Stars in a Jar

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Happy March and welcome to the first challenge of the month at Fusion where I will be guest designing all month!  I am excited to be sharing in the inspiration and hope you will join us for each of the fabulous challenges this month.

To kick off the fun, we have this sketch and photo to get your gears turning:

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When I first saw the photo and sketch, I knew I wanted to use stars and an ombre pattern; however, there were a few surprises along the way in terms of design!  You have to love those creative “accidents'”!

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I wasn’t entirely sure what paper I would use for the front of the card, but I knew I wanted to use a technique whereby my stars would only be partially die cut from the face, and thus able to extend from the card.  This is not an easy feat with such small dies!

I decided that embossing them first into the paper and then die cutting would provide not only a template useful for lining up the stars, but also add definition for the part of the star that would not be die cut.

This was especially important should I have used white cardstock for the actual façade.  Here is my sample below:

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You can see the tiny stars atop the card ended up being cut completely; it was quite a trial with my Big Shot trying to stop the roller just shy of the bottom of each star, and after many attempts with the real card, you can see I wasn’t 100% successful with a couple of the stars at the top.

Having chosen the Jen Hadfield gold bark paper, I found the design to be a bit more forgiving than had I used a white or plain cardstock.

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The middle and bottom stars were a success, and you can see a bit of the embossing detail where the stars are still attached.  It is not as pronounced as this paper is thinner than the white cardstock.  I inlaid and adhered the top stars with a small dot of glue.

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The liner paper is from a Crate Paper design modeled after paint swatches, so the panels move from light to dark teal, 3 of which I captured behind the stars.

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So the big a-ha moment came when I was playing around with my draft of the card, and I had planned to run some twine or cord around the top, echoing the top panel on the sketch, but I thought, why not use my thumb notch to cut two notches for some interest.  when I did so, I noticed the panel looked like a jar!

I am not one to make many shape cards; my only other one was also the result a creative accident, which you can see here.   I had some left-over corrugated silver sparkle paper, and fashioned a top to the jar, rounded all the corners and wrapped with twine.

The Lucky Die from Amy Tangerine set, Stitched, and Maggie Holmes tassel were adhered and a star a card was born!

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I haven’t stamped an inner message yet, but depending on the recipient, it might say “you” or “to know you” or “birthday”!  Befitting as well would be the “I am lucky because…” sentiment from the PTI Monthly Moments set below.  Maybe you have this set and will put it to use for this week’s challenge!

Monthly Moments: March Stamp Set

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I am thanking my lucky stars that Fusion invited me onto the team, and that you stopped by today!  I hope you have been inspired to play along with us and think outside the box when it comes to designing.  Here’s to lucky, creative accidents!

Head over to Fusion to link up your card and check out all the inspiration!  You have until the 15th to link up!

PROCEDURES:
1. Play with just the sketch challenge.
2. Play with just the inspiration photo challenge.
3. Or you can create FUSION by combining BOTH challenges into one card.
4. Use the challenge graphic and link back to Fusion in your post.
5. Please read the other considerations on the Our Rules Page before playing along.

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!

Love, Love, Love

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Love wins.  We’ve been hearing that sentiment quite a bit lately.  So I figured it was about time to share this wedding card I created for a celebration in May!  Pink wins as well, yet again, along with some sweet Maggie Holmes swag!

I was pretty motivated by my sketch for the Magic card and the birthday card I created for Kimberly’s blog hop, so the design of those cards clearly affected my layout here!

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I stamped the background with the PTI Wet Paint sentiment, leaving some white space at the bottom.  I really love the MFT small circles die, which I cut down to a 3.5 x 5″ size as the backdrop for some Maggie Holmes “Kiss Kiss” ephemera, and a die cut layering card from the Love Notes collection papers.  All clipped together with a Paper Source clip.

20150502_164912I had my eye on that “Love” die from Frantic Stamper for ages.  They have some really cool sentiment dies over there.  So I covered some paper in that pink and gold washi tape, then cut it out!  Love making washi “paper” for die cutting purposes!

Layered a bit of netting to reflect a bridal veil, some Maggie Holmes’ Open Book flowers, and a touch of sequins to finish the front.

20150502_164827Kept it simple on the inside with a PTI wedding sentiment, and a touch of something blue in the turquoise sparkle.

Finally, I wrapped it all up in a Whisker Graphics goodie bag, and added a bit of swag to the vellum tag–more Maggie Holmes paper goods.

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I was really pleased with the entire flow and feeling of this card.  One of my favorites by far, and the bride liked it too!

Wishing you a lovely week!  And don’t forget to leave some love on my last post if you’d like to win some crafty goods!

Fiesta Forever: It’s Another Birthday Blog Hop!

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Happy Birthday, Katie!

I am always late to the party!  But I’m so glad you’ve stopped by because our PNW crafty group is celebrating a card maker you may know well from a variety of design teams, Ms. Katie Brooks!  Today is her birthday, so we have pulled together a little hop.  As usual, I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, but so happy to be included in the celebration!

After what seems like centuries of sun and heat here in Seattle, the thunder is rolling and a sweet coastal breeze is floating through my windows as the clouds darken down on the beach, but that won’t dampen our spirits any!  Because “my friends, the time has come to raise the roof and have some fun; Throw away the work to be done. Let the music play on!”

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I’ve been working with a lot of pink lately, thanks to the Confetti collection from Maggie Holmes, and the Fancy collection from My Mind’s Eye.  I’ve lined up a graduation card and mini-album to post soon featuring both collections.

For this card, I’ve combined some Maggie Holmes and MME, using the Fancy collection pink and gold polka dot paper and some of the awesome flowers and leaves from the Open Book collection.

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The smile die cut is from PTI’s Wet Paint collection, and the Chochitlan Wreath from Poppystamps was a must-have after I saw it featured in one of Maria’s cards, of Riesling Mama.  The camera is from an awesome Spellbinders set by Donna Salazar, which I don’t think is available any more.

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I’ve got a little bit of a retro soft-palette reminiscent of the Eighties going on here, especially love this washi!  And the wet-paint style of the inside paper, which is from Studio Calico’s Lemon Lush.

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Lizzie McKay’s birthday stamp set “Let’s Party” from Studio Calico provides the sentiment, which I stamped in gold.

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Katie’s cards and personality always make me smile, so I thought this would be a fitting sentiment for her.  And while I don’t necessarily equate Katie with pink, as her style is bright and colorful, a bit quirky, and always smile-worthy, pink seems to be ruling the day over here at Pinned & Penned.

And I hope Katie’s day rules, that she was showered with love yesterday at the crafty gathering I was sorry to miss! Unfortunately, my teaching schedule and other obligations have prevented me from not only gathering with the ladies, but also posting anything since our last birthday hop!!  I have been creating though, and hope to get some of the backlogged work posted here soon!

And can you believe the celebratory month of June is nearly over?  Graduations, anniversaries, birthdays have filled these last few weeks, not to mention the celebration of the national decision to grant marriage equality to all.  We found ourselves celebrating friendship and our anniversary last night, a balmy evening, with friends over some lovely French food and champagne at Le Pichet, followed by dessert on the deck overlooking the Sound at The Pink Door, one of the loveliest spots in the Seattle summer, day or night.

Let’s keep the party rolling with your next stop on the hop, Ms. Kimberly Wiener!   Big thanks to Amy for pulling this all together, and really, what can’t she make happen in the blogosphere?  I mean have you seen what she’s done for coffee and paper crafting?  A force to be reckoned with, I tell ya!

Please leave some love for everyone along the way, and of course wish Katie a happy birthday and check out her fabulous work over at KB Stamps!  And if you comment here, I am going to choose a random winner (or 2!) for some blog candy because I’ve got a whole bunch of crafty wares that need to find a good home.  Stamps, straws, ephemera– who knows what will be awaiting you.  Leave me a comment to possibly find out! 🙂

Amy

Kate— You are here!

Kimberly

Laura

Lenae

Tonya

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Katie ← Birthday Girl!!!

Neon Birthday

Today I am going back, but it’s not to school (not yet anyway!).  Maybe it’s my reluctance to let go of this succulent summer that sped by, but I am craving bright color and design that pops off the page.  What better than neon, bold black and crisp white to fulfill that desire?

I set out to create a simple birthday card and it morphed into an hours-long affair playing with patterns, layering, and embellishing.  Since I will be back to a six-day work week and very busy school year in a little over a week, I’ve been giving myself permission to intersperse some paper play with the mountain of administrative work I am attempting to summit!  Unfortunately, I think I used up my quota of creative time today, because the mountain is looming and its shadow is making me not just a little anxious!

So let’s turn toward the bright!

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I started by strategically positioning WPlus9’s Ink Splats in Hero Arts Lemon Yellow ink so they would work with the flow of the sentiment.  Then I overlaid Winnie and Walter’s sentiment in Hero Arts Neon Pink and Versafine Black Onyx.  I added the final large splat above the sentiment to create a visual line.

And I thought that might be it, as I had just planned to layer the stamped piece over a white card base for a super CAS design.  But it just didn’t feel quite right.

Enter some Maggie Holmes paper and Lemon Lush from Studio Calico.  As I was layering, I realized I was replicating the sketch over at Winnie and Walter’s Share the Love week that I’d stumbled upon a few days ago.

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And since I was using the sentiments I so love from that company, I figured I’d see the design through and share some love with them by joining the challenge!   It is open until September 7th, and there are some fabulous inspiration pieces from their design team, like this little number from Kelly Griglione.

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I was equally inspired by her card specifically because one of her trademarks is using patterned paper inside her cards. I just love this.

A hallmark of my cards is the use of washi as a bottom and back layer, but this time I wanted to line my card’s interior like Kelly’s.

The Lemon Lush paper proved perfect for this purpose.

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You can lift the white layer of white paper to read the bottom layer of “Wordsmith” pattern paper.

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I thought I would stitch a bit onto the scrap pieces I added for some visual interest, but after I did, the stitching just didn’t feel right.  Out it came and I really liked the pierced holes it left behind!

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I added some sequins, but rather than leaving them flat, I propped each of them up.  I really like dimension in my cards, though it doesn’t make them easy to mail!

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Lovely layers.

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Once all was positioned and adhered, I decided to add a PTI wreath cut from 100# SSS Black Cardstock (I really can’t emphasize enough how much I love this multi-purpose wreath!).

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Are you feeling a bit brighter?

Now that I’ve come to the end of this post, the skies have darkened to a purple-grey over the Sound and the window behind my head is being pelted by some serious rain brought in on the whipping wind.  Intimations of fall indeed.

So stop by tomorrow if you’re in need of a more summery scene.  I will have another bright card inspired by one of my favorite card makers to share with you!

Until then, I bid you a good evening, and wonderful week back to school, if your family is headed that way!