  The hot-pink Camellia flowers are popping from their dark green leaves; crocuses sprouted in January; and despite the pineapple express bringing a week of rain to the PNW, it’s been balmy and mostly sunny these last three weeks.  I’ve spotted numerous newly-built nests high in the leafless trees, the cats are acting a bit more frenzied, and crowds have been flocking to the beach, so it’s safe to say Seattle is experiencing some spring fever.  I’m more than ready!   I spent most of the weekend tearing the house apart, cleaning, organizing and recycling.  Clearing physical space does wonders for the clarity of one’s mental space; I’m already feeling more motivated and productive!

The other inspiration for my cards came from Taheerah’s challenge photo from a few week’s ago.  I couldn’t find the time to complete them and play along, but here is the inspiration image.

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Lastly, my card ideas had me thinking about the 1960’s fashion designer, Mary Quant. My parents traveled to London in 1988 and brought back some Mary Quant make-up–a fluorescent pink and white eyeshadow duo, cotton-candy lipstick, and matching nail polish, all packaged in the signature black and white containers, as well as her book Color by Quant.  The Top Dog Dies flowers reminded me of her logo and the enamel flowered jewelry of the 60’s.

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So my brain, teeming with all this bold color and black and white, came up with these!

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I should mention that the card in the foreground was inspired by the sketch over at Fusion— a pretty literal interpretation!  I wanted to use my new My Favorite Things circle die cut; with the Top Dog Dies flowers and the PTI Happy banner, it was a perfect match!  Talk about a fusion of ideas in this trio!

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I love all the texture from the different papers to the stitching and floral details.  It certainly is a happy card!

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Next up is the other birthday card, with a patterned paper inside a la Kelly at Notable Nest!

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Again, I am featuring the MFT stitched circle dies as the focal point.  Check out the Pebbles enamel dots! They are huge and delicious!

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Finally, the card features a sentiment from PTI and an Avery Elle rectangle die.

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Last up, the loudest card of them all!

There are quite a few flower dies on the market, but I really adore these Pretty Petals.  They had been on my wish list for awhile.  I love the dimension you can achieve with their layering.

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I had so much fun cutting out the 6 different sizes from various shades of cardstock and just playing around with layering.  You may be seeing quite a few of these flowers in upcoming cards!

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The PTI Wet Paint sentiment was cut from white foam for some dimension and texture.

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As part of this gift set (all three cards are going to  one family, along with the little gift bag), I die cut Lawn Fawn’s goodie bag while crafting with my friends last weekend.  I think I really may need to get this die.  It is a perfect size, and I love the detailing.

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Well, that’s it for me this evening.  I hope I brightened up your day, or night!  Head over to Fusion and Cure for the Monday Blues, two of my favorite places for inspiration!

Have a colorful week!

Lucky & Charmed

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I don’t know about you, but I ate a lot of Lucky Charms cereal as a kid.  Never a big fan of milk, I typically preferred dry cereal and have consumed my fair share as breakfast or snack through the years. Favorites were always Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles (the only one I truly loved with milk, since it was chocolate by the end of the bowl!).  I particularly loved those little single serving boxes you could by in an 8-pack.

As for the Leprechaun variety, I loved to eat those sugary little oat and marshmallow charms one by one out of the bowl or box.  Now, my teeth hurt even thinking about it.  But those cereals of the 80’s sure were fun.

So, as I was thinking about St. Patrick’s Day (which for me is one of those holidays that just slides by, barely registering in my peripheral vision), and what an unlucky day it turned out to be (maybe I should have worn green and thought better of ol’ St. Pat), I figured focusing on something positive and creative might turn the woeful Monday it was around!

And thus, I came up with this delicious little love note!

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In the version above, I adhered a grommet to the (3-leaf!) clover and slipped it onto the baker’s twine.

In another version, I attached the clover to the front of the pocket, as in pictures below.

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So how did it all come together?

Well, I’ve had the Avery Elle Love Notes Die set for months now, just sitting there lonely as a cloud, so it was time to put that to use.  The Penny Black sentiment from Kind Words was not only obviously ideal for St. Pat’s Day, but it fit perfectly within the width and length of the pocket/tag.  LUCKY indeed.

I purchased the Lifestyle Crafts St. Patrick’s Day die (2009) ages ago on clearance at Impress.  I loved the horseshoe and clovers large and small, of course, but the set also has a beer glass and little foam topper die, which are ideal for making my beer-related cards and tags.  So despite my lack of interest in the holiday, the die set was a must-have!

Since I was lucky a few months back and won a $25 gift certificate to PTI, I finally put that to use, and among other treasures, just received their glorious vellum cardstock and that adorable Framed Out Heart die.

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Now I did a little research into the Lucky Charms, as I wanted my charms to be as authentic and colorful as possible!  So a little history: Lucky Charms debuted in 1963, and Lucky the Leprechaun was born in 1964 (Happy 50th birthday cavity-causer!!!). Initially, the cereal only included green clovers, pink hearts, orange stars, and yellow moons (totally trippy!); in 1975, they added the blue diamonds, and in 1983 purple horseshoes.  As with anything, the cereal has seen a lot of changes over the last 30 years.  Many of the original charms have been gone through phases of combining, replacement, and reinstating.  The pink hearts are the only charm to have endured.  How sweet.

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Want to learn more?  Click the picture above for a magical ride to General Mills!

How did I get my little moons, and heart, and diamonds, and stars??

Well, the diamonds are a pretty awesome discovery.  See this amazing Simon Says Stamp Mod-Window Die?

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Well, those little shapes are just perfect for many uses, like my blue diamonds!

The moon is cut from an ANCIENT punch that just about broke my hand; I have had that punch and all my celestial-themed stamps since the early 90’s when I loved everything sun and moon.

The little hearts and stars are die cut from Lawn Fawn’s die set “A Birdie Told Me” and Stitched Journaling Card.

*Lawn Fawn A BIRDIE TOLD ME Lawn Cuts Dies Lawn Cuts Dies, Stitched Journaling Card

The paper colors and textures are just good enough to eat, right?  Bazzill!  I can’t get enough of that green.  Since I was using Vellum for the front of my pocket, I decided to finish the edges with washi, as gluing with vellum is tricky, and the vellum is thick, so I wanted to make sure my pocket stayed together!!

There it is!  Let’s have one more look, just for luck!  Ahh, the sweet pink heart remains!

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Well, this little love note made it into the hands of my love and he was charmed indeed.
I hope you found some love and luck this St. Patty’s Day!  Make sure to stop by here tomorrow, Thursday, for the new CASE Study reveal!  Week 3 is going to be magically delicious!

Make You Jump!

I am loving all the word inspiration that Cas-ology is throwing our way lately.  So much fun!  This week’s word was Jump.  So I hopped to it inspiration-wise, but after sketching and prepping my designs, the cards had to wait until today to be executed.

And of course, when it came down to it, they took me longer than planned, and found me dithering quite a bit–I am moderately happy, though, with this first cheeky card that resulted.

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I wanted very badly for Catman’s cape to look a bit more authentic with an insignia and more fluidity, but I was struggling with paper choices and getting it just right; none of my die letters or stamps looked right–but as I write this, I just realized I didn’t try my sparkly Thickers.  Hmmm….I will have to try that out and update if it’s a success.

Well, anyway, I finally settled on the stripe, which ended up altering the entire color scheme from a primary, bright palate to a muted one–hence, Catman’s Robin turned into a bluebird!

So, now he kind of looks like he’s wearing a cut-up pillow case or sheet.  And, who knows, since he’s Catman, maybe he is.  He’s the superhero of the house, keeping the kittens in line, listening to his wise bird friends outside.  You know, being a super-cat on the inside!

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So here is the cool thing about the cape, though.  I used the Curious Cat die from Memory Box to cut both my cat, his white paws/chest, and his cape.  Double-timing tools!   I fussy-cut the body into a flowing cape that would fit him perfectly.

Then, using PTI’s Stitching dies, I die cut the holes so they would be nice and neat and laced through the twine.

Now let’s talk about these kittens!!

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Could they be any cuter?  Memory Box again.  They are brand-new.  And so adorable.  The minute I saw them, I knew I HAD to have them.  I have tried to give them and Catman additional movement by lifting their heads and tails a bit.

Now, folks, there is one little snafu on this card.  Can you find it?  If not, good.  If so, well, concentrate on those darn kittens instead!!  I didn’t have time to execute the background a THIRD time.  At least nothing is misspelled.

There were quite a few supplies used to make this little scene.  I have already named a few.  The rest are as follows:  PTI’s Birthday Style Balloon die; Memory Box swirl stamp; Lawn Fawn Milo’s alphabet, and little bird from A Birdie Told Me set; papers from Basic Grey Persimmon pack, Bazzill & Neenah Solar White; Fruit Punch Stickles; Brilliance black ink.

Okay, one last look!

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Next UP!

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I played on my Thick and Thin card a bit for this one.  Mama Elephant provided the In-Line die letters.  I was very much trying to keep this CAS with pops of color.

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Do you remember the song by House of Pain?  1992?  My freshman year of college–and it was THE song playing at all the dance places and bars.  What a memory: backwards-cap wearing jocks jumping around like fools with plastic cups of beer in hand, sloshing (them and the beer) all around the dance floor.  Funny what the mind hangs onto, isn’t it?!  Now that I have dated myself, let’s turn to the inside of the card!

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And the back is finished off with some fun wide washi!

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And that’s all for me!  With a hop, skip and a jump, I am outta here!  A little something called work is calling on this dreary Seattle evening, and Monday morning already feels more blue than last week… I know it will be just as busy if not more.  But all work, and no play makes Jill a very dull girl, right?

Hope you had a great weekend and head over to CAS-ology to see what kind of leaping those lizards are up to!

 

 

Ampersand Inspiration Night & Day

Happy Sunday, everyone!  We were caught in a winter wonderland last night–first snow of the season for urban Seattle.  It continued well into the evening and we woke to about 2 1/2 inches.  Already as I write this, though, the mounds atop evergreen bushes and the eucalyptus are liquefying and sliding away in long streaks.

Since it is rare to see snow here, I always have fun heading out and crunching around.  People must have been busy last night and early today, as there was a parade of snowmen large and small up and down the beach!  It was delightful to see. I caught this guy taking in the Puget Sound with wide arms just before my phone battery gave out.

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We continued on to a favorite coffeeshop that opened this summer on the beach, and it’s name is Ampersand!  They make a delicious assortment of baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and coffee, a special Hawaiian blend from Seven Roasters here in Seattle. Their egg, cheese, and bacon (or house-cured ham) on a homemade biscuit is one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve had anywhere.  They have those flakey, buttery biscuits down!  If you live in the Seattle area, or are visiting from afar, be sure to come down to the beach and check them out!

Well, speaking of checking things out, shall we move on to my latest creations inspired by the current challenge at CASology?

Associations!

I have been busy this week being inspired by the challenge!  My partner and I have had fun coming up with all kinds of “and” sayings and ideas for cards.

Here are few that made it into my sketch book with corresponding graphic ideas but didn’t make it into card form just yet!

The long and short of it…
Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress): accompanied by books on a shelf from this awesome set!

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or this set that I own:

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Time and again: accompanied by my Deep Red Stamps Roman clock face
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Over and Out: with a walkie talkie!
Sweet and Sour: perfect for Valentines with some gummy worms, or Sour Patch Kids!
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!
Sick and Tired
–with some get well stamps from Lawn Fawn or Paper Smooches sets
Reverse Confetti’s Set: Go Together

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And since it is Seattle, Cats & Dogs!

Ah, if there were only world enough AND time to make each one of these ideas manifest!

I guess you could say I have been thinking night and day on the subject!

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I have been working really hard to come up with very clean and simple designs.  So the challenge has been a good one for me to experiment with white space, negative space, bold colors, and graphic-forward designs.  I have found the Lawn Fawn Milo’s Alphabet and Mama Elephant alphabet dies to be perfect for the look I am intending.

Check out my following post for more music and arts inspired AND creations….

And now I will leave you with a lovely little accompaniment for Valentine’s Day, Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”…

A Clean Slate, or Just a Whole Lotta Dust?

Well, we are already one week into the New Year and the Universe keeps picking up my chalk and writing all over my clean slate!  I know, to quote U2, that “nothing really changes on New Years day,” but is it too much to ask that the illusion linger a little longer?  If this first week is any indication, 2014 may demand a much bigger eraser and a whole lotta strong-arming.  But if that’s how it’s going to be, well then, bring it on; I’m ready for the challenge.

And speaking of challenges, what do we have here?

Okay, Paper Players, I’m game, though I have to admit, this is one technique that definitely challenges me!  Initial attempts have left me fairly frustrated.  My renditions don’t look shabby-chic or imperfectly perfect; they just look like a big old mess!

And then I watched Betsy Veldman’s tutorial on chalkboard technique, which you can find here.   I stumbled across it last week, while checking out Papertrey Ink’s Make-It Monday year in review. Betsy’s work is absolutely charming, and her Paper* Scissors* Superheroes is one site I visit on a weekly basis.

So after watching her video a few times, this is what I came up with:

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A bit chalky, eh?  It being my first attempt using Betsy’s technique, there is much room for improvement.  However, the other elements of the card work, and I will likely create a new chalkboard sentiment to adhere if I plan to send this to anyone!

So a few details about how I used the chalkboard technique.

First, I actually used “chalkstock” paper, as opposed to regular cardstock.  This paper has a waxy finish and can be very forgiving, since you can add water and erase any pigment ink or stray chalk you don’t want.

This is the brand of chalkboard paper I used, purchased at Impress Stamps in Seattle.

Chalkboard Postcards

Second, instead of just stamping the sentiment in white pigment ink (I tried both Cat’s Eye Chalk Ink and Unicorn White; I prefer the Cat’s Eye Chalk Ink), I first stamped and then heat embossed with detail fine white embossing powder.  Becky recommended doing this.

After that, I stamped the sentiment again, over the original, just a little off center, as Becky showed.  This took a few tries, and since I was using this special chalkstock, I was able to wet and wipe.  However, I learned that too much wiping away will eventually change the character of the paper a bit and make removal of the ink harder each time.  A bit like an old chalkboard, though!!

In the photos below, you can see some of the detailing and resurfacing.

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I edged the chalkstock with the chalk ink and when I was done smudging and edging, I heat set my board, which was cut using Papertrey Ink’s tag die.

I just opened a few new goodies, including my Paper Smooches Borders 2 die, and so I thought that would perfectly compliment the school theme of the papers and Lawn Fawn’s notecard die.  The ribbon was repurposed from the handles on an Anthropologie bag!

The quatrefoil embossing folder from Lifestyle Crafts reminds me of a chainlink fence around the playground, so I thought that would work as a background texture.  The Kraft paper is heavy weight from Gina K.

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The inside of the card features my Graphic 45 buttons; the larger one is a clock and the smaller a dictionary entry for the word “unique” & “timeless”.

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My signature washi tape adorns the back; I just love teal with red and yellow.  Looks like I need to update my tags, though!  Hello 2014!

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That’s it for today!  I am wishing you all happiness in your creative endeavors.  Thanks, Becky, for your awesome tutorial and to the artists over at Paper Players for pushing me to finally attempt this technique!  Head on over and see what others have done with their tabula rasas!

Thank You for Being So Cool!

Well, hello again!  I am sliding in with my little friend for one more post this evening before I settle in for a short winter’s nap!  Today’s first post can be found here.

As with my earlier post, this little card is also based on the current CAS(E) sketch:

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This wonderful Lawn Fawn sledding bunny made another appearance earlier this winter here in one of my favorite cards of the season.  I am not sure this tops it, but I *was* sure excited to use my new Papertrey Ink Movers and Shakers die to get him moving up and down the hills!

Once you slide him along the path, the sentiment is revealed:

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So stinking cute, isn’t it?  I made this card with a specific student and her family in mind and I am so excited to give it to them as a thank you for their Christmas present!

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All stamps here are from Lawn Fawn; the bunny is colored with Copics; I used Brilliance Inks in blue, silver & red, Flower Soft, and Stickles.  The amazing snowy hill is actually cut from a sheet of wrapping paper I found at our local Northwest Art and Frame store.  $8 for a sheet of wrapping paper– YIKES!  But it is so worth it– gorgeous texture, sheen, weight–and it should last awhile and come in handy for a variety of cards.

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We have no snow here in our damp, coastal clime–has a blizzard caught you in your tracks, yet?  If so, I hope you are warm, safe and maybe enjoying some wintery wonderland adventures!

And if you are stuck inside with many feet of snow impeding travel (or even if you’re not!!), head over to CAS(E) and spend some time hopping around the inspiring blogs linked up there!

Check back tomorrow for more of my thank you cards!

And thank you for dropping by!

 

More Sweetness!

Lawn Fawn CHA 2014 Catalogue Challenge!

Here are my next two creations for the catalogue!

First up, Sweet Swinging Gingerbread Kids!

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I wanted to create something with the gingerbreads, house, and candies from the Sweet Christmas set, but setting a scene wasn’t really coming together.  I am not really sure how this card came about–it was one of those that seemed to make itself!

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I stamped eight gingerbread kids on Gina K. heavy weight kraft paper with Unicorn White ink, then embossed with fine white powder.  Next, I adhered them, back-to-back, running the baker’s twine through them.  I stamped the house and sweet embellishments with Versamark Dazzle, covered with sticky embossing powder and then Stampendous white glitter.  I really loved the CAS nature of the front!

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The inside came about as a complete surprise.  I had hand-cut a similar banner for another card, and wanted a bit of an interesting inside, since the front was so simple.  So I echoed the kraft color on the front, stamped and embossed the sentiment, and adhered with white, glittery brads.  What I didn’t realize, though, was that the Ghiridhelli chocolate would fit perfectly inside the banner!  Talk about sweet!!

To cover up the backs of the brads, I ran some washi tape over the middle of the card’s back.

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Last up, Critters in Holiday Squares!

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So, this was actually the first card I made for the challenge, and it took the longest.  I had been thinking about the concept for awhile, inspired by the Brady Bunch and Hollywood Squares!  I wanted to feature the little critters in their own frames, but have them looking at and talking to each other, using the sentiments from the Critters in the Snow set.

My initial visualization didn’t quite manifest for this card, as I was also trying to complete this for the CASE Study challenge, based on Keisha’s sketch:

I didn’t make it in time to play along with them at CASE Study, but this card finally came together!

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So how did it all happen?  Well, I first measured and die cut the circles on a 4.5 x 4.5″ card.  Then I stamped and Copic-colored the critters first, and fussy cut them.  You can see that I embellished Rudolph a bit, with a Glossy Accents nose and glittery-embossed antlers.

My original intention was to have them stamped right on the backing paper, with only the penguin popping out of his frame, but that version wasn’t satisfying me.  I had placed some fabulous turquoise snowflake paper behind the critters and loved the effect, but we couldn’t use any patterned paper!  What was I to do?

Well, I cut a square backing paper, sponged turquoise pigment ink from Cat’s Eye over it, and then stamped the snow flakes from the Critters set in Unicorn White and heat embossed with white powder.  Voila, problem solved!

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I embossed the polka dot paper and tag, assembled everything and then added the embellishments!

Here are some close-up shots of the critters!

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And the back of the card:
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Well, that is it for me!  These were all little labors of love, but now I need to get down to brass tacks as it is Monday and time to get ready to teach my little human critters!

Head over to the CHA Challenge for all sorts of fun!  And please contact me with questions or comments!  I love connecting with you!

A Sweet Christmas

Lawn Fawn CHA 2014 Catalogue Challenge!

I have been working hard over the last week on my entries for the challenge, and am finally able to reveal them, just in the nick of time!  I have two posts today to cover my four entries.

First up, Snow Bunny and the Gumdrop Candy Mountain!

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Everyone knows this little cutie, Winter Bunny!!  He’s back for a whole new sledding experience!  I colored him (many times over to get all the shading just right) with Copics and added a cottontail with white Flower Soft!

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Delicious and so sweet, isn’t it?  I stamped every gumdrop and orange slice from Sweet Christmas, masking as I went.  Then I colored each piece with Copics.

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I then covered the whole bunch with Versamark Dazzle, sticky embossing powder, and Stampendous glitter!  This technique I used for my Holiday Bags, which you can see here.

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For the sentiment, I combined two of the stamp sets, Critters in the Snow and Sweet Christmas.

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Next up, Peppermint Candy Mountain!

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I used the same technique for this card, stamping all the candies from the Sweet Christmas set, masking as I went.

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Then I colored with Copics, covered with Versamark Dazzle and clear embossing powder to get the nice sheen.

For the post, also from Sweet Christmas, I needed something a big longer, so I used stamped it once, then lined up another atop the first.  I colored it with Copics and Uniball gel white pen, then used the same technique as with the peppermints.  I fussy cut the mountain and the post.

The flags were die cut and stamped with sentiments from Sweet Christmas.

For the background, I covered a whole card with Versamark Dazzle, sticky embossing powder and Stampendous white glitter.

Every thing was adhered with foam dots, except the pole.  I wanted the flags to pop just a bit at the ends.

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I just love the effect of the background; it’s like a bed of freshly-fallen sparkling snow, which I used to love crunching through when I lived in New York!

Head over to see the sweet creations from all the Lawn Fawn challenge participants!

I hope you are having a dazzling holiday season, with mountains of  sweet memories, wherever you may be!