Coffee and Birthdays…

What can be better?

Both are crazy awesome (as long as you aren’t counting cups or candles), and even better when shared with others.

Today is Tonya’s birthday, and she’ll be celebrating with the rest of our crafty crew. Not sure if candles will be involved, but coffee most certainly will, and a whole lot of laughs.  Sadly, Katie and I will be celebrating from afar, but nonetheless wishing we were there to ring in what I hope will be another successful, creative year for Tonya! 

2015 saw the launch of her boutique-style craft store, The Heart Desires, which is bringing in new product daily, some of which I am featuring today on Tonya’s birthday card.

So nearly every item on this card can be found in The Heart Desires shop–and probably my favorite addition to my supplies is the Richard Garay sweater embossing folder. His product is new to me–that is what is great about the style of Tonya’s store, she features items I haven’t come across before, or that may not be the most promoted brand (though you can find those too, like Concord &9th’s newest releases and Neat and Tangled that work so well together).

The coffee cup has been stamped 3x and heat embossed from Neat and Tangled’s Perfect Blend set, then fussy cut and adhered to the base to create the lid and wrap.  The lid was covered with Versamark clear embossing ink and clear embossing powder to give a glossy plastic appearance to the lid.

I love Concord and 9th’s large stamps, like this one from the Crazy Awesome set, stamped on vellum and heat embossed, but with a few rearrangements, the dried embossing chipped off in a few places!  I used WOW orange embossing powder, and think the lines may have been too thin, or the pigment ink I used didn’t adhere to the vellum well thus causing the embossed sections to chip off.  It *was* perfect!!  Grrr…Anyone ever have this issue? I never have… Delicata gold heat embossed with Ranger Super Fine gold powder was used for sentiment.

Maggie Holmes Bloom paper has been added with twine to the edge for interest; I have also featured Concord and 9th’s new leaf die cut from gold foam.  Sentiment is from Perfect Blend set as well and stamped with Hero Arts Unicorn White. Some fun lemon-cream and gold dot washi finishes the inside.

Not only is it Tonya’s special day, but also the first couple days of our Fall Coffee Lovers Hop! Can’t believe I made it to both parties on time!!  It’s back to school for me, and I went from 0 to 60 first thing Monday morning– so every day has been a 9-9 (or later) work day!  Coffee, anyone?

And with that, I am heading to bed, or I will be one bleary-eyed teacher in the too-soon morning!

Hop along with us won’t you? And make sure to send some birthday wishes Tonya’s way, and maybe some orders!!

Happy birthday friend– coffee on me, soon!

Hop Participants:

Toni

Lenae

Katie

Lisa

Kimberly

Laura 

Amy

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

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On a morning like this when the light-filled studio is just below baking and the air, thin and cool, teases relief through a cracked window, thoughts turn reluctantly to December, though I know it looms. Thus, by this point in the summer, the ease and possibility of June and July give way to urgency. I register the changing light of August and begin to count.  How many weeks until the new school year? How many remaining days at the pool?  How many sunset hours left to kayak?

And of course, how many holiday cards left to make?

This last question is laughable because I rarely make cards or seasonal gifts for any holiday or birthday during the off-months– and the ones I do complete in advance struggle to find their way into the mail or hands of their recipient (apologies to family, birthday buddies, boyfriend…)!  Case in point: all tardy 2015/2016 holiday, birthday, mother’s day, father’s day, get-well gifts were meant to be part of a Christmas in July celebration I’d cooked up, but it’s now August.

And so it goes.

I am often too busy sucking the marrow of each moment (or worrying that I’m not making the most of that moment) to think about and plan for some elusive future.  It’s a way of being that certainly has its benefits, but also some costly downsides.

And being a dopamine-driven creative short on time and long on distraction, I know I’m not alone in this!

One card likely won’t turn the beat around, but for a few blissful moments as this piece came together, and visions of more danced about, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my brain…

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The designs by Savvy Stamps, Julie Ebersole and Neat and Tangled all complement one another so well, and the ones featured here are some of my favorites– if you follow my work, you know they are in heavy rotation!!  Nearly all products used on this card, which is being submitted to their Pinsights Challenge, can be found at Ellen Hutson.

So first the tree ring.  I’d been plotting its possibilities since the stamp was released by Concord and 9th last year– and it takes center stage here with bold, black embossed vellum, fussy cut, and then layered with an array of Savvy Stamps and Essentials by Ellen dies.  My second favorite element?  That Brushstroke Joy sentiment cut from Essentials by Ellen 110# wood embossed paper and layered with pink mylar!  Look at that iridescence!

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The Savvy Woodland Branch is cut from cherry woodgrain paper; the Wild Garden berry sprigs from Essentials by Ellen #110 wood embossed paper, and then embellished with icicle Stickles.  This thick turquoise glitter paper from American Crafts is probably my favorite glitter stock ever (it comes in gold and garnet red, too), and it works perfectly for floral die cuts like these, also from Wild Garden; the large flower petals are partially adhered and popped up for interest.

 

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Savvy Stamps Flower Blossom #2 is one of my favorites of the set, and I love the flow that this leafy sprig creates. It has been cut from Jen Hadfield gold stock.

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Finally, Neat and Tangled’s Hexstar cover die cut from Jen Hadfield DIY gold woodgrain paper is slightly manipulated and then layered over EBY 110# woodgrain paper and dotted paper from Maggie Holmes Confetti line.

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One last look at the dimension created by the layers.

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Even if the holidays, or traditional holiday colors, or merely the thought of winter make you want run and bury your head in a scorching mound of sand,  I hope my non-traditional take on the holiday card coaxes you into creating some of your own before the stress of the season bears down!

And with that, I’m off to the pool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topsy Turvy World

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Hey everyone.  What a couple of weeks (months, really) the world has had, no?  It’s hard not to become world weary and beleaguered by the continual barrage of bad–but that is a luxury no one can afford at this point.  We must remain vigilant and optimistic and do what good we can in our small corners of the world, which includes creative acts and sharing that beauty, though it does feel futile and insignificant at times.

While things are mixed up all over, right now I am counting myself lucky to have the luxury to make art, and I am sharing it this week over at the Mix It Up Challenge where Neat and Tangled is joining forces with Essentials By Ellen!

While I had the world on my mind for this piece, I also thought it would be perfect for teenagers who often feel like it’s the end of the world on a moment to moment basis (remember those days?).  Time to up the happy!

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To make my upside-down world, I cut out Neat & Tangled’s Hexstar die to make a stencil and used Heidi Swap’s Color Shine spray to pattern the world die (also by Neat & Tangled).  As you may have seen in another card of mine over at THD, I embossed the world die cut with WRMK’s Next Level embossing folder, which offers great texture and ability to manipulate.

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I used Paper Smooches Border die to create my fissure, which is propped up on either side with foam squares.  The base paper is a lovely ombre world image from Amy Tangerine on which I stamped the sentiment from Julie Ebersole’s Up the Happy Set. It’s a bit difficult to see in my photos, but the shadows of the continents on the paper float below the die and are perceptible in real-life.

If you are familiar with my work, you know I love layers and dimension, so I often alter die cuts and create architectural, 3-D pieces.  Below is a close up of the fractured world.

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Here’s the inside with some ombre washi running lengthwise.

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And the back.

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Click on images below to view full size close-ups.

 

I made this card below as well, uniting Neat and Tangled and Ellen Hutson goods!  It is a case of one of my own cards, which you can see here or here. All white base paper is also from Ellen– my favorite 100# linen stock.  You can see the full N&T Hexstar die cut below and world die again (this time right side up!). I stamped Julie Ebersole’s Brushstroke Christmas “peace”  on vellum, heat embossed and fussy cut; the “to the world” sentiment is from the same set, heat embossed on MFT washi tape die cut.

Well, I sure don’t know if everything is gonna be okay, but if I don’t get to bed soon, I can guarantee it will not be in my corner of the world.

Wishing you peace and beauty.  Thanks for spending some time with me today!

 

THD July Challenge: Tropical

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Hey everyone! Welcome to our second month-long challenge at The Heart Desires! All of our June participants knocked the first challenge out of the park, or in keeping with the nautical theme, beyond the sea!!

This month we bring you an equally beautiful inspiration graphic and a sketch!  Taking it tropical this time around!

 

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Here’s my interpretation of the graphic and, very loosely, the sketch!  I took my cue from an earlier card I made for a student, which you can see here. I have worked in every color!!

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Using Hero Arts Ombre Pink ink, I repeat stamped sentiments from Concord & 9th’s Wonderful Women set on Ranger watercolor paper, all of which are available at The Heart Desires!

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It’s a bit difficult to see, but this close-up shows the nature of the ombre ink and how well it works with the watercolor paper.  Atop the vellum frame cut from MFT’s diagonal stitch die, I added PTI’s slide, cut multiple times from #110 paper for thickness, topping with those fabulous flamingos from The Lilypad, digitally printed paper.

Neat and Tangled’s sentiment, one of my favorites, is cut from gold foam (love that stuff!!). The white and gold paper echoes the gold of the die and is also from The Lilypad, digitally printed.

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In this photo, you can see the lovely layers, and that base paper–which was the most difficult layer to finally figure out–is from Basic Grey’s Urban Luxe, which you can no longer find! I should have bought out the collection when I had the chance!  Love how the gold splotches and blues work with the other papers, and particularly the flowers.

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What better than the versatile floral die set from Ellen Hutson, Wild Garden?  The flowers work for so many different occasions! They are cut from The Lilypad digital paper, lime and white linen cardstock.

And those gorgeous regatta blue buttons embellish!

I have so many graduation cards to finish– this one is headed to my college-bound student.

Alright, now it’s your turn to play along with us!  You have until Wednesday, July 27!

Please read the rules below before you enter.

Challenge Rules:

  1. Challenges will run from the first Wednesday to the last Wednesday of each month.
  2. Use one, two or three of the identified elements.
  3. If you choose to use colors, you need only use 2 or 3 of them.  Use your choice of neutrals (white, kraft, black, gray).
  4. Identify the elements you chose to use if not readily evident.
  5. Enter up to 3 times and combine with no more than 5 challenges, including ours.
  6. Include the inspiration pic as well as a link to the challenge in your post.
  7. The challenge winner will be invited to be a future guest designer.
  8. Most importantly, have fun!!!!

Come back tomorrow for another bold, summery creation that is sure to inspire your summer scrapbooking!

 

Happy Accidents

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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