An Octopus’s Garden and a Summer Soundtrack

Adios, I’m a ghost!*

Bienvenue, I’m back! And with a backlog of work to boot!

But tonight, rather than bore you with the details of the last two months of my life, I am going to keep it simple and share one of my recently completed cards, which had been in the works for two months, as well some recently discovered music perfect for these sweet summer days, which for me have mostly been packed with work (and a few stolen moments of sun and fun), hence my longer than planned hiatus!

So one morning in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, we were driving along with the morning spring air flowing sweetly through the car and Ringo’s voice ringing out “I’d like to be, under the sea, in an octopus’s garden, with you.” And I immediately thought of my goofy little octopus stamp and all my sea creature dies and the shaker card craze, and before the song was nearly sung, a card was almost done… in my imagination, at least.

Until this weekend, when I was finally able to dive into a day of paper and stamp play!

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That little octopus from Kelly Purkey’s set just kills me!  I stamped him in a navy, embossed with clear powder and then stamped the coral from a fabulous Carta Bella set around him, wiping off the excess ink from his arms when the coral images had dried.

I flicked some Heidi Swapp Color Shine in Seafoam around him and then set to stamping the sentiment with Milo’s Alphabet and a Stampendous set.

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What to do with all that packaging you accrue from crafting supplies?

Repurpose!

The plastic shaker window is from the packaging for a set of die cuts!  It was easy to find rectangle dies large enough to cover its edges. I used Spellbinders and Mama Elephant to cut my wave paper and create a frame.

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Sequins, Melissa Frances Sea Glass, sparkly Memory Box and Savvy sea creature die cuts fill the floor of my scene.

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Since I’ve been away for so long, I never did share the fact that I was one of two winners in the Basic Grey Grand Bazaar give-away!  My goodies arrived at the end of May, and I just cut into the first sheet of paper from the set for the blue background paper on this card!  I NEVER win anything, so seeing my name randomly chosen for this collection that I love was astounding!

Here are some photos I snapped of the stash!

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So before I go, allow me share some sweet music with you!  Summer is the perfect time to just lounge long in the morning sun or sit through the evening dusk listening to some down-tempo, chilled out music!  This ended up being quite a musical weekend for me– a local street fair brought me back to a fabulous local group The Moondoggies (*from whose 2013 album I have stolen the first line of this post).

And after hearing the song “Baby” by Donnie and Joe Emerson on NPR’s Dinner Party Download while I was making the card above, I found myself traveling down a rabbit hole into some fascinating musical terrain–one story, one song lead to another and another!  The tale of Donnie and Joe is interesting–their rediscovery nearly 35 years later even more so– and their 1979 album is super fine for a lazy summer Sunday.  The track “Baby” has garnered the most attention.

Ariel Pink, also new to me, released a cover of the song that captures its essence perfectly.  Gorgeous soul groove… YouTube has a mix based on Ariel Pink’s track that is wonderfully lush listening.

Like this tune from Darondo…

And this cover by Chet Faker (loving his work so far)…

Need to take it up a notch?  Here’s some pure weirdness, In the Summertime, by Mungo Jerry

And if you are still with me, well, how can I leave without sharing this…

Happy summer, happy listening, happy crafting!

 

 

A Crafty Day and A Clipboard Card

And another weekend draws to a close!  Did you find yourself inspired and productive?  I know I did– and now, not only do I have a product pile-up, but I also have a post pile-up!

But before I get to my card and muses, I must share a bit about my crafty Saturday gathering!  I am not only lucky to live in one of the most gorgeous places in the United States, the Pacific Northwest, but also lucky to live in proximity to some of the nicest and most talented card artists out there, all of whom are likely household names to many of you! One of the most wonderful aspects of this creative journey beyond the act of creating is the people I have met online across states and continents through challenges and blogs.  Being able to meet some of these online friends in person makes it even more wonderful.

So yesterday I had the pleasure of laughing, eating and creating with Katie Brooks of KB Stamps, the Kimberly Wiener of Wienerhoneymooners, Amy Tsuruta of Tsuruta Designs, and Amy’s friend, Laurel.  I didn’t get much card making accomplished, but had a great time sharing supplies and ideas, while accomplishing a lot of die cutting (what else is new lately?!) for a mini album!

Amy was a wonderful hostess, and I wanted to show my thanks not only for opening her home to us, but also for being so supportive in her commenting over the past months since I have become more active in the community.  It is amazing how she makes the time to visit so many blogs and comment on people’s work (in addition to creating, being on numerous design teams, raising kids and working!)  Since Amy loves coffee, I knew I had to bring her a little hostess gift of beans, and of course a coffee-themed card!

I have been working on what I will call “clipboard cards” from recycled cardboard and corrugate.  I am really excited about these! There are so many possibilities for different occasions and aesthetic approaches with these cards.  I plan to complete a tutorial for you once I have some others finished.

Additionally, I’ve been experimenting with different card-making styles to challenge myself, but the one I keep gravitating to is the shabby chic/vintage collage style with a modern and/or mixed media twist as seen in the work of Magda Luczak of Mama Judo, Stephanie Schutze of Scrapmanufaktur, Frau Muller, and the older work of Scrapperia, whose recent work is more modern, on-trend, freestyle collage.

These works in particular influenced my thinking, since I have been thinking about these a lot!

Stephanie Schutze, Scrapmanufaktur
Stephanie Schutze, Scrapmanufaktur
Frau Muller
Frau Muller
Scrapperia
Scrapperia
SONY DSC
Mama Judo

 

I actually had set out to CASE Magda’s tag card, but went in a completely different direction after playing around with my elements. She has another fabulous tag card over at her blog which I am thinking of CASE-ing.  Her work is just magnificent!

So here is my card!

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THE PROCESS:

I measured and cut my clipboard back out of recycled cardboard; I use a lot of legal pads in teaching, and always have the cardboard left over after the pad is used.  Great crafting supply!  I did the same with the corrugated paper, rounded the edges of each, and then Mod Podged them together.

I then distressed my top panel and stamped my coffeestains in Versafine Onyx Black, using stamping off to get variations in hues.

I distressed some scrap paper, and then die cut my little coffee mugs.  I strung them along the hemp twine and finally was able to put my Tiny Attacher to use!  Love those little staples!!

I knew immediately that I had to use Kelly Purkey’s stamp from the I Like You set– which I thought was cute in reference to a cup of coffee!  I stamped that in Memento’s Rich Cocoa onto my tag cut from Avery Elle’s Tag set.  I did not attach the tag to the twine as I wanted it to slip out so the message on the back could be read.  I also like the coffee cups sliding freely along the twine.

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I set out to layer a bit with various papers and the burlap, distressing my 7 Gypsies Conservatory paper with the Tonic Distressing tool.

I die cut the tab from My Creative Time’s Stitched File Tab, and specifically chose a section of the washi to tear and affix to the it.

Then I clipped it all together with the tiny binder clip.

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But wait, there’s a surprise inside!!

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Some fun confetti mugs and Paper Smooches “Thanks” die cut from various papers and wood veneer.  It’s not a confetti pack without some trendy sequins!  Love those Studio Calico woodgrain ones!  I snuck the vellum envelope between the layers.  You can see it peeking out in photos above.

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The bottom initially looked a little bare one assembled, so I die cut some branches from the Penny Black Nature’s Song die.  I wrote out a message on the back of the tag and then wrapped it all up with some rough twine!

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After our fabulous day together, I headed to Snoqualmie Falls, not far from Amy’s for a nature walk.  Here are some of my pictures!  I so love our PNW forests with the knobby tree-covered trees and mossed branches bending and hanging and breathing life into the forest!

And the neon azaleas are popping out all over now making my eyes pop right out of their sockets.  I could look at them in their varying hues of fuschia, red, and pink for hours!

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Well, in three minutes, the weekend will be officially over, and it is way past my bedtime.  Instead of popping out, my eyes are about to roll back into their sleepy sockets.  So I won’t be leaving a fancy linked up supplies list this time, but I have listed what went into the card.

This is headed over to CASE Study for the design team call.  There will be a new guest designer as well as a new Muse this coming week! Check it out!

And now it’s lights out for me!

xo

SUPPLIES:

Kelly Purkey “I Like You” Stamps
Prima Paper: Sunrise/Sunset
Crate Paper DIY Shop
7 Gypsies Conservatory Paper
DCWV Burlap Paper
DCWV Woven Paper
Recycled Cardboard
Corrugated Paper
Hemp Twine
Memory Box Mini Cups
Penny Black Nature Song Die
My Creative Time Stitched Tab Die
Avery Elle Tag Die
Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher
Tim Holtz small binder clip
Tonic Paper Distresser
Distress Inks: Walnut Stain, Antique Paper, Tattered Rose, Tea Stain
Versafine Onyx Black ink
Coffeestain Stamp is from Inkadinkado (I think!)
Studio Calico Woodgrain Sequins

A Maze of a Brain and Amazing Art

 

“Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called,
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.
And I was thinking maybe later on,
We could get together for a while.
It’s been such a long time,
And I really do miss your smile.”

–England Dan and John Ford Coley, 1976

“Oh – stop

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?

Way out in the water
See it swimmin’ ”

–The Pixies, 1988

Ever feel like you’ve been existing in a time-warp, floating between dimensions, touching down lightly into reality and then off again?  That’s what the last ten days have been like for me!

Over the last two decades, as a migraineur, I have had to adapt to an uncooperative brain, which is not easy for someone who could be working, creating, reading, and writing 24/7!  Last week, I was hit with a three day migraine, the effects of which lasted for the remainder of the week–what migraineurs not-so-affectionately call “a migraine hangover.” So all creative and professional work was curtailed, and I’ve been playing catch-up, and taking life a little more slowly the last five days.

With a reduced teaching load due to spring break, I’ve had a bit more time to get back into my craft room and resume work on a few projects.  It has been so good to just play with colors and patterns and experiment with some new styles.  I will showcase some of those very soon!

Today, though I want to share a project I had completed right before I was derailed.  I took my inspiration from an art piece I found on Pinterest. It is called “The unending amends we’ve made (imperishable wreath) 2010,” (acrylic on cut paper, papier-mâché, wire, wood) by Brooklyn-based artist Lauren Clay.  Her work is delicious in terms of color, and at times unsettling in terms of contrasting hard geometric elements with the soft colors.

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The unending amends we’ve made (imperishable wreath), 2010, Lauren Clay

Here is my card:

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been compelled to create paper nests.  I have also been gravitating to varying hues of turquoise, coral, and pink, as you may have noted in my last few cards.  So when I saw Lauren’s work, I knew I wanted to try and replicate its form and color with my Memory Box branches.

TECHNIQUE:

I first colored separate panels of watercolor paper with a water-color brush and Distress Inks and Stains. I saturated some areas for deep color and lightened others with water.  I also flicked water onto parts of the panel for spotting.  I wanted to create an ombre effect, which you can see more clearly in the close-ups.

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After creating my pink, blue, purple, and yellow panels, I strategically cut many branches!  I’ve been quite the die cutting machine lately with my recent cards!  Flowers, circle, branches, oh my!

I then altered branches to get the desired shapes and sizes.  Finally, I worked on placement, which took some time!

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TIP: Take pictures of your stages, especially when working with a lot of large and small paper elements.  This will aid your memory greatly and allow you to compare different arrangements.

I was then ready to add that gorgeous sentiment from Winnie and Walter’s set The Big, Bold, and You.  I absolutely cannot get enough of these fonts and the quality of the stamps is awesome.  I just ordered their other set, The Big, Bold and Happy.  I used Versafine Onyx Black, which is just as bold as the sentiment!

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TIP: When working on placement of your font, use the Stamp-a-ma-jig and corresponding plastic sheet or stamp your sentiment on a scrap paper and position.

stamoamojig

I absolutely love how the flow of the “you” follows that of the branches.

 

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The inside and back are finished off with a simple strip of turquoise washi.

As some of you may know, CASE Study, run by the ever-inspirational artist, Chupa, is looking to expand its design team.  I had the honor of guest designing in March and would love to continue creating alongside all of the talented ladies on the team.

Chupa asked applicants to create a project based on the work of a personal muse in the crafting industry and a style that would challenge us artistically. I have many muses in the crafting world to whom I turn time and again for inspiration– and they vary greatly in their styles. I will be featuring some of these individuals and the cards I created based on their inspiration in upcoming posts.

However, as a writer and paper crafter, I have always looked to the art world and popular culture for inspiration.  So in this instance, while I am not CASE-ing any particular card artist, I was drawn to a compelling visual artist that inspired me to create a bold, modern, CAS-style card.  I hope this will count!

If you would like to apply for a position on the CASE Study team, submit your entry by 4/30!

Have an amazing day!

Signs and Songs and Poems of Spring (and one card)!

Happy weekend, once again!  I had hoped to be back bit sooner this week, but the design I was working on just wasn’t ready to be birthed!  Some pieces are like that, especially when you are trying on a new style for the first time.

I’ve got a card to see, a poem to read, and a song to hear, as well as some great resources to follow, so settle in and read on!

Birds and Bees

For the past two weeks, I have been working on building nests just like my sparrow, wren and crow neighbors!  We have an adorable house wren couple that covets an evergreen bush and Camellia tree in the front yard.  The cats and I have enjoyed watching the little love birds pecking about the ground and in the branches that brush right up against our window!

Camellia Tree
Camellia Tree

Likewise, the crows have been foraging for nesting materials in my yard, and the other day I watched one fashion a stick from our backyard tree to his liking.  I’ve spied one of the local crow family’s new nests perched high in a birch overlooking the beach and within viewing range from my studio window!  And just this morning, a baby bee was buzzing about my screen door giving the cats quite a time before I was able to shoo him to freedom.  The winged creatures have certainly sprung into action here on Alki!

And so, I attempted to follow their lead and get this shabby chic creation, inspired by the wrens and trees and colors in my yard, completed at last!

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This is not a style that I typically gravitate to, though I have been making more clean and layered cards with frames and clustering and am thoroughly enjoying the clustering style.

Because the layout of this card shifted quite a bit, I decided to photograph the different ideas for comparison, and frankly to aid my visual memory!

I consulted some gorgeous paper artists who work exclusively in this style to learn more about how they layer panels and embellish.  Check out the work of Andrea Ewen (more elegant-less-shabby at times, always chic master),  Dorota_mk (jaw-dropping work), Frau Muller (edgier approach to this style, which I love!), Scrapperia (vintage, shabby style with a hip twist in cards and scrapbook layouts).  You can find representative work from each on my Pinterest as well.

Techniques

This style is quite labor intensive!

I initially began stamping my Sparrow from Deep Red Stamps onto watercolor paper with Walnut Stain distress ink.  I then watercolored him with various Distress inks and a fine watercolor brush.

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Reinforce paper for distressing

To reinforce thin paper, I Mod-podged my newspaper from the 7 Gypsies Conservatory pack onto heavy cardstock, and did the same with my wood background panel to enable distressing as the thinness of the papers would not hold up to the edging tool.  The frame’s paper, cut with Spellbinders Fancy Ovals, is also from the Conservatory pack.

I Distress inked most papers with Antique Linen and/or Tattered Rose.

Sewing on Paper

Before sewing my two paper panels, I made sure to adhere them in the center so they would not slip.

One thing I should have done was reinforce with heavy cardstock, as it would have made the sewing easier.  These papers are very thin as well, and despite using a grippier quilting foot, they tended to slip around a bit making straight-lining tricky!  I sew fabric much better, folks.  We’re going for shabby here! 🙂

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I die-cut dozens of branches from a variety of papers for texture.  I then cut or ripped them to get the sizes or shapes I wanted.  I featured these delicious little pins in my Enticing Embellishments post and I was excited to find a use for them!  I also love Fancy Pants resin flowers.  They are the best ones out there in my opinion.  Gorgeous shapes and colors.

When playing around with placement of my completed panel on the card, it felt a bit empty, ironically!  So I dug into one of my favorite paper sets, DIY Shop, and the Joyful Morning Anthem sentiment fit perfectly length-wise.  After trying it atop the card horizontally, I decided on a vertical placement.

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I finished off the back and inside with my woodgrain washi– a favorite I reach for time and again!

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ADHESIVE TIP:

And speaking of nests– you have likely seen circles of twine or nests of gold and silver thread adorning people’s cards lately.  It’s definitely a trend. But how to do that easily so it looks like a controlled chaos rather than just a mess?

I love this adhesive for my cards as it is strong, but removable (won’t rip most of your papers), can be cut to desired size and gives a little dimension (if that is what you want) but not as much as a foam square.

scoch restickable

This is perfect to lay down on your surface and encircle or twist and turn your thread into the desired shape as I did here:

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I have one adhesive square down on the card, curled my thread in a design I wanted and then put another square atop to adhere the die cut.

My Sparrow card is headed over to Catered Crop for their current challenge: Put a Bird on It and to Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge that features more vintage work!  There are many challenges featuring our fine winged friends going on and I will be swooping back in with more bids and some butterflies soon, so check back!

Catered Crop

 

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog

April is National Poetry Month!

On my way out, I thought I would leave you with a poem to celebrate the month of poetry here in the States as well as a song!  I listened to this album while I was working on the card above and the first track is quite appropriate for spring!

 

Let Birds

by Linda Gregg

Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.
The night sky blue.
Me like a mare let out to pasture.
The Tao does not console me. 
I was given the Way 
in the milk of childhood. 
Breathing it waking and sleeping.
But now there is no amazing smell
of sperm on my thighs,
no spreading it on my stomach
to show pleasure. 
I will never give up longing. 
I will let my hair stay long. 
The rain proclaims these trees,
the trees tell of the sun.
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join.
Let quail come.
Let winter impress you. Let spring. 
Allow the ocean to wake in you.
Let the mare in the field
in the summer morning mist
make you whinny. Make you come 
to the fence and whinny. Let birds.

– See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/20615#sthash.4Axrli7O.dpuf

More bird poems here!

Interested in bird study, issues confronting birds and the environment, what that warble really means?  Check out public radio’s BirdNote!

Supplies:

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!