Believe It or Not, Look Who’s Back (and feeling magical)!

We lead such fragmentary lives, occupying a multiplicity of physical and virtual spaces at any one time.  We touch down here, flit there, ever attempting simultaneity.  Yesterday, I sat down to my sewing machine and really focused on the motions of threading my machine, paying attention to the tiny eye of the needle, the bobbin spinning, the thread through my finger tips; it was so refreshing to be present, performing such a simple, physical task without any thought to the work I would do later, the emails I needed to return, the photographs I needed to take and edit for this post!  I was in what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi theorized as “flow”–an optimal state of concentrated energy whereby you are intrinsically motivated by the process of the activity with no competing thoughts about outside events or the end product.  Artistic endeavors can provide this experience, but if we are so focused on the end result or the audience or the applause, then we are apt to lose our footing– flow gives way to something frantic, fractured and frustrating.

It’s really hard to be present, to achieve flow, even in the activities or with the people we most enjoy.  And so, given the pressures of my career and the necessities of my physical being, as well as the desire to focus more on my sewing skills, I needed to step away from blogging, and all that goes into the development of a post, for the last two months, so I could make time and space for other experiences.  The reality is you can’t do it all and you can’t have it all, no matter what the ad-men try to tell you. And that’s okay. Slowing down, focusing, being present, working on one aspect of your life or yourself or a project, to the exclusion of other parts is more than okay; it’s vital.  Especially in creative endeavors.  It’s good to just be an observer of words or images, letting it all sink in for a bit as you stay silent and still.

And it’s good to step back now into this little corner of my world where I’ve made such great connections and see that as I’ve been percolating behind the scenes, my little virtual home hasn’t been completely devoid of visitors! I sure appreciate your stopping by.  I have four posts lined up for this week to celebrate birthdays, national poetry month, and some fun challenges, like this one:

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I am sure many of you are familiar with the fabulous Ellen Hutson, LLC, one of the best online spots for papercrafting supplies. When I need something quickly and can’t make it to a store, Ellen’s my woman because she’s practically in my backyard and the shipping is lightning fast!  Plus she has a great new line of products designed by Julie Ebersole, another Washingtonian.  Lots of good papercrafting energy in the PNW!

So she’s developed two new challenges, which you can read about here and here.

I absolutely loved the holiday release of sentiment stamps and dies from Julie, and the winter release was fabulous as well.  The Pin-Sights challenge asks you to use the products and the mood board to create a paper project.  The current inspiration board had me swooning so I knew I just had to play along!

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Magical, right? I’ve been known to believe in magic every so often, especially when it comes to inspiration and art!

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I tried to weave in a  variety of the elements from the mood board, most obviously the colors and the brushstroke font.  I’d been wanting to create one of these sentiment backgrounds for awhile so this challenge gave me the push to finally do so using Julie’s Brushstroke Christmas set . Since the color scheme mentions charcoal, I used Versacolor Ultimate Pigment ink in Charcoal rather than black and stamped on Ellen’s 110lb Linen cardstock, my favorite paper!  I echoed the dots from the photograph with the MFT Polka Dot Coverup die background, which I cut down to create a more interesting layer.

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The challenge is open to any kind of paper project, not just cards, and in creating this, I was not sure if it would be a card–I actually think it would make a great framed piece or album cover for a mini-album, so I intentionally did not adhere it to a card base.

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The Magic die from Studio Calico was doubly cut from Paper Source’s Bronze paper and adhered so it would pop up a bit for more curved dimension.  The hot pink brick wall journaling card is a digital file from Studio Calico’s Lisse Street collection.  I love my new HP printer which is allowing me to actually print quality photographs and digital images for the first time in years, so I can add a new element to my paper crafting beyond stamping.

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Open Book from Crate Paper provided the flower and vellum embellishments.  That Art Deco green and gold panel was just what I needed to bring those layers together. I spent awhile riffling through my hundreds of paper embellishments.  I really like working in this way with my products as it is like creating with found art– I am confined by just the paper pieces I have and must assemble them without being able to create by hand the perfect image or embellishment to complete the piece.  It’s challenging in that way–sadly I cannot find any of these vellum packs from the Open Book line anywhere– so it is really a one of a kind piece.

In addition to Ellen’s challenge, I am also going to submit this to Virginia’s View current challenge which is all about dimensions and layers.   You can find my work among the hundreds of entrants!  Virginia gets the prize for challenge participation, although the Coffee Loving Paper Crafters are gaining steadily!!

Check out all three for some great inspiration and maybe a bit of magic!

And make sure to stop by here tomorrow for a special birthday card and blog hop with prizes!!

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!

Happy Accidents

I was just rereading a post from last year because it was recently viewed by a visitor, and in it I discussed the creative process, taking chances (or not!) with art, and happy accidents.  While I cringed a bit at the card featured in the post, I enjoyed reconnecting with my ideas and considering where I am almost one year later.  And it was a timely read since I will be sharing with you today two cards that were happy accidents!

Happy Accident #1

In the midst of making Christmas cards I had negatives of die cuts and scraps of paper gathered about, and in one of my clean sweeps, I collected some of my specialty papers–gold foil and gilded vellums– and just filed them in a plastic sleeve.  I wasn’t paying attention at the time, but about a week later I happened to glance over at the plastic sleeve and noticed the negative die cut of my deer head in the gold foil sitting behind a gold star vellum.  I don’t waste a bit of my gold foil cardstock, so I had just kept what remained for smaller die cuts without even thinking about using the negative!  It was a happy surprise indeed, and this is the card that manifested!

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As you can see in the photo below, the die leaves a squared outline when it cuts into thick paper, which does not make for a great negative, unless you were to frame around the deer head and hide the outline.  In this case, the cover of vellum did just the trick.  I love the shadow of his head beneath the stars!

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One of my favorite and most used dies of the season was my “Sparkle and Shine” set from WPlus9.  I love the font and the size.  I cut it from mint Paper Source CS and used a bit of ice Stickles to embellish.

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And here is the inside where I changed it up a bit from the front, featuring a gold sentiment and mint & gold washi.

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UPDATE: ENVELOPES!

I almost forgot that this little card has a matching envelope I made with my Martha Stewart Scoreboard!  I made a few custom-size envelopes for holiday cards, as I found some great deals on 12×12 paper at Michaels and Joann.  Since I made oddly sized cards, I need custom envelopes, and they add to the whole card!  I will do a post soon on making envelopes and labels!

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Happy Accident #2

Another inspiration came as well from the leftover of a die cut.  I had cut one of my large Avery Elle flags and a Mama Elephant tag from some grey cardstock, and the paper that remained was a triangular piece with a bit of a long rectangular edge.  When I looked at it, I saw a roof and a chimney!  Considering the amazing We R Memory Keepers “Love Notes” collection (I have now purchased two 12×12 pads, two 6×6 pads, and extra 12×12 sheets of the prints I love. Yes, I am hording–the texture and designs were just too awesome to resist!) and the specific print, French Doors, I knew I had a little holiday house card in the making!

Here is what resulted!

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Now you can see the “roof” and “chimney” that sparked my creation!  In order to create the house, I used the flip side of the French Doors paper, measured and cut it in a similar way so it would fit on the grey background.

The grey chimney looked a bit too flat, though, so I embossed with my Tim Holtz brick folder another piece of grey paper, cut to fit, and adhered to the chimney.

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Once I decided what door to use, I fussy cut that and then set to embellishing the rest of the house with a wreath, gingerbread icing scallops from the Avery Elle set, my Poppystamps snowman, and that adorable Mama Elephant bow.  The left corner looked a bit empty upon finishing, so I decided to add the snowflake.

I considered cutting the card base so it was a triangle, but since that was my only sheet of MFT’s Pink Lemonade, which was the perfect color for the base, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It felt like too big of a risk– which echoes my sentiments in that post from a year ago.  If I only have one piece of a cardstock or patterned paper, or embellishment, I am far less likely to take a chance.  Silly, perhaps, but these papers and goods are expensive, so the fear of waste and ruin keeps me on the conservative side!  Do you experience the same feeling in your creative process?

Since this is going to a friend who just moved into a new house, I figured it would be the perfect card and sentiment!

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I hope you found some inspiration in these happy accident cards!  Give pause when you toss aside a scrap; it may just hold the key to a beautiful creation!

May your week be full of happy!

Selected Supplies–Click image to purchase:

We R Memory Keepers - Love Notes Collection - 12 x 12 Double Sided Paper - French Doors

Boho Bright

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
 
 
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
 

 


As I sat down to write this post, the Wordsworth poem above floated through my mind.  I suppose it might be because Pinned & Penned has been a bit lonely this past month, and I have felt too much the sting that solitary work can bring, or it may be the subject of today’s post, which is a bit of brightness, like a crowd of daffodils, in the midst of a darkening season.

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In any case, the poem seems to fit with the whimsy of Curtain Call’s current challenge (notice the daffodils in the painting?).  The previous week found me wanting so badly to play with the color inspiration–I absolutely love the combination, particularly that yellow.  I’d just received some Lemonlush papers from Studio Calico which were a perfect match.  So I set about to pull something together–a very simple piece that I finally completed today.
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Super simple.  I let the paper really do the work for me.  The PTI Happy die is inlaid, that gorgeous deep blue playing off the turquoise below and surrounding purple.
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I cut a flag and stamped the sentiment in Island Fresh Ink.  Cut a few scraps from the Lemonlush papers adhered and stitched.  All was assembled upon a spring green Bazzill base.
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I love the watercolor and mottled effect of the front and underlying panels.
The inside is finished with some navy washi to echo that on the front.
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This may be the most simple card I’ve constructed in awhile.  I should note I was also inspired a bit by a CAS(E) this Sketch design, but missed the deadline.
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Aside from today, the weather has been unseasonably summery this fall in the PNW.  We’ve had a few blustery intimations of winter, but it may be the warmest and sunniest autumn I can recall.  I will leave you with a photo of last night’s sunset.  It was far more fuchsia than the photo represents, and the water was downright pink, but it’s pretty spectacular nonetheless. It echoes the card, too– though it is far more magnificent.
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I am heading into another extremely busy work-week, and if the past few weeks have been any indication who knows what surprises await.  That being said, it may remain a bit quiet here over the next few days.  If you follow me at all on Facebook, you may recall I promised a particular post a few week’s back.  It’s in queue along with some autumnal delights from the Persimmon collection I’ve been hinting at.  So I hope you will stop back soon.

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On my way out, I want to thank all the new followers and visitors to my site and Facebook page!  I appreciate your interest in my work
It’s likely too late for you to play along at Curtain Call, but head over and check out some of the gorgeous creations, especially Shirley Bee’s funky card– I just love her background!
May your week be as delightful as a crowd of daffodils and just as bright.

Destination: Graduation

“Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long/ If you’re goin’ my way, I want to drive it all night long…”

Good Evening!

How was your week and weekend?  Did you make it to any special destinations?

For those of us in Seattle living along the Sound, this past week was full of wooly mornings marked by the bellow of fog horns, distant ghost ships, and crystalline webs hanging heavy with dew, strung from every tree or window–and just when you felt like fall was wrapping around, the fog would open to a searing blue sky, and roll away to reveal 70 degree days and some balmy nights!

It was a slow moving week with some unexpected turns, but I am happy to say that I completed one long overdue card and played around with some ideas for upcoming card designs.

So let me pick up the speed here, as it’s nearly bedtime in my corner of the world!

This card has been in the works since July!  The necessary items were purchased, idea sketched out, and some layout completed, but it finally came together this weekend.  As I said in my “Getting to Know Me” post, my cards are often designed with the recipient in mind and that is true of this card.  Overall, I am pretty happy with the finished product, particularly how my inlaid street sign and road paper panel turned out.

The card features nearly all Crate Paper Road Trip papers and embellishments.

I will apologize ahead of time for the quality of some of the photos; I made some changes to the card and had to retake in different light, so they are a bit washed out!

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My original idea, when I saw that blue highway paper in the pack, was to inlay the Neat and Tangled “On the Corner” sign post.  I wanted the post to be 3-D and act as a closure for the card; as you can see it tucks into the Prima Car Parts steering wheel.

I cut the sign out of some grungy gray paper, and then used Copics to enhance the outlined areas.

Instead of using the corresponding Neat and Tangled stamps, I opted for my graduation themed stamps from MFT.

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I did have to focus on measurements for this card as there were numerous panels and layers to fit together!
It measures 5.5″ x 5.5″.

I do like how it looks when it sits open to reveal of view of the inside.

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I used MFT Wide Banners for the flags inside; the sentiment is from Kaisercraft.  It’s not the highest quality photopolymer stamp, and even after seasoning the stamp and stamping it multiple times, the ink still balls up a bit, so you get a mottled look, which I actually really like for the feel of this car.

Kind of like oil drops on the ground, tire treads, or highway gravel!

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I love these tiny Tim Holtz screws I used to adhere the main panel, along with some glue dots.

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The Mustang stamp is from Deep Red Stamps; it was stamped on some grungy red paper from the Shine collection from We R Memory Keepers and heat embossed. I then fussy cut it.

I used a grunge stamp from Impression Obsession for the mustard yellow wall splatter.  What I really wished I had for this panel were graffiti font stamps and a checkered flag.  I feel like something is missing on this panel– yet nothing embellishment or stamp-wise really worked.

And I didn’t want it too cluttered or competing with the sign post. So it is what it is!

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And speaking of something missing– here is the before picture of the card– before I added my Savvy banner.

I just kept looking at the card and the right panel didn’t feel right.  I wanted to keep it masculine, and Savvy is definitely not terribly masculine, but the little flags seem to work okay.  They, too, are cut from Road Trip paper.

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And here we are at the end of the road– a little Prima license plate and fun washi.

The base paper is MFT Fuse Green, which worked really well with the colors of the card.

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So this is headed out to a student who has started an automotive program this fall.

Now it’s time for me to park it here and head down the highway of sleep!  Remember to live your dream and keep moving toward your destination!  (That kind of felt like I was channeling a bit of Casey Kasem!)