Guest Designer: Ellen Hutson March Pinsights Challenge!

Hello friends and welcome to the March Pinsights Challenge hosted by Ellen Hutson over at The Classroom!

So excited to be one of the featured designers for the always inspiring challenge, particularly this month!  Are you feeling lucky?  Perhaps, the inspiration graphic will help!

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All things green and gilded!  The images and hues are just so lovely, there must be a pot of gold awaiting somewhere, right?  Only if you play along!

The Details:

You could be the lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate from Ellen Hutson! A random challenge participant will chosen to receive her pot of gold. But to be eligible, you MUST use Essentials by Ellen products and the photo badge as inspiration. You can find the Inlinkz in the challenge post over at The Classroom!

Need more coaxing?

Here’s my take on the challenge!

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If you follow my work on Instagram, you may know about my love affair with this diagonal window die!  I had no idea prior to ordering it how much fun it would be.  For my card, I have united quite a few stamp sets and products to create a unique focal point on the front of the diagonal window.

First off, the clovers– they were created from hearts in the Love You So set, stems from Altenew’s Striped Florals set, dots from Bokeh Dots set, and a little gilded spray from Concord and 9th’s Brushed Blossoms set!

The leaves/stem were stamped in Ranger Pigment Black Tie ink, heat embossed with Ranger Superfine clear powder, and then stamped over with the bokeh dots in Hero Arts Green Hills dye ink.  They were embellished with some gold Ranger Stickles.

Below you can see the sheen of the embossed stems/leaves, and the gilded leaves and spray.

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The 100# Linen Cardstock from Ellen is probably my favorite paper to use as a card base, and it is lovely as a textured stamping surface.  It’s heft creates a substantial and luxe card.

Using a variety of sequins from Pretty Pink Posh and Ellen Hutson and black wax twine, I created my signature sequin strands.  I love that the gold leaf was included in the PPP Woodlands mix— a complete coincidence that it matched the stems’ leaves perfectly!

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I find that the window die works better with some metal grommets if you want the recipient to be able to open and close it repeatedly.  I adhered these and cut the diagnoals open after stamping and embossing the images;

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Inside, I created a shaker card using an acetate window, more sequins, and some gold glass glitter!

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Shake it away to reveal the message, a sentiment from Up the Happy that underwent some stamp surgery to fit my purpose!

It was stamped on the folded card base in Ranger Black Tie Pigment Ink; I added the sequin/glitter mix, and then adhered the acetate.  Finally, I adhered the diagonal window layer!

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Once the outside was complete, I ran a strip of the new Little B Paper Tape in Jade along the bottom edge of the inner card!  It is the perfect green!

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You have until March 28th to play along!

Here’s hoping the luck of the Irish will rub off on you this week!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy creating!

Other Items Used Available at Ellen Hutson:
Essentials by Ellen Sequins, Iridescent Dill
Pretty Pink Posh Sequins, 4mm cupped, Iridescent Peacock Feathers
Pretty Pink Posh Sequins, 6 mm Flat Mix, Woodlands
Ranger Stickles Gold
Ranger Pigment Black Tie Ink
Ranger Clear Embossing powder
Delicata Gold Pigment Ink
Hero Arts Dye Ink Green Hills 

 

 

THD July Challenge: Tropical

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!

 

Introducing The Heart Desires Store & Design Team!

Hello everyone!  It is spring and there is so much to celebrate!

Welcome to a doubly special event!

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Today we celebrate not only the Spring Coffee Lovers Hop, but also the opening of my friend Tonya’s store, The Heart Desires and our design team reveal!

I am so excited for Tonya as she embarks on this journey and I hope you will share in the excitement as well by hopping along with the design team and then hopping over to her store to find some sweet products for your planners and paper-crafting!  Tonya will be curating high-quality products that she recommends in a boutique-style shop.  For our hop, we are featuring some of her current products and/or Hero Arts company products.

For all you coffee lovers, she has some fabulous finds for your next coffee inspired project–stamps, stencils, inks, and great embellishments!  Here are few of my favorites.  Click any image My links aren’t working, so click here to be taken to Tonya’s shop to purchase:

Coffee Ring Stencil
One of my favorite stencils in my collection! The Crafters Workshop

 

Dress It Up Embellishments Button Fun Coffee Talk
These are new to me and I love them!  A good coffee embellishment can be hard to find!

 

Ombre Soft Brown to Cup O' Joe
Cup O’Joe Brown Ombre? Yes, please!!

 

 

Carpe Diem Word Label Stickers
I love Simple Stories for my scrapbooking; their word/phrase stickers are seriously the best, and you get so many for the price!

 

Coffee & Donuts
Can’t go wrong with Kelly Purkey for on-trend and witty fun supplies.
Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock
This is my favorite watercolor and layering paper.  The texture and bright white are just perfect.  I have featured it below in my second card.

 

 

 

Ombre Neon Red to Purple
Hero Arts Neon Inks are my favorite for delightful, rich, retro neon.  A child of the 80’s, how could I not love them?

Today, I am featuring couple cards to celebrate Tonya’s store opening and the Spring Coffee Lovers Hop!

First up, my tropical twist on the coffee plant!

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So here is a lovely picture of a coffee plant. In my modern twist, neon colors and bold black take center stage.  The flower and berry stem is from Julie Ebersole’s Wild Garden set.

The leafy stem has been cut from one of the most beautiful coffee bags I have ever seen (the coffee was pretty fine, too!).  I love single origin coffees and exploring small roasters.  We are pretty lucky here in the PNW to have some amazing roasters–Heart, Coava, Courier, Case Study, Seattle Coffee Works, Elm Roasters, and Slate to name a few.  In Seattle, we are also finally catching up with other progressive cities and our coffee shops are offering some wonderful roasters from all over the US.  Here is a photo of the actual bag: img_20160222_085111.jpg

Isn’t that lovely?  I have cut out the entire bag and have a few other up-cycled projects in the works!

 

 

 

 

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TECHNIQUE:
For the flower, I embossed a Hero Arts background stamp onto cardstock with clear Versafine embossing ink and covered it with clear embossing powder.

Then I sponged Hero Arts Neon pink ink over the embossing.  You can see some of the sheen of the clear embossing on top of the flower.

20160321_130731The sentiment is from an older Kelly Purkey collection.  She has partnered with Hero Arts and has some fantastic product for planners, scrapbooking, and card making which Tonya is featuring in her store.  Below are a few of the featured Hero Arts products (the whimsical leaf is actually from Penny Black, but I’ve had it so long, I thought it was a Hero Arts die!  Hence, its appearance alongside the other products!)

You can view more of my coffee-inspired projects here!


Next Up: Terrarium Love

Hero Arts offers up the best of the papercrafting trends like succulents and pineapples as of late!  My next card features HA succulent garden stamps, their terrarium die cut from Jen Hadfield gold paper and birch wood paper, Distress Ink watercoloring on Ranger watercolor paper, Studio Calico sentiment, and all digital papers from The Lilypad and The Digital Press.

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The inside washi is from Stampin’ Up, which Tonya also sells! I love the play of coral against the blues and ripe green.

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Okay, now it’s time for you to hop along to the rest of the design team’s pages for some more inspiration!

THE HEART DESIRES Design Team

Amy Tsuruta 

Kathryn Lorenzini  (You are here!)

Katie Brooks

Kimberly Wiener

Lenae Daly

Toni M Maddox

Tonya Jastad  Owner

GIVEAWAY!

the heart desires

But before you go, don’t forget to leave a comment because we will be randomly selecting a winner of a $10 gift certificate to The Heart Desires store.

The giveaway will run through Sunday night, 3/27, 11:59 pm pacific time for anyone who comments on this blog post. Winners will be announced on Monday night by 7pm Pacific time!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Catching Up…

I have struggled with sleep for years– falling asleep, staying asleep, needing mid-day naps to compensate for the lack of sleep.  Having experienced chronic, debilitating bouts of insomnia over the last decade, I am nearly giddy when I actually zonk out for more than 5 hours at a time.  No longer accepting early morning teaching gigs has helped somewhat with my sleep issues and has resulted in a more natural sleep cycle whereby I go to bed later and wake up later. Because I teach most nights until at least 8, sometimes 9pm, it takes a few hours to wind down after 5 or 6 hours of back-to-back students and parents.  And not until the last few months did I notice what a difference my elimination of morning teaching (at 6:45 or 7:30 am 2x-3x/week for the last few years) really has made to my health.  I have come to the realization that I am a shift-sleeper, and if I can get two 3-4 hour cycles in each night, I feel good and rested the following day.  According to sleep doctors, this kind of sleep is actually quite normal, and I am thankful to have a job where I can manipulate my schedule somewhat to accommodate my natural physical cycle.

However, when the mind is heavy or hormones are creating havoc, I typically find myself up around 2-3am, and unable to return to sleep for possibly hours.  I often chide myself to get up and do something since just lying there never helps (chiding yourself doesn’t do much good either!) and since I can’t seem to squeeze enough time out of my days to accomplish what I want, nor lately what I need, it seems even more futile to lay wide-eyed in the dark with an unrelenting mind.

So here I am, up since 1:30 (it’s now 4am in the windy PNW), having roused myself (after significant chiding) to catch up with some creative work.  I’ve taken a couple days off for the mid-winter break to relax (maybe) and organize my physical and mental spaces!  When you work for yourself, there really never is “downtime” and frankly, after a conversation tonight with my partner, I have come to the realization that I really don’t think I know how to relax, truly–or maybe I don’t believe in it, or rather what is typically considered “relaxation”?  Don’t get me wrong, I do attempt this state through massage, acupuncture, and the occasional pedicure, but even then I can find it hard to tune out and turn off. How can one relax when there is just so much to be done in this life– so much to create, and read, and experience, and think about?  Sometimes I think that is what some diseases, like migraine, are meant to teach us–to let go, relinquish control, truly rest (other times I doubt there is any greater meaning within them–they are simply chemical or biological alterations in our bodies beyond our control)–but either way it’s a paradox; my migraines FORCE me to slow down, shut off completely for awhile and reboot– but then on the other side I am often left further behind, with more catch-up!  Without rest (and frankly, better time management), though, we cannot manifest fully in any capacity– and so whatever we choose to call it– relaxation, rest, meditation, downtime– I guess it’s something I need to consider and uncover what will work for me, without guilt, in 2016 to bring many aspects of my life back into balance.

At any rate, catching up is what this post is all about and after being asked to participate in 7 days of sharing your favorite creations from 2015 on Facebook, I figured it was time to empty the folder on my desktop labeled “To Blog” (just like it’s time to empty the real folder on my physical desktop that contains all the belated cards and letters and gifts  I’ve slated to send for months)!

This was one card that actually made it into the mail and into the hands of a student who graduated in June 2015, and it is one of my absolute favorites from last year, partly because of my technique, but also because I think it shows some growth in my design knowledge and style.

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For this card, I cut the MFT Stamps world die from acetate to make a stencil and then adhered that to some Ranger watercolor paper.  From there, I proceeded to use a variety of Distress inks to watercolor my world.  This was actually my first attempt, and I was pretty excited with how it turned out!

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I also used  a MFT Stamps sentiment from their graduation set, a must-have for teachers!  I love the bold fonts of MFT’s collections.

I adhered some washi, and echoed the black and white outlined letters with the b/w striped paper.  The colorful paper layered below is some OLD stock (possibly My Mind’s Eye) that also echoed the colors of the world and the water-coloring perfectly.

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Please check out my portfolio pages for the rest of my new/old creations; I have some fun cards and mini-albums there (I entered the world of layouts and scrapping in 2015!).

May this be the start of an inspired, fruitful week with plenty of rest!

 

 

Sympathy, Fashion, & A New Stamp Company

Good evening! Here we are in the last week of January, the month that seems to never end! Does it seem like that to you? The New Year and holiday season always feel like ancient history by the time January winds down.  I don’t mind a slow month, though, as I need the time to get myself in order for 2015, and since my birthday kicks off the month of February, I plan to formally spring my new year objectives into action then!

For now, I have some catching up to do here and in physical reality!  Be on the watch for  portfolio entries this week showcasing some holiday cards and seasonal thank you’s (all of which I need to finally get off my desk and into the mail!).

On a more somber note, I have a sympathy card to share today.  There were a few inspirations for this card: my Savvy flower dies, an oval shape, Downton Abbey, and the current Runway Inspired Challenge!  I wanted to play along with their last challenge, but time wasn’t on my side.  It’s funny that I’ve never played along, since I sew, love fashion, and often visit their site.  Well, I’m throwing my hat in the ring now, and plan to more often in 2015!

So here is the inspiration photo, outfit courtesy of Carven, a designer entirely new to me!

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And here’s my take:
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I wanted a lot of open space and texture, but I deviated a bit from the ivory of the model’s pants, and went with white instead.  I pulled the orange-red of the belt buckle into my card base, and positioned my floral paper so the red flower would be visible.  The MME Market Street Collection, Nob Hill, is full of delightful floral papers, and this one not only seemed to echo the patches on the model’s blazer, and the obvious prominent black, but was also influenced by this season’s episodes of Downton Abbey.  If you are a fan, you may have noticed the ladies donning quite a bit of ruddy-hued and marsala dresses, as well as delicious florals, ivory and jet black.  This week’s episode 4 (state-side) even featured a fashion show!

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The texture of Ranger’s watercolor paper is divine.  I think I will be using quite a bit of it this year!  And I’ve not yet done justice to my Savvy floral dies– they will be getting quite a bit of use as well.

I used heavy vellum from PTI to emboss my Verve stamp sentiment.  The flow of the font echoes that of the die cuts and underlying pattern.

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A sampling of Downton fashion–boho, glam, and lithe flapper!

And speaking of fashion on and off the runway–

Have you heard of The Ton?  I recently purchased some stamps from them as they have just launched, and I am thinking their focus would be perfect pairing for Runway Challenges.  Here’s a little bit about them:

“Established in January 2015, The Ton was born out of a combination of one new crafter’s passion for card making, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.  Our stamp designs are inspired by haute couture fashion and modern decor.”

I am really excited to get my shipment of “Round Diamonds” and “Vintage Frames”!  Check them out, as they have some unique offerings!

That’s all for me this evening!  Head over to RIC for some inspiring paper and fabric art!  And if you are looking for other challenges, check out my links page in the menu header!

Have a fashionable week!